French Open draw offers Nadal chance of quick revenge

Fri May 23, 2014 8:32am EDT
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By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - Two fellow Spaniards who have already beaten him on his favorite clay surface could lie in wait for favorite and defending champion Rafael Nadal at the French Open.

Friday's draw, conducted by Nadal at Roland Garros, also handed women's champion Serena Williams a tricky route.

Eight-times champion Nadal plays American Robbie Ginepri in round one but Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer are seeded to face him in the fourth round and the quarter-final respectively.

Almagro surprisingly beat Nadal in the quarter-finals of the Barcelona Open while Ferrer, who the Mallorcan beat in last year's French Open final, knocked him out at the same stage at the Monte Carlo Masters.

"Last week in Rome was tough physically but sometimes you need these things. I played a bit better during the tournament," Nadal told a news conference.

Defeat by Novak Djokovic in the Italian Open final meant Nadal has lost three matches on the European claycourt swing for the first time in a decade, raising doubts over his form.

Djokovic, chasing the only grand slam title missing from his collection, takes on Portuguese Joao Sousa in the first round en route to a possible semi-final showdown against former world number one Roger Federer.

Fourth seed Federer plays Slovakian Lukas Lacko in the first round while his fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, the third seed, faces a tough first round against plays Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in round one.   Continued...

Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a return to Novak Djokovic of Serbia during their men's singles final match at the Rome Masters tennis tournament May 18, 2014. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito