Djokovic drawn on Federer’s side for French Open
Originally published on: 25/05/12 00:00
The world No.1, who is aiming to match Rod Laver’s 1969 effort of four Grand Slam titles in a row, saw the Swiss put an end to his 43-match winning streak in the semi-finals of last year’s event, and Djokovic may have to beat Federer for a 12th time should they both reach the semi-finals in Paris.
Djokovic has lost to the Swiss in 14 of their 25 career meetings but has won five of their last six bouts. Federer’s only victory in that spell came in the final four of the clay Grand Slam last year, when his 7-6(5) 6-3 3-6 7-6(5) triumph denied the Serb a spot in his first French Open final.
Djokovic may need to overcome Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter-finals if he is to make it that far. The 25-year-old from Belgrade has a 5-5 career record against the Frenchman, but has the upper hand on paper after ruling four of their five previous encounters.
Federer may face 2009 French Open semi-finalist Juan Martin del Potro or 2010 semi-finalist Tomas Berdych in the last eight, while on the other side of the draw Britain’s Andy Murray is scheduled to meet six-time champion Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals. The Scot could face two-time quarter-finalist David Ferrer in the last eight but faces a battle to get that far after an underwhelming run of form during the clay swing, having fallen to Tomas Berdych in Monte Carlo, Milos Raonic in Barcelona and Richard Gasquet in Rome.
The Scot will play world No.69 Tatsuma Ito in the first round, while world No.111 Simone Bolelli awaits Nadal, former world No.27 (now No.97) Potito Starace will face Djokovic and Roger Federer takes on No.77 Tobias Kamke.
In the women’s half, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova – both in form on the clay – could meet in a mouth-watering quarter-final. The Russian, bidding to complete her Grand Slam set in Paris, has never beaten Williams on the dirt and has lost eight of their 10 meetings.
World No.1 Victoria Azarenka opens her French Open campaign against Italy’s Alberta Brianti, while Sharapova takes on Romanian Alexandra Cadantu, Agnieszka Radwanska takes on Bojana Jovanovski and Serena Williams faces Virginie Razzano.