French Open draw: Serena, Sharapova could meet in Round of 16

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will have a rematch of the 2013 final if both make it to the Round of 16 at the French Open, which starts Sunday at Roland Garros.

The draw released on Friday puts the unseeded Williams and 28th-seeded rival Sharapova on a collision course, provided they can each get by one of the Pliskova sisters.

Williams opens play against Kristyna Pliskova, while Sharapova would face world No. 6 Karolina Pliskova in the second round if she gets past Richel Hogenkamp in her opener.

Williams, a three-time French Open champion and 23-time Grand Slam winner, is playing in her first Slam since taking maternity leave following the 2017 Australian Open. She gave birth to a daughter in September.

Williams is 19-2 lifetime against Sharapova.

Williams made her initial return in March at Indian Wells in Southern California. She won her first two matches but lost to sister Venus Williams in the Round of 32. Two weeks later, she fell to Japan’s Naomi Osaka in the opening round of the Miami Open.

Serena Williams is currently ranked No. 453 in the world. She was ranked No. 1 when she began her time away from the tour.

Women’s No. 1 Simona Halep and No. 2 Caroline Wozniacki both open against unseeded American players on opposite sides of the draw.

Halep will face Alison Riske in the first round, while Wozniacki, who won the Australian Open in January, will take on Danielle Collins.

On the men’s side, world No. 1 Rafael Nadal has a relatively clear path to the final after winding up on the other half of the draw from Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka, both former winners. He also avoids Dominic Thiem, who has beaten Nadal three times in nine tries on clay, most recently in Madrid earlier this month.

Those three are all in second-seeded Alexander Zverev’s side of the draw.

Nadal, meanwhile, opens against Alexander Dolgopolov, who he has beaten seven times in nine meetings. Further down the draw, he could run into Richard Gasquet, Denis Shapovalov, Kevin Anderson and third-seeded Marin Cilic.

Nadal, seeking his 11th French Open title, was on hand for the announcement of the draw.

“It’s always special when I come back to Paris where I have had so many wonderful moments in my career,” he said.

–Field Level Media

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