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Djokovic begins title defence against Granollers

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Originally published on 26/05/17 00:00

The draw ceremony took place in Paris on Friday and the world No.2 will need to survive a challenging section which includes Lucas Pouille and Dominic Thiem if he wishes to set-up a semi-final clash with rival Rafael Nadal.

Nadal, who is bidding to complete ‘La Decima’ – an historic tenth title in Paris, will open up his campaign against erratic Frenchman, Benoit Paire. The Spaniard has landed in a fairly soft section of the draw but he could meet Milos Raonic or Grigor Dimitrov in the quarter-finals.

Andy Murray has been reportedly struggling with illness again this week and he is unlikely to feel much better after glancing at his section of the draw. The former finalist will begin against Andrey Kuznetsov and he could play Juan Martin Del Potro in a blockbuster third round match.

If the world No.1 is to reach the final once again, then he could also have to overcome Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori and Stan Wawrinka.

Gael Monfils against Dustin Brown and Alexander Zverev versus Fernando Verdasco are the standout first round matches.

In the women’s draw, Garbine Muguruza will begin her title defence against the 2010 winner, Francesca Schiavone. The Spaniard, who has struggled with injuries for much of the campaign, could also find Kristina Mladenovic, Dominika Cibulkova and Angelique Kerber blocking her path to the final.

The world No.1 could hardly been given a tougher first round assignment. Kerber, who lost in the first round in Paris last year, will take on the dangerous Russian, Ekaterina Makarova, and she will need to be alert to avoid the upset. The German is projected to meet Svetlana Kuznestova in the quarter-finals.

In the other half of the draw, tournament favourite and injury doubt, Simona Halep, will launch her bid to win her first Grand Slam title against Jana Cepelova from Slovakia. The Romanian could encounter Elina Svitolina – who she met in the Rome final last week – at the quarter-final stage.

Czech world No.3 Karolina Pliskova, who is in the same quarter as Johanna Konta, will play Saisai Zheng in her first match of the tournament. The 25-year-old is projected to meet Halep in the semi-finals.

The French Open will also see the welcome return to action of two-time Wimbledon champion, Petra Kvitova. It is six months since the 26-year-old was stabbed in the hand by an intruder at her home, but she is now back to full fitness and will take on Julia Boserup in her comeback match.

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