Roland-Garros | Auger-Aliassime faces Nishioka, Diallo in the main draw

(Paris) Three Quebecers will be part of the men’s and women’s main draws at the French Open tennis tournament.

Posted at 8:58 a.m.

Updated at 11:55 a.m.

If the places of Félix Auger-Aliassime and Leylah Annie Fernandez were already assured by virtue of their world ranking, Montrealer Gabriel Diallo had to work hard to obtain the precious pass.

Although Diallo still does not know the identity of his opponent in the first round, it is different for Auger-Aliassime and Fernandez.

The 21e world racket will meet the Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka in the first round of the French Open tennis tournament, we learned after the draw

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Gabriel Diallo

Auger-Aliassime, also the 21e top seed in the major tournament which will take place on clay, has a 3-2 career record against Nishioka, 72e world racket. The representative of the maple leaf has also won his last three duels against him, including those at the National Bank of Montreal Open in 2022 and at the Madrid Masters earlier this spring.

For his part, Ontarian Denis Shapovalov – who finally lost 6-7 (7), 7-6 (4) and 6-3 to Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor in the round of 16 of the Geneva Open early Thursday morning, after their duel was interrupted by rain the day before – will face Frenchman Luca Van Assche, 101, in the first round at Roland Garrose in the world. This will be their first career duel.

The two Canadian tennis players were joined by Diallo, who defeated Switzerland’s Alexander Ritschard 2-6, 6-2 and 6-3 in the third and final round of qualifying on Thursday morning. Diallo, a 22-year-old tennis player who is 166e world level, thus reached the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in his career.

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Leylah Annie Fernandez

Among the ladies, Fernandez, 31e seeded, will face Frenchwoman Jessika Ponchet, a guest player, in the first round. Pochet won their only previous duel, at the Gatineau tournament in July 2017.

Ontarian Bianca Andreescu will make her return to action in Paris, having not played a match since her back injury suffered at the National Bank Open in Montreal last August. The 2019 US Open champion, who reached the main draw in Paris by virtue of her protected ranking, will face Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo in the first round.

The representatives of the maple leaf could be joined in the main draw by the Ontarian Marina Stakusic, who will play her match in the third and final round of qualifying against the Ukrainian Yulia Starodubtsewa on Friday morning.

A merciless draw for Nadal

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Rafael Nadal

For what has every chance of being his last Roland-Garros, Rafael Nadal, the man with 14 triumphs on Parisian clay, was not spoiled by fate: the Spaniard will challenge the world No.4 Alexander Zverev from the first round of the 2024 edition, which begins on Sunday.

Marie-José Pérec, icon of French sport and triple Olympic champion in athletics in the 1990s, had a heavy hand with “Rafa”: with Zverev, the Mallorcan with 22 Grand Slam coronations found himself propelled from the start facing a (the?) of the fittest players of the moment, freshly titled at the Masters 1000 in Rome.

“I’m a little angry with my hand,” she grimaced a few minutes later. She could have been nicer to Nadal, right? […] When I heard the “Wow” in the room (of the draw, Editor’s note), I said to myself “Oh shit”. »

The mission appears all the more difficult for Nadal, launched into a final comeback at almost 38 years old, whose state of form continues to raise questions. He himself had not approved his participation in his favorite tournament after his rapid elimination in Rome around ten days ago.

His battered body, which has been creaking all over since the summer of 2022, seems to have offered him a little respite for a few weeks, and the Spanish left-hander has been increasing his training since his arrival in Paris on Monday, particularly at the Central Parisian.

He successively competed against the young American Sebastian Korda (28e), to Swiss veteran Stan Wawrinka and world No.5 Daniil Medvedev, whose ocher is not his cup of tea.

” Strong “

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Alexander Zverev and Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros in 2022

The challenge that awaits him with Zverev is of a completely different caliber. One thing is certain: there will be no warm-up lap for “Rafa”. But there will undoubtedly be a taste of revenge for “Sascha”: it was against Nadal in 2022, in the middle of the semi-final of Roland-Garros, that the 27-year-old German seriously injured an ankle and was forced to give up.

“It’s hot, it’s strong. I imagine that looking at the draw, he (Nadal) is not going to be delighted, agrees tournament director Amélie Mauresmo. Sascha (Zverev) is in great shape, obviously it looks very complicated. Now he is a warrior, an extraordinary competitor. This is “Rafa”, everything is possible. »

In an edition which promises to be the most open in twenty years in the men’s draw, the theoretical semi-finals would pit Novak Djokovic, world No.1 and holder of the trophy, on one side against Zverev, and the two rising stars of the circuit, the Italian Jannik Sinner (N.2) and the Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz (N.3), on the other.

But it is anything but written, since Djokovic is experiencing a first part of the season light years away from his standards, without the slightest title, nor even the slightest final to get his teeth into – while waiting for the end of his journey to Geneva this week.

As for Sinner and Alcaraz, their participation was still uncertain until recently, the fault of a sore hip for the first, and a recalcitrant right forearm for the second.

Swiatek arch-favorite

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Iga Swiatek

Djokovic could experience a start to the fortnight with a French accent: his first opponent will be Pierre-Hugues Herbert (guest). Gaël Monfils (38e) could be his third, and Constant Lestienne (86e), possibly his second.

Alcaraz will start against a player from qualifying, and Sinner against the American Christopher Eubanks (43e).

A first round stands out between two pre-retirees, Andy Murray (37 years old) and Stan Wawrinka (39 years old).

In the women’s draw, the arch-favorite Iga Swiatek, world No.1 and three-time winner of Roland-Garros, is destined to face world No.3 Coco Gauff in the last four. Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina, the world No.2 and No.4, are expected face to face at the same stadium.

“Swiatek dominated the season on clay, she has just completed the Madrid-Rome double, she is very impressive, she stands out,” says Mauresmo.

For what will be her twentieth and last Roland-Garros, Alizé Cornet, out of top 100 at 34, inherited in the first round from world No.8 Zheng Qinwen, finalist at the Australian Open in January.

French No.1 Caroline Garcia will start against a player from qualifying. Ugo Humbert, French N.1 and 17e world, will face the Italian Lorenzo Sonego (50e) in the first round and could come across world No.9 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third, one of those likely to do well in this open edition.

The French Open will officially kick off on Sunday.

With Tom Nouvian, of the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse



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