World No. 1 Barty leads the pack at the exit of the Roland Garros draw –

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World No. 1 Barty leads the pack at the exit of the Roland Garros draw – fr


World No.1 and 2019 Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty was placed at the top of the Roland Garros singles draw, which was released on Thursday.

The No.1 Australian will play her first match in Paris since her title race two years ago. Barty will open her doors against the American Bernarda Pera, world No. 70.

Read more: Clay court power ranking: Swiatek, Barty and Sabalenka leap as Paris looms

Barty could face more Americans on the road, with No.13 seed Jennifer Brady or No.24 seed Coco Gauff emerging as a potential opponent in the fourth round. Gauff will face a qualifier in the first round, while Brady starts against the dangerous float Anastasija Sevastova.

No.5 seed Elina Svitolina and No.9 seed Karolina Pliskova also landed in the top quarter, with Pliskova taking on former Top 20 player Donna Vekic in the first round. Vekic is one of the highest ranked unranked players in the field at No. 35 in the world.

2002 runner-up Venus Williams is also in the quarter, as the former world No.1 debuts against 32nd seed Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Another attractive first-round clash this quarter features 2018 runner-up Sloane Stephens against former Top 10 player Carla Suárez Navarro. Suárez Navarro, triple quarterfinal in Paris, will play her first tournament since successfully completing her cancer treatment.

A successful first-round clash in the second quarter will pit last year’s runner-up Sofia Kenin against 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko.

If Kenin does manage to come out on top in the event, a quarter-final rematch of last year’s final could take place, with defending champion Iga Swiatek at the bottom of that quarter.

Read more: How Swiatek manages his expectations ahead of the Roland Garros title defense

No.8 seed Swiatek, who won last year’s title without losing a set, opens her defense against one of her longtime best friends, Kaja Juvan.

The 2016 champion and seeded No. 12 Garbiñe Muguruza is also hiding in this quarter. The former world No.1 will meet young Ukrainian teenager Marta Kostyuk in the first round.

In the lower half, three-time champion and No.7 seed Serena Williams will face world No.74 Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania. Begu, a former Top 25 player, reached the fourth round at Roland Garros once, in 2016.

Former world No.1 Williams is trying to win a historic 24th Grand Slam title as she takes on Roland Garros for the 19th time. If the seeds hold, Williams could face another former world No.1 Angelique Kerber in the third round and No.11 seed Petra Kvitova in the fourth round.

Read more: The toughest challenge in tennis: the France-Wimbledon double

Williams’ quarter-final opponent could be one of the two top-ranked Belarusians, third seed Aryna Sabalenka or 15th seed Victoria Azarenka. Sabalenka, seeded at this peak in a major for the first time in his career, starts against a qualification.

Former world No.1 Azarenka has a severe first-round clash against 2009 Roland Garros champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. Azarenka has won two Grand Slam tournaments at the Australian Open and is still looking to make it to the final in Paris.

Two Grand Slam champions lead the bottom quarter, where No.2 seed Naomi Osaka and No.6 seed Bianca Andreescu were drawn. These two big winners are still looking for their first trips in the second week of Roland Garros.

Osaka will face world No.63 Patricia Maria Tig of Romania in the first round. Tig won her first-ever WTA clay court title last season in Istanbul after returning to touring from maternity leave.

In her first match, Andreescu meets world No.85 Tamara Zidansek. Slovenia’s Zidansek recently played her second career WTA singles final in Bogota earlier this year.

Andreescu won two clay court matches in a single event for the first time in her career this week in Strasbourg, but withdrew from her quarter-final match with a minor abdominal injury.

No.20 seed and 2019 finalist Marketa Vondrousova also had a tough test in the first round against veteran Kaia Kanepi. The Estonian is known to have caused big upheavals in the majors and has six appearances in the Grand Slam quarter-finals.

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