Published: Mon, May 29, 2017
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Djokovic and Nadal could meet in French Open semifinals

Djokovic and Nadal could meet in French Open semifinals

Murray, the 2016 runner-up at Roland Garros to Novak Djokovic, admitted he had been sick since arriving in the French capital on Sunday.

He also reached his first Grand Slam final in three years in Australia in January where he lost in five sets to old rival Roger Federer who is skipping Roland Garros.

"I think that Rafa is the big favorite", Thiem said Friday.

But other than that blip, Nadal has looked in supreme form, collecting titles on clay, in Barcelona, Madrid and Monte Carlo.

Barring any upsets, Milos Raonic will have to go through Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals at the French Open, and then Kei Nishikori in the semifinals.

"You have to write what you have to do, but I don't care", said Nadal when asked about his status as favourite. In the other half, Murray's route potentially includes a third-round against Juan Martin del Potro and a semi-final against 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka.

The athletes competing in the 2017 French Open will do so for a significantly larger purse than last year, as this year's total prize money has been raised to €36 million (roughly £31.4 million, or $40.2 million).

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Novak Djokovic is the defending men's singles champion at the French Open, but nine-time victor Rafael Nadal will begin this year's event as the clear favourite.

And all this after the Serb departed Paris last year as the first man in nearly half a century to complete the non-calendar-year grand slam sweep. "I learned a lot ... so I think I prepared well for this tournament". For good measure, he also won Madrid for a fifth time, ending a two-year seven-match losing streak against Djokovic in the process.

The British star begins against Russia's Andrey Kuznetsov and could face risky Juan Martin del Potro, who is playing Paris for the first time in five years, in the third round.

There were signs of life when he reached the Rome Masters final last weekend where his defeat was soon relegated in significance by his appointment of USA legend Andre Agassi as his new coach. "I played the best player on clay three times in three tournaments".

Prediction: Halep finally got her game together on the red clay, and if she ever was going to finally win a major, this is the time.

Previous year was the first time Murray reached a French final. Murray is 16-7 with one title; Kerber is 19-10 with no titles and an 0-7 record against top-20 players.

Defending champion Garbine Muguruza of Spain picked up a neck injury in Rome and has won just two matches on clay all season. Kvitova's first match will be the first match of this year's tournament in Court Philippe Chatrier, the French Open's main stadium, against Julia Boserup of the United States. "100% he's the big favourite", said Austrian star Dominic Thiem. "At times Thiem is still grasping with the right kind of strategy to beat them, although he was outstanding against Rafa in Rome".

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