It draws up pretty tough for Raonic at French Open
It won’t be easy for Canada’s Milos Raonic if he makes it through the first few rounds of the French Open.
The fifth seed from Thornhill could potentially meet Grigor Dimitrov in the round of 16 and may face Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals. Raonic, who’s in the bottom of the draw in the same half as defending champion Novak Djokovic, will open against world No. 38 Steve Darcis of Belgium.
Raonic reached the fourth round at Roland Garros last year before falling to Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
There are two Canadians entered in women’s singles play. Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., is set to open against No. 72 Risa Ozaki of Japan, while Montreal’s Francoise Abanda qualified for the main draw Friday with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Su Jeong Jang of South Korea.
It’s unclear if the 56th-ranked Bouchard will be able to play as she suffered an ankle injury at this week’s Nuremberg Cup. Abanda, the world No. 191, will open against No. 264 Tessah Andrianjafitrimo of France.
Nadal, meanwhile, is back in top form as he starts his quest for a 10th French Open title.
The 14-time Grand Slam champion — seeded fourth this year — will need to deal with the talented and unpredictable Benoit Paire in the first round.
“I know I need to be ready since the beginning, because I have a tough opponent in the first round,” Nadal said. “So I am focused on trying to work the right way.”
The 30-year-old Nadal, who retired last year before his third round match with a wrist injury, has a 72-2 record at the clay-court major and is the only player with nine trophies from one Grand Slam tournament. This season, he has been the dominant player on clay, winning 17 straight matches on his favourite surface and three consecutive titles before Thiem halted his run in Rome last week.
In Paris, he could face Djokovic or Thiem in the semifinals.
Roger Federer, who won the Australian Open in January, is skipping Roland Garros, focusing instead on the grass and hard court events.
The top-ranked Murray, who will open against Andrey Kuznetsov, was drawn in the same half as third-seeded and 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka.
In the absence of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, the women’s draw is looking wide open this year. An intriguing first round match-up will put defending champion Garbine Muguruza against 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone, while top-ranked Angelique Kerber will take on 40th-ranked Ekaterina Makarova.
Among the other favourites, third-seeded Simona Halep will be up against Jana Cepelova in the first round if her right ankle injury does not prevent her from playing.
Williams is not playing because she is pregnant.
Play begins on Sunday.
Milos Raonic faces a tough road to the final of the French Open.