May 25, 2013

Djokovic vs. Nadal won't be in final

The French Open draw has Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on course for a semifinal, not the final.

The Associated Press

PARIS - Seven-time champion Rafael Nadal could face top-seeded Novak Djokovic in the French Open semifinals a year after they met to decide the title.

FRENCH OPEN

WHEN: Sunday, June 9

WHERE: Paris

2012 CHAMPS: Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova

Friday's draw for the clay-court Grand Slam tournament placed Nadal and Djokovic on the same half of the field, while Roger Federer could be taking on David Ferrer in the other semifinal.

Federer, the owner of a record 17 major titles, including the 2009 French Open, will face a qualifier in the first round -- and if he wins that, he'll play a qualifier in the second round, too.

Djokovic faces a far more intriguing start.

The reigning Australian Open champion's first-round opponent is David Goffin, a 22-year-old Belgian who took a set off Federer in the fourth round in Paris last year after making it that far as a lucky loser.

No man has won the title at Roland Garros as many times as Nadal, who broke a tie with six-time champion Bjorn Borg by defeating Djokovic in last year's final and is 52-1 for his French Open career.

Nadal also has reached the finals of all eight tournaments he's played in 2013.

But because the Spaniard missed about seven months with a left knee injury, his ranking slipped to No. 4, and the French Open decided not to bump him to a higher seeding.

If the tournament, which starts Sunday, had placed Nadal at No. 2, he and No. 1 Djokovic could have met only in the final.

Instead, a Nadal-Djokovic rematch for the championship can't happen in 2013.

"If you're not Nos. 1 and 2 of the world," Nadal said, "that can happen."

 

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