Saturday, April 17, 2021

Murray faces Kuznetsov in French Open 2017 first round


tiamin rice

British player Andy Murray.JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

World number one Andy Murray will play Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov in the French Open first round while fellow Briton Johanna Konta faces Hsieh Su-wei.Murray, 30, is in the same half of the draw as 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka, who he beat in last year’s semi-final.

Second seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic is in the same half as nine-time champion Rafael Nadal.Petra Kvitova, who was stabbed six months ago, returns for the Grand Slam event, which starts in Paris tomorrow.

The Czech, twice a Wimbledon winner, suffered serious hand injuries when she was attacked by an intruder in her home.She is seeded 15th thanks to her protected ranking and drawn against American Julia Boserup.

Seventh seed Konta, who is chasing a first win at Roland Garros, having lost in round one in the previous two years, is up against the world number 109 from Taiwan.Defending women’s champion Garbine Muguruza opens against 2010 winner Francesca Schiavone and could face a semi-final against world number one Angelique Kerber, who starts against Ekaterina Makarova.

Romania’s world number four Simona Halep, who is battling to be fit after tearing ankle ligaments, starts against Slovakia’s Jana Cepelova and is in the same half of the draw as Elina Svitolina, who beat Halep in the Italian. Spain’s Nadal, 30, has won three titles on clay this season, including a 17-match unbeaten streak that ended in defeat by Dominic Thiem in the Italian Open quarter-finals.

Serb Djokovic will play his first tournament with new coach Andre Agassi, having appointed the eight-time Grand Slam champion after losing to German 20-year-old Alexander Zverev in the Italian Open final.Djokovic faces Spain’s Marcel Granollers in round one.

British interest
Konta is the only British player in the women’s singles after Heather Watson lost 6-0 6-3 to the Netherlands’ Richel Hogenkamp in the third round of qualifying on Friday.
The 26-year-old has played Hsieh twice before, with the Briton winning their last match in Vancouver in 2013 and Hsieh winning on grass at Eastbourne in the same year.Last year’s runner-up Murray has won his two previous meetings with world number 85 Kuznetsov – in the third round of the 2014 US Open and again on hard court in Beijing last year.

The other British men in the draw all avoided seeded players.Kyle Edmund, ranked second in Britain and 50 in the world, takes on Portugal’s Gastao Elias, who is 75 places below him.

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