Stosur faces tough French Open battle

SAM STOSUR’S French Open hopes have taken a significant hit after being lumped in the same quarter of the draw as the past two champions, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.

The Gold Coaster is targeting a return to form in grand slams but will have to beat three top-10 seeds if she is to reach the semi-finals of the claycourt grand slam for a fourth time.

Australia’s top-ranked player has a tricky opening encounter against rising Puerto Rican Monica Puig, ranked 48th.


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Should she progress through the early rounds, Stosur would likely face ninth seed Dominika Cibulkova, the Australian Open runner-up, in the third round.

A reward for reaching the last 16 for the first time in five grand slams could then be a fourth-round match-up with Sharapova, the 2012 champion.

An upset would likely pit Stosur against top seed and defending champion Williams in the quarter-finals.

Australia’s men also received some tough assignments at Roland Garros on Friday with young gun Nick Kyrgios to face eighth seed Milos Raonic in the first round, while Lleyton Hewitt and Bernard Tomic could potentially face off in the second round.

Australian wildcard entry Ashleigh Barty has a daunting opening encounter against French 20th seed Alize Cornet while Casey Dellacqua will face Spain’s Lourdes Dominguez Lino.

In the men’s draw, Tomic – still recovering from hip surgery – was handed a tough opening match against local favourite and 12th seed Richard Gasquet.

Should he pull off an upset win, he could then face Hewitt, who plays Argentine Carlos Berlocq in the first round.

Marinko Matosevic and Matthew Ebden are also in the same eighth of the draw.

Matosevic has a decent chance to break his grand slam duck against German journeyman Dustin Brown while Ebden faces Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas.

The four Australians are in the same quarter of the draw as third seeds Stan Wawrinka and seventh seed Andy Murray.

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