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2018 French Open: Rafael Nadal’s road to an 11th Roland Garros title well-paved

Rafael Nadal wouldn’t have been intimidated by any draw, though. The 32-year-old Spaniard can bring down just about anybody on his favourite surface. However, the draws released yesterday in Paris for the 122nd edition of the French Open, has given the King of Clay a relatively easy route to an unprecedented 11th French Open title.

Nadal has avoided key contenders in the early rounds. Well, those key contenders should heave a sigh of relief.

In the top half, Nadal begins his title defense against Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov with a likely second round face off against Estoril champion Joao Sousa of Portugal or Argentine Guido Pella. Frenchman, Richard Gasquet is a projected third round opponent, before a potential meeting with either 14th seed Jack Sock or rising Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov in the fourth round.

We could witness a rematch of the 2017 US Open final as sixth-seeded South African, Kevin Anderson has been projected to meet Nadal in the quarterfinals before a potential crunch semifinal showdown with third seed, Marin Cilic or the Tower of Tandil, Juan Martin del Potro, who’s seeded fifth.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic, who’s shown glimpses of a return to form faces a rather daunting task as he’s been drawn in a tough quarter.

The 2016 French Open champion is seeded 20th after his struggles with an elbow-injury, and will play a qualifier in the first round.

The former world number one is in Grigor Dimitrov’s quarter of the draw and could face the Bulgarian fourth seed in the Last 16.

Belgium’s David Goffin or Australia’s Nick Kyrgios could lie beyond that for the Serb, while second seed Alexander Zverev is a potential semi-final opponent.

The 21-year-old German, who has won clay-court titles in Munich and Madrid this year, faces Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis in his opener.

This is who the top seeds will face in the opening round.

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