Home Sport Ash Party in the tough Paris draw, “Bob” gets Nadal

Ash Party in the tough Paris draw, “Bob” gets Nadal


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Ashe Party faces huge tests as it tries to regain the French Open title after securing a minefield from a tie that could pit it against defending champion Iga Soytec in a popular semi-final.

Also avoid thinking about rising Australian men’s star Alexei Bopyrin, who on Thursday underwent the most serious scrutiny in world sport by having to face 13-time champ Rafael Nadal in the first round.

World No. 1 seed Barty, who has returned to Roland Garros to reclaim the title after losing her defense in the COVID-hit 2020 match, must safely negotiate on her inaugural tour with US left-hander Bernarda Pera, ranked 70, when the tie kicks off on Sunday.

Likewise, she should not be agitated in the next round against Polish Magda Linette, number 48 in the world, or French substitute Chloe Paquet.

However, since the third round, the difficulty has increased rapidly as she can take on the dangerous Tunisian Anas Jaber or her Australian compatriot Astra Sharma, who beat Al-Afriya for her first title in the recent Charleston final.

Party is likely to meet either Koko Gove’s young starlet or Australian Open fourth-round finalist Jane Brady, Ukrainian strongman Elena Svitolina, fifth seed in the quarter-finals, before a possible round of four with perhaps Australian Open 2020 winner Sofia Kenin or Swiatik.

Barty, who performed admirably on European clay courts with two titles and one final appearance, beat the pole at the Madrid Open earlier in the month, but the youngster has shown well since then.

If Party makes it to the final, world number 2 Naomi Osaka will be her due opponent, although you may prefer to pick Serena Williams, Bianca Andreescu or Arena Sabalinka in the lower half of the draw.

Barty trained well at Roland Garros after fearing her injury at the Italian Open when she withdrew during the quarter-final against Juve with a repeat of an old bats’ arm injury.

Nadal knows the pitfalls he will face against the mega-hit 21-year-old who has made greater strides than any other Australian man this year, having climbed more than 50 places to number 62 in the world.

The duo recently met in Madrid with Nadal winning in straight sets, but they admit how much he admires the incredible strength of the Sydney player.

“If he can control a little foul, it will be very difficult to beat him, right?” Nadal said, “He’s got a great serve and amazing shots from everywhere.”

“The utmost respect for him, he has great potential, honestly.”

Bubrin, who studied a video of how the infamous Robin Soderling beat Nadal at Roland Garros in 2009, warned that the outcome would be very different if he had another chance to tackle the 34-year-old maestro.

“He’s going to have a tougher opponent to play next time,” he told AAP earlier this month.

With the champ only ranked third, it’s an exceptional and unbalanced draw for men with the “Big Three” – Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer – all on the same side of the draw.

Federer and Djokovic are scheduled to meet in the quarter-finals, with Nadal facing in the semi-finals.

Australian first player Alex de Minor, number 21, will meet Stefano Travaglia in the opening round, while number 2 John Millman faces a tough date with another Italian, Gianluca Majer, who beat Boberine in the recent Serbian Open.


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