ATP Tour

Nadal v Ginepri in Paris opener

Rafael Nadal (AFP)
Rafael Nadal (AFP)

Paris - Rafael Nadal will open his quest for a ninth French Open crown with a tie against US veteran wildcard Robby Ginepri following Friday's draw.

The 27-year-old Spaniard has a 59-1 win record at Roland Garros since he first appeared in Paris in 2005, his only loss being to Robin Soderling of Sweden in a 2009 fourth round match.

But Nadal's uncustomary struggles on clay in the buildup to Roland Garros means that he is not the outstanding favourite he usually is, with world number two Novak Djokovic also fancied to win what would be his first French Open title.

Nadal is facing a quarter-final tie against fellow Spaniard David Ferrer, who notched up a rare win against him recently, with either Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka or Britain's Andy Murray waiting in the semi-finals.

Djokovic will start with a match against Portugal's Joao Sousa and could meet dangerous Croat Marin Cilic in the third round.

If he comes through those, the Serb could face Canada's Milos Raonic, who ran him close last week in Rome, in the quarter-finals.

Roger Federer, whose one title in Paris came in 2009, is a potential semi-final opponent if the Swiss fourth seed can get past Tomas Berdych in the third quarter of the draw.

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