Paris, France (Sports Network) - The four most recent Grand Slam champions
could square off in the quarterfinals of the upcoming French Open as the draw
for the Roland Garros fortnight was revealed Friday.
Defending French Open champ Li Na of China is seeded seventh this year and
could meet reigning Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova in the round of eight. The
Czech star is the fourth seed in Paris.
Victoria Azarenka, the winner of this year's Australian Open, is the top seed
and, if form holds, the Belarusian star would meet reigning U.S. Open champ
Samantha Stosur in the quarterfinals. The Aussie is the sixth seed in France,
where she finished as the runner-up 2010.
Azarenka, whose quarterfinal appearance last year matched her best finish in
six French Open visits, will start with Italy's Alberta Brianti and likely has
an easy road to the quarterfinals. Her fourth-round opponent could be
Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova. Stosur will face Britain's Elena Baltacha to
start and has hard-hitting German Sabine Lisicki as a potential fourth-round
Joining Azarenka and Stosur in the top half of the draw are Poland's Agnieszka
Radwanska and Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli.
The third-seeded Radwanska has lost just seven matches this year, but six have
come against Azarenka. She could have a tough road to a potential quarterfinal
matchup with Bartoli, as Venus Williams looms as a likely second-round match,
while 2009 champ Svetlana Kuznetsova could be a third-round target and 2008
winner Ana Ivanovic is in line for a possible fourth-round encounter. Bartoli,
a semifinalist last year, will face a qualifier in the first round.
While Li and Kvitova qualify as headliners in the bottom half of the draw, the
stars are Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams, who could meet in a huge
Sharapova, seeded second this year, needs only a French Open crown to complete
a career Grand Slam. She was a semifinalist last year and again in 2007, while
the fifth-seeded Serena won her lone title on the famed red clay in 2002.
Serena didn't play at Roland Garros last year and is battling a lower back
injury that forced her to withdraw from a semifinal match last week in Rome.
She is 17-0 on clay this season.
First up for Sharapova is Romania's Alexandra Cadantu, while fellow Russians
Maria Kirilenko and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova could be fourth-round opponents.
Serena will open against French veteran Virginie Razzano and the 13-time Grand
Slam winner could meet former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth
round. Wozniacki, seeded ninth this year, has Greek veteran Eleni Daniilidou
as an opener.
Li is scheduled to face Romania's Sorana Cirstea in the first round, while
Kvitova opens with Australian wild card Ashleigh Barty.
Play opens in the French capital on Sunday.
The Sports Network