Article

Serena drawn to play Pliskova in French Open first round

24 mai 2018 19:18

Serena Williams' return to grand slam tennis will see her play Kristyna Pliskova in the first round of the French Open.

The American great has not played one of tennis' major tournaments since winning a 23rd grand slam title - an Open Era record - at the Australian Open in 2017, having given birth to her daughter last September.

Williams' extended absence from the WTA Tour means she heads to Roland Garros, where she is a three-time champion, unseeded and meets world number 70 Pliskova first up.

Should she come through that tie unscathed, a second-round date with Ashleigh Barty (17) or Natalia Vikhlyantseva awaits, while Julia Georges (11) is a potential opponent in round three.

Even more intriguingly, Williams could come up against her old nemesis Maria Sharapova in the last 16, with Pliskova's twin sister Karolina another possibility.

World number one Simona Halep, a beaten finalist at Roland Garros for the second time in her career 12 months ago, has a favourable draw with Alison Riske first up then a guaranteed round-two tie with a wildcard in the form of Myrtille Georges or Taylor Townsend.

Last year's surprise champion Jelena Ostapenko (5) begins the defence of her title against Kateryna Kozlova, while Caroline Wozniacki (2) starts against Danielle Collins. Garbine Muguruza (3) – the champion in 2016 – faces a tough task against the experienced Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2009 victor.

Other notable first-round matches see Elina Svitolina (4) face Ajla Tomljanovic, Petra Kvitova (8) take on Veronica Cepede Royg and Venus Williams (9) go up against Qiang Wang.

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