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Nadal, Djokovic Learn Roland Garros Draw Fate; Wawrinka In Nadal's Half

Paris, France

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who took part in the Roland Garros draw ceremony with Serena Williams on Friday, faces a tough task if he is to lift the trophy for the fifth year in a row and a ninth time overall.

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Eight-time champion Nadal, who has a 59-1 record on Parisian clay courts, has been drawn in the same half of the draw as Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka, last year’s runner-up David Ferrer, 2011 semi-finalist Andy Murray and young star Grigor Dimitrov.

Nadal, who has won 13 Grand Slam championships overall, could play Dominic Thiem in the second round and Ferrer – who beat Nadal in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters – in the last eight.

World No. 2 and 2012 runner-up Novak Djokovic, who has won three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles this year – at the BNP Paribas Open, Sony Open Tennis and the Internazionali BNL d’Italia – challenges Joao Sousa in the first round, with Marin Cilic a potentially dangerous opponent in the third round.

Djokovic has the chance to become just the eighth man in tennis history to win all four Grand Slam titles by lifting his first Roland Garros crown. Other big names in the bottom half of the draw include 2009 champion Roger Federer, Tomas Berdych, Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Djokovic could meet Raonic in the quarter-finals. The pair met in Rome last week.

Wawrinka will open his title bid campaign against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Wawrinka will be hoping to become the first man since Jim Courier in 1992 to win the Australian Open-Roland Garros title double. The World No. 3 might meet Fabio Fognini in the fourth round and Andy Murray in the quarter-finals. Murray takes on Andrey Golubev in the first round.

World No. 4 Federer, a winner of 17 Grand Slam championship titles, opens against Lukas Lacko. He has a 58-14 match record at Roland Garros, which also includes four final runs (2006-08, 2011). Mikhail Youzhny could be a potential opponent in the fourth round, with Berdych on the horizon in the quarter-finals.

There are several big first-round matches in Paris, including Nishikori versus Martin Klizan, Richard Gasquet meeting Bernard Tomic, Dimitrov taking on Ivo Karlovic and Tsonga playing fellow Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

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