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Tough days on clay for Novak

india Updated: Jun 05, 2011 22:11 IST

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Novak Djokovic's route to a maiden title at Roland Garros and the world number one ranking could be a hazardous one following Friday's draw for the French Open which starts on Sunday. The Serbian second seed, unbeaten in 37 matches this season, is favourite to face five-times champion and top seed Rafael Nadal in the final on June 5 but will have to keep his guard up if he is to reach a showdown with the king of clay.

Following a first round match against the talented Dutchman Thiemo De Bakker, Djokovic, whobeat Nadal in four finals this season, including two on clay in Madrid and Rome, could face Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in the third round and France's Richard Gasquet, the 13th seed, in the fourth.

World No 27 Del Potro, a Roland Garros semifinalist and US Open champion in 2009, is battling back up the rankings after a long-term wrist injury and is hoping to have fully recovered from a torn hip muscle that forced him to withdraw from the Madrid Masters this month.

In the women's draw, world number one Caroline Wozniacki, chasing her first grand slam title, will take on Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm, who last year claimed former world number one Dinara Safina’s scalp in Paris.

Not easy for Indians
India's Somdev Devvarman and Sania Mirza have been handed out a tough draw in their respective singles category. Somdev Devvarman is set to face Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia, while Sania Mirza has been drawn against Kristina Barrois of Germany.

Ranked 66, Somdev will face an uphill task against World No. 36 Ljubicic, who reached the semifinals of the French Open in 2006 for his career best Grand Slam performance and made it to the third round here last year.