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What’s on the cards

sports Updated: May 22, 2009 23:58 IST
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Sisters Serena and Venus Williams were placed in opposite sides of the French Open field on Friday, while the men's semifinals could pit four-time defending champion Rafael Nadal against Andy Murray, and Roger Federer against Novak Djokovic.

Trying to become the first man to win five consecutive French Opens, the top-seeded Nadal will begin against a qualifier. He could meet Lleyton Hewitt in the third round, and 14th-seeded David Ferrer in the fourth.

Federer's bid to tie Pete Sampras' record of 14 career major singles title will start against Spain’s Alberto Martin. The third-ranked Murray's first opponent is Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina, whose four career tour titles all came on clay and who once was ranked 15th.

The potential men's quarterfinals are Nadal vs No 8 Fernando Verdasco, Murray vs No 7 Gilles Simon, Federer vs No 6 Andy Roddick, and Djokovic vs. No 5 Juan Martin Del Potro.

The possible women's quarterfinals are top-ranked Dinara Safina vs. defending champion Ana Ivanovic, Venus Williams vs No 6 Vera Zvonareva, Serena Williams vs No 7 Svetlana Kuznetsova, and No 4 Elena Dementieva vs No 5 Jelena Jankovic.

Safina starts against Anne Keothavong of Britain. The second-seeded Serena — one of two past women's champions in the draw — will meet Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic in the first round. The third-seeded Venus faces Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the United States in her opener.

The Williams sisters could only meet in the championship match. Maria Sharapova will play Anastasiya Yakimova of Belarus in her first Grand Slam match since Wimbledon last year.