Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 25th 2013 Contents A53
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Rafael Nadal could face top-seeded
Novak Djokovic in the French
Open semifinals a year after they
met to decide the title.
Yesterday s draw for the clay-
court Grand Slam tournament
placed Nadal and Djokovic on the
same half of the field, while Roger
Federer could face David Ferrer in
the other semifinal.
Federer, the owner of a record 17
major titles including the 2009
French Open, will face a qualifier
in the first round---and if he wins
that, he ll play a qualifier in the
second round, too.
Djokovic faces a far more intrigu-
ing start: The reigning Australian
Open champion s first-round oppo-
nent is David Goffin, a 22-year-
old Belgian who took a set off Fed-
erer in the fourth round in Paris
last year after making it that far as
a lucky loser.
No man has won the title at
Roland Garros as many times as
Nadal, who broke a tie with six-
time champion Bjorn Borg by
defeating Djokovic in last year s
final and is 52-1 for his French Open
Nadal also has reached the finals
of all eight tournaments he s played
But because the Spaniard missed
about seven months with a left
knee injury, his ranking slipped to
No 4, and the French Open decided
not to bump him to a higher seed-
If the tournament, which starts
tomorrow, had placed Nadal at No
2, he and No 1 Djokovic could have
met only in the final; instead, a
Nadal-Djokovic rematch for the
championship can t happen in 2013.
"If you re not Nos 1 and 2 of the
world," Nadal said, "that can hap-
Jean Gachassin, president of the
French tennis federation, said yes-
terday his group has not yet dis-
cussed whether to switch to a seed-
ing system similar to Wimbledon s,
which takes into account past
results on a specific surface rather
than only the ATP rankings.
"That will be a debate that we
will have after this French Open,"
Nadal has lost eight of his last
11 matches against Djokovic, includ-
ing on clay at Monte Carlo last
"It definitely gave me the con-
fidence boost," Djokovic said about
that most recent encounter against
the Spaniard. "Winning against
Nadal on clay is not something that
happens every day, you know. It s
a big challenge."
Nadal is seeded No 3 because
second-ranked Andy Murray, the
reigning US Open champion, with-
drew from the French Open with
a back injury.
The possible men s quarterfinals
are: Djokovic against No 8 Janko
Tipsarevic, his Davis Cup teammate
for Serbia; Nadal against No 7
Richard Gasquet of France; No 2
Federer against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
of France; and No 4 Ferrer against
No 5 Tomas Berdych of the Czech
Berdych was drawn to face Gael
Monfils of France in the first round,
drawing groans from some mem-
bers of the audience.
The last man from France to win
the French Open was Yannick Noah
in 1983, a 30-year gap mentioned
more than once at yesterday s cer-
Serena Williams wants to end
her own, shorter drought in Paris---
her lone French Open title came in
2002---and her bid for a second
championship will begin against
83rd-ranked Anna Tatishvili in the
A year ago in Paris, Williams lost
her opening match to 111th-ranked
Virginie Razzano, the American s
only first-round loss in 50 career
Grand Slam tournaments.
Williams is seeded No 1 this year
and is on a 24-match winning
streak, the longest of her career.
Tatishvili, from the former Soviet
republic of Georgia, is 2-10 this
season. She s also 0-2 at Roland
Garros and 6-8 overall at Grand
Slam tournaments. Williams, in
contrast, has won 15 major titles.
The possible women s quarter-
finals are: Williams against No 8
Angelique Kerber, defending cham-
pion Maria Sharapova against No
7 Petra Kvitova, No 3 Victoria
Azarenka against 2011 champion Li
Na, and No 4 Agnieszka Radwanska
against 2012 runner-up Sara Errani.
"It s very meaningful to come
back as a defending champion. It
means you have done something
pretty good, and you re coming
back into that position and you re
trying to defend it," said Sharapova,
who completed a career Grand Slam
by winning last year s French Open.
"I think it s one of the best honors
you can have as a tennis player."
One noteworthy first-round
matchup is No 10 Caroline Woz-
niacki, who used to be No 1, against
35th-ranked Laura Robson, a British
teenager who reached the fourth
round at last year s US Open. (AP)
Nadal could get Djokovic
in French Open semifinals
Spain's Rafael Nadal, left, and Russia's Maria Sharapova pose during the draw for the 2013 French Open tennis
tournament, at Roland Garros stadium in Paris, yesterday. AP PHOTO
MILAN---Inter Milan reportedly fired
coach Andrea Stramaccioni yestertday,
five days after concluding Serie A with a
highly disappointing ninth-place finish.
Stramaccioni was informed of the
decision, according to the Gazzetta dello
Sport and the ANSA news agency,
although Inter did not immediately
announce the move.
Walter Mazzarri, who stepped down
as Napoli manager last weekend, was
already being tapped as the likely
Having never coached in Serie A
before, Stramaccioni was hired in March
last year to replace the fired Claudio
Ranieri. He led Inter to a sixth-place
finish last season but this campaign has
been marred by a series of injuries,
including serious setbacks for key
players Diego Milito and Javier Zanetti,
the club's 39-year-old captain.
Stramaccioni's contract was due to
expire in 2015. Only 36 when he was
hired, Stramaccioni was one of the
youngest coaches to manage in Serie A.
The Nerazzurri lost as many matches,
16, as it won this campaign. (AP)
Inter Milan fires coach Stramaccioni
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