Tennis: a tough draw for the French at the Australian Open

Chance sometimes makes things go wrong

Tennis: a tough draw for the French at the Australian Open

Chance sometimes makes things go wrong. Thursday January 11, the draw for the Australian Open – the first Grand Slam tournament of the season, from January 14 to 27 – did not spare French tennis players.

Caroline Garcia, world number 20, will face Naomi Osaka, already twice victorious in Melbourne (2019, 2021) and winner of two US Opens (2018, 2020), as soon as she enters the competition. The former world number 1 made her competitive return in early January in Brisbane (Australia), where she was knocked out in the second round, after spending more than a year without playing and becoming a mother. Despite a lack of rhythm from the Japanese, the match promises to be difficult for the Lyonnaise, who has had a series of up-and-down results. If she wins her first two matches, she could face Russian Anastasia Potapova (world 27) in the third round, before a hypothetical round of 16 against American sensation Coco Gauff, seeded number 4.

Among the Tricolores engaged in Melbourne, several players inherited an affordable first round, but a formidable second blade. Varvara Gracheva, French number two, will challenge the Belgian Yanina Wickmayer (68th in the world). She could, if successful, cross paths with the last Wimbledon winner, the Czech Marketa Vondrousova. In the event of a first victorious match, Clara Burel and Alizée Cornet would respectively meet the American Jessica Pegula (5th in the world), and the Dane Caroline Wozniacki, winner in Australia in 2018.

Gasquet condemned to the exploit

In the men's draw, Richard Gasquet will have a hard time facing Carlos Alcaraz, seeded number two. The Bitterois recently fell out of the world Top 100, for the first time since 2005, after his defeat against his compatriot Arthur Fils, in Auckland (New Zealand). At 37, he will challenge one of the great talents of the new generation of world tennis, winner of two Grand Slam tournaments at the age of 20.

The two seeded Frenchmen had an affordable draw. Adrian Mannarino (20th in the world) will challenge the Swiss Stan Wawrinka, multiple Grand Slam winner, today in 56th place in the ATP rankings. In the third round, he could cross paths with Ben Shelton, semi-finalist at the US Open last year. Ugo Humbert, for his part, will enter the fray against an opponent from qualifying. A seemingly easy draw, but uncertainties remain: the 21st player in the world had withdrawn before his second match in Brisbane, on January 3, due to stomach aches.

Gaël Monfils’ journey does not look like it will be the easiest. If he comes out ahead against the German Yannick Hanfmann in his first round, he will however have the opportunity to meet several familiar faces: he could challenge the Briton Andy Murray in the second round, then the Serbian Novak Djokovic in the next round . Arthur Fils should face Russian Roman Safiullin, quarter-finalist at the last Wimbledon, in the second round.

Sinner – Djokovic and Alcaraz – Medvedev in the semi-finals

Among the headliners, Novak Djokovic goes in search of his 25th Grand Slam title with a tough draw in the second week. His real first duel should be in the round of 16 against Ben Shelton. Their last clash, in the semi-finals of the 2023 US Open, which saw the “Djoker” win in three sets, caused sparks. In the quarters, the Serbian could cross paths with the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, before a shock against the Italian Jannik Sinner in the last four. The other part of the table would reserve hypothetical quarter-finals Carlos Alcaraz - Alexander Zverev and Holger Rune - Daniil Medvedev.

On the women's side, the world number 1, Iga Swiatek will have a difficult start against Sofia Kenin, who won in Melbourne in 2020. If successful, the Pole would meet in the second round the winner of the match between Danielle Collins, finalist in 2022, and Angélique Kerber, winner in 2016. The number 2 seed and defending champion, Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, inherited an affordable first week, before a potential shock in the quarter-finals against Tunisian Ons Jabeur. In the game of predictions, the winner of this poster could meet Coco Gauff for a place in the final; while the other meeting in the last four could see Iga Swiatek and the Kazakh Elena Rybakina oppose each other.