Federer faces tough road in bid for title

Updated: May 21, 2004, 3:11 PM ET
Associated Press

PARIS -- Martina Navratilova's return to the French Open will come against a woman born one year after the left-hander last won the tournament.

Navratilova, playing singles at a Grand Slam event for the first time since 1994, was drawn Friday to face Gisela Dulko, a 19-year-old Argentine who has never won a match at a major. The tournament starts Monday.

If she wins, Navratilova could face 1994 Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez in the second round, and Serena Williams in the fourth. Williams and her sister, No. 4 Venus, could meet in the semifinals.

Navratilova, 47, won the French Open in 1982 and 1984, two of her 18 Grand Slam singles championships. Still a top doubles player, she asked for a singles wild card at Roland Garros this year, which she has said will be her last on tour.

Serena opens against 50th-ranked Iveta Benesova, while Venus faces 55th-ranked Tamarine Tanasugarn. Defending champion and top-seeded Justine Henin-Hardenne's first match comes against Sandrine Testud, a French wild card.

Men's No. 1 Roger Federer looks to have a tough draw in his bid to win a third title in the past four majors. After opening against a qualifier, he could face Nicolas Kiefer, the highest-ranked unseeded player in the tournament.

Federer's third-round opponent could be three-time French Open winner Gustavo Kuerten. That half of the draw also includes major champions Lleyton Hewitt, Marat Safin, Albert Costa and defending French Open champ Juan Carlos Ferrero, who might be tested right away by first-round foe Tommy Haas.

On the other half of the draw, No. 2 Andy Roddick will meet American veteran Todd Martin in the first round, and might face Davis Cup teammate Robby Ginepri in the second. Roddick's potential quarterfinal opponent is eight-time major champ Andre Agassi, who opens against a qualifier.

That quarter appears to be the easiest, with serve-and-volleyers Mark Philippoussis and Tim Henman, along with a slumping Paradorn Srichaphan.

The other possible men's quarterfinals are Federer vs. No. 8 David Nalbandian, Ferrero vs. No. 7 Rainer Schuettler, and No. 3 Guillermo Coria vs. No. 5 Carlos Moya.

The women's quarterfinals could be: Henin-Hardenne vs. No. 8 Nadia Petrova, Serena Williams vs. No. 7 Jennifer Capriati, Venus Williams vs. No. 6 Anastasia Myskina, and No. 3 Amelie Mauresmo vs. No. 5 Lindsay Davenport.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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