Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka face tough challenge in French Open draw
For Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka, there is plenty to play for at the upcoming French Open.
Not only is Swiatek defending her title, but her world number one ranking is also on the line. Either her or Sabalenka will leave Roland Garros as the top-ranked female player. If Sabalenka reaches the final, the only way Siwtek can retain her ranking is by taking home the title. The Pole arrives in Paris under an injury cloud after pulling out of Italian Open during her quarterfinal with a thigh injury. The first potential upset awaits Swiatek in the fourth round, where Barbora Krejcikova could be her opponent. Krejcikova has defeated Swiatek in her last two matches and had a match point before losing in their only meeting on clay. It doesn't get easier for Swiatek, because if all hold seed, she faces sixth seed Coco Gauff in the quarterfinal, a rematch of 2022's final in Paris. On the other side of the draw, Sabalenka will be eager to improve on a poor record at the French Open, where she has never gone past the fourth round. In addition, Sabalenka was bundled out of the first round at the Rome Masters by Sofia Kenin just weeks ago. If the Russian was to reach the fourth round, she is projected to face perennial challenger Karolina Pliskova. Holding seed, Sabalenka will then face fifth seed and home favourite Caroline Garcia. Sabalenka will also have to watch out for 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko on her side of the draw. The powerful yet unpredictable Latvian has a patchy record of late, but did reach the Australian Open quarterfinals earlier this year. In the middle of the draw, third seed Jessica Pegula faces either gritty French veteran Alize Cornet or the talented Camilla Giorgi as early as the second round. If Pegula makes it to the quarters, she is set to face eighth seed Maria Sakkari. Finally, fourth seed Elena Rybakina could be up against either Ons Jabeur or Petra Kvitova in the last eight.
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