Federer to face Sonego in Roland Garros return

Federer to face Sonego in Roland Garros return


Roger Federer will face world number 73 Lorenzo Sonego at Roland Garros, his first match at the venue since losing to Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarter-finals in 2015.

It will be the first match between the pair on tour with 37-year-old 20-times Grand Slam winner Federer - the third seed who won his solitary French Open a decade ago - giving away 13 years to 24-year-old Turin-born Sonego as the draw for this year's event was completed on Thursday.

Federer withdrew before the 2016 French Open with a knee injury, and has opted out of the event to focus on the grass court season over the past two years.

Defending champion and favourite Rafael Nadal will begin his quest for a 12th French Open title against a qualifier yet to be announced. He will find out who his first-round opponent is when qualifying is completed on Friday.

Nadal claimed his 11th title on his favourite surface with a 6-4 6-3 6-2 win over Dominic Thiem in last year??ôs final. The Spanish player has only dropped one set at the French Open since 2016.

Former world number one Federer is in the same half of the draw as claycourt master Rafa Nadal and could meet the Spaniard in the semis.

Defending champion Nadal, seeded second, will open up against a qualifier as he aims for a record-extending 12th title at Roland Garros.

"I had my first training today and I had good sensations," said Nadal, who was given a tour of the renovated stadium by tournament director Guy Forget after winning his first claycourt title of the season at the Italian Open.

"It was very important for me to play well in Rome, I hope it's a good sign for Roland Garros," the Spaniard, who could face Japanese Kei Nishikori in the last eight, added.

World number one Novak Djokovic, who is looking to hold all four majors for the second time in his career, will take on Hubert Hurkacz with a possible quarter-final against German Alexander Zverev.

Top seed Novak Djokovic - who claimed his career Grand Slam with victory over Andy Murray in the 2016 final - will face Poland's world number 43 Hubert Hurkacz in the first round.

British 28th seed Kyle Edmund drew France Jeremy Chardy in the first round in what looks like a tricky tie for Edmund. They have met twice on clay before with Edmund winning in the last 64 at Barcelona two years ago and Chardy claiming victory in a Davis Cup tie earlier in 2017.

Cameron Norrie - ranked at 41 - has landed Nick Kygrios in the first round of the year??ôs second Grand Slam while fellow Brit Dan Evans meets clay court specialist Fernando Verdasco.

Norrie beat Kyrgios in their only previous meeting with the Australian forced to retire in the last eight of their Atlanta quarter-final meeting last year.

Nadal has hit form at the perfect time heading into the French Open after a slow start to the season on clay that saw him suffer semi-final defeats in Madrid, Barcelona and Monte Carlo.

Yet with the prospect of a record-extending 12th title appearing far from certain, the Spaniard showed rumours of his demise were greatly exaggerated with an outstanding 6-0 4-6 6-1 victory over Djokovic to win the Rome Masters.

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