Federer to play American Querrey in first round of French Open


Top-ranked Roger Federer will face American Sam Querrey at the French Open, beginning the lastest bid for the only Grand Slam title missing from his collection.

Second-ranked Rafael Nadal will play a qualifier in the first round as he attempts to win a record-equaling fourth straight title on the red clay of Roland Garros.

"I feel very good physically," Nadal said. "I don't have any problems."

Maria Sharapova is the top seed following the retirement of four-time champion Justine Henin. Sharapova, who has won all three other Grand Slam titles, will face fellow Russian Evgeniya Rodina in the first round.

"Coming in this year, the French Open is the one (Grand Slam title) I haven't won" Sharapova said. "It's exciting. It's the toughest one. But that's why I'm here. I love the challenges."

Today's draw left No. — Novak Djokovic in the same half with Nadal, giving Federer a clearer path to the final. The tournament begins Sunday and ends June 8.

Djokovic, winner of the Australian Open, will open against Denis Gremelmayr of Germany.

"I have enough confidence and experience to cope with the pressure of the big matches," Djokovic said. "I think I've matured a lot ... I believe much more in myself and that I can win against Rafael on clay or Roger on any surface."

Federer has won 12 Grand Slam titles, but has never triumphed in Paris, losing to Nadal in the past two finals.

Nadal, who has never lost a match at the French, is trying to become the second man to win four consecutive championships. Bjorn Borg did it from 1978-81.

Second-seeded Ana Ivanovic, who lost to Henin in last year's French final, will open against Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden. Ivanovic is in the same half of the draw with No. — Jelena Jankovic, and the two Serbs could meet in the semifinals.

The Williams sisters are both in the bottom half of the draw with the two Serbs.

Fifth-seeded Serena Williams, the only woman in the draw who has won the French Open, will open against Ashley Harkleroad in the first round. No. 8 Venus Williams faces Tzipora Obziler of Israel.

"It's probably the best preparation I've had since 2002," Serena Williams said. "I feel like I've played so many clay-court tournaments ... And I'm really comfortable out there on the clay. I'm definitely 100 percent fit."

Nadal is projected to face No. 6-seeded David Nalbandian of Argentina, a top clay-court player, in the quarterfinals and Djokovic in the semis.

Federer is 1-0 against the 41st-ranked Querrey, winning in straights sets on hard courts in Miami in 2007.

The 20-year-old Querrey, who stands 6-foot-6, reached the quarterfinals at the Monte Carlo Masters on clay in April.

Federer could face potentially tricky matchups against big serving Croatians Mario Ancic in the third round and Ivo Karlovic in the fourth.

Federer could meet No. 8 Richard Gasquet of France in the quarters and No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko in the semis.

Davydenko got arguably the toughest draw. The Russian will face Thomas Johansson of Sweden in the first round. If he gets past that, he could meet former No. — Marat Safin in the second round, Ivan Ljubicic in the third round and Juan Carlos Ferrero in the fourth.

Sebastien Grosjean (shoulder) and Daniela Hantuchova (foot) withdrew because of injuries.

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