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French Open

Holder Nadal faces qualifier in French Open

  • Story Highlights
  • Holder Rafael Nadal will begin his French Open title defense against a qualifier
  • Roger Federer opens against Alberto Martin of Spain in bid for 14th grand slam
  • Williams sisters drawn to potentially face each other in final at Roland Garros
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(CNN) -- Rafael Nadal will begin his bid to win a fifth straight French Open title with a match against a qualifier and a possible semifinal against Britain's Andy Murray.

Nadal and Federer are favorites for another final clash at the French Open.

Nadal and Federer are favorites for another final clash at the French Open.

The world number one has been handed a relatively comfortable draw with potential matches in the third round against Australia's Lleyton Hewitt and fellow-Spaniard David Ferrer in the last 16.

Second seed Roger Federer, who beat Nadal in the final of the Madrid Masters last Sunday, will open against Alberto Martin of Spain.

Federer, who is attempting to win his 14th grand slam to match Pete Sampras' record, could face fourth seed Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.

The Swiss maestro has never won the title on the clay at Roland Garros and needs a Roland Garros win to complete a career grand slam.

World number three Murray will be playing on his least favorite surface and faces a tough first round match against Juan Ignacio Chela who has won four titles on clay.

In the women's draw, the Williams sisters have been split and could face each other in the final, a repeat of the 2002 championships where Serena beat Venus to the title.

Top seed Dinara Safina opens against Anne Keathavong of Britain and is seeded to meet defending champion Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinals.

Serbia's Ivanovic took her place in the draw despite an injury scare.

Maria Sharapova, who reached the quarterfinals in the Warsaw Open this week as she returned to tournament play after nine months out with a shoulder injury, will play Anastasiya Yakimova of Belarus in the first round.

It will be the former world number one's first grand slam match since playing a Wimbledon last year.Play at the second grand slam of the year begins at Roland Garros on Sunday.

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