Kyrgios’ golden chance to make French run

Kyrgios’ golden chance to make French run

Nick Kyrgios has been handed a golden chance to make a deep run at the French Open following a favourable draw which has him avoiding the big three until the semi-finals.

The Australian world No.19, who will take on Italian Marco Cecchinato in the opening round, escaped early clashes with world No.1 Novak Djokovic, defending champion Stan Wawrinka and nine-time winner Rafael Nadal in the draw announced on Friday.

He may encounter a familiar face in the third round, however, where French ninth seed Richard Gasquet potentially awaits.

The pair have a chequered history, with Kyrgios winning an extraordinary Wimbledon clash in 2014 in which the then-19-year-old saved a record nine match points – before courting controversy 12 months later.

Kyrgios was forced to deny accusations of tanking against the Frenchman in a four-set loss at Wimbledon last year before being slugged $US9,500 ($A12,675) in fines for unsportsmanlike conduct during the match.

At the time, an angry Kyrgios told reporters Gasquet was simply “serving too good” after failing to return serve during one game in the loss.

Should he advance to the fourth round, Kyrgios would likely face fifth seed Kei Nishikori while a mouthwatering clash with two-time grand slam champion and ally on tour Andy Murray looms in the quarter-finals.

Australia’s top-ranked female Samantha Stosur will face dangerous floater Misaki Doi first up.

Stosur comes to Paris under an injury cloud, having withdrawn from the Strasbourg international with a left wrist injury, but has a fine record at Roland Garros where she is a former runner-up and two-time semi-finalist.

Should she progress past Japan’s world No.38, Stosur faces a potential third-round clash with 11th seed Lucie Safarova and fourth-round match-up with sixth seed Simona Halep.

Bernard Tomic has a fine chance to overcome his horror claycourt record, with the 20th seed drawing American comeback kid Brian Baker while avoiding a top-10 seed until a potential fourth round clash with Djokovic.

Meanwhile, Sam Groth will need to overcome enormous odds to reach the second round after he was matched with fourth seed Nadal – and John Millman didn’t get off lightly either, drawing big-serving 16th seed John Isner.

The news was better for wildcard Jordan Thompson, who has a qualifier first up.

Daria Gavrilova will take on Colombian world No.98 Mariana Duque-Marino in her first match, while wildcard Arina Rodionova is up against impressive Croatian teenager Ana Konjuh.

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