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French Open men’s draw released: Thiem in Nadal’s half, Murray vs Wawrinka in R1

hannahwilks in French Open 24 Sep 2020
Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka after the 2017 French Open men’s semifinal (PA Images)

The 2020 French Open draw has been released and Dominic Thiem has been drawn in Rafael Nadal’s half while Andy Murray will face Stan Wawrinka in the first round.

The men’s singles draw for the 2020 French Open was released on Thursday, with world no. 1 Novak Djokovic and 12-time champion Rafael Nadal leading the field.

The draw was conducted electronically ahead of the start of the tournament on Sunday 27 October, with the French Open authorities still planning to allow limited numbers of spectators despite surging COVID-19 cases in France.

Former champion Roger Federer is the biggest absence, having shut down his season entirely in July.

The biggest question was where third seed Dominic Thiem would land.

The Austrian, who claimed his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open, has beaten Novak Djokovic twice at the French Open and lost to Nadal twice in the final.

The player, Nadal or Djokovic, who did not have to face Thiem until the final would therefore be considered at a significant advantage.
In the event, Thiem was drawn in Nadal’s half of the draw, meaning that there will not be a Nadal-Thiem final for the third year in a row.

Djokovic would therefore only have to beat one of them to claim a second French Open title.

Projected men’s quarterfinals by seeding:

(1) Novak Djokovic vs Matteo Berrettini (6)
(4) Daniil Medvedev vs Stefanos Tsitsipas (5)
(8) Gael Monfils vs Dominic Thiem (3)
(7) Alexander Zverev vs Rafael Nadal (2)

Thiem has been handed a dangerous first-round opponent in the form of 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, who is unseeded this year.

But that is not the only blockbuster in this quarter. The 2015 French Open champion, Stan Wawrinka, will face Andy Murray in the first round.

Murray is playing Roland Garros for the first time since losing to Wawrinka in the 2017 men’s semifinal, a match which lasted four hours and 34 minutes.

It is the match which pushed both men’s bodies beyond breaking point and jeopardised their careers, with Wawrinka undergoing multiple knee surgeries later in 2017 while Murray would eventually undergo risky hip resurfacing surgery.

Murray reminisced about that match, calling it ‘brutal’ and ‘the end of my hip’, in a recent Instagram post.

The winner will likely face Dominik Koepfer, who just reached the quarterfinals of Rome as a qualifier, in the second round.

Thiem could also have to contend with Diego Schwartzman, who beat Nadal in straight sets at the Rome Masters, as a potential quarterfinal opponent.