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French Open: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer drawn close

Roger Federer (pictured) was drawn in the same half as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic for the 2021 French Open. File Photo by David Silpa/UPI
Roger Federer (pictured) was drawn in the same half as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic for the 2021 French Open. File Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

May 28 (UPI) -- Some of the best men's and women's singles matchups could occur a little sooner than expected at this year's French Open as several of the world's most-popular tennis players were put in the same half of the draw.

Players were drawn Thursday in Paris. The first round of the clay court Grand Slam starts Sunday. The finals are scheduled for June 12 and 13 at Roland Garros.

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The winners of the men's and women's singles circuits each will receive about $1.7 million.

A limit of 1,000 fans will be allowed to attend matches through the first 10 days of the French Open. The attendance limit, put in place for COVID-19, will increase to 5,000 fans once the tournament reaches the quarterfinals. The 2020 French Open was moved from May to September due to the pandemic.

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This year's two-week tournament, which airs on Tennis Channel and NBC, was pushed back by one week due to COVID-19 precautions.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, No. 3 Rafael Nadal and No. 8 Roger Federer each are in the same half of the men's draw. That means only one of those players can advance to the final. Nadal is a heavy favorite to win a record-extending 14th French Open crown.

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Women's No. 1 Ash Barty is in the same half as several top American players. She starts her march toward the title at Roland Garros with a first-round match against American Bernarda Pera.

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Fellow Americans No. 5 Sofia Kenin, No. 14 Jennifer Brady, No. 25 Cori 'Coco' Gauff, No. 29 Jessica Pegula, No. 46 Shelby Rogers, No. 58 Sloane Stephens, No. 104 Venus Williams and No. 75 Ann Li also share a half with Barty.

Men's first-round

Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have combined to win 58 Grand Slams.

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No. 9 Matteo Berrettini, No. 13 David Goffin, No. 21 Felix Auger-Aliassime and No. 22 Alex De Minaur are among the top players who share a half of the draw with the triumphant trio.

No. 4 Dominic Thiem, No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 6 Alexander Zverev join Nadal and Djokovic as Top 5 favorites to win the title.

No. 7 Andrey Rublev, No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, Federer, No. 10 Diego Schwartzman and No. 19 Jannick Sinner round of the Top 10 men's favorites.

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Djokovic battles American Tennys Sandgren in the first round. Nadal starts his march toward a 14th French Open title with a first-round match against Alexei Popyrin. Federer faces a player from the qualifier in his first match.

Medvedev is the top seed in the bottom half of the draw. He battles Alexander Bublik in the first round. Tsitsipas faces Jeremy Chardy, Thiem battles Pablo Andujar and Zverev plays a qualifier in their first-round matches. Rublev battles Jan Lennard Struff and Schwartzman faces Yen Hsun Lu in other first-round matchups.

Women's first round

Nine American women share a half with Barty, but No. 8 Serena Williams isn't one of them. Williams will not have to go through the world's top player to advance to the final.

Williams shares the bottom half of the women's singles draw with No. 2 Naomi Osaka, No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka, No. 7 Bianca Andreescu, No. 11 Belinda Bencic, No. 12 Petra Kvitova and No. 16 Victoria Azarenka.

World No. 9, and defending champion, Iga Swiatek is the favorite to win the women's singles title. Barty, Sabalenka, No. 13 Garbine Muguruza and Osaka are among the other Top-5 favorites to win at Roland Garros. Andreescu, Kvitova and Williams also are expected to contend for the title.

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Osaka battles Patricia Maria Tig in the first round.

Williams starts her journey toward a potential record-tying 24th Grand Slam title with a first round match against Irina Camelia Begu. Brady battles Anastasija Sevastova and Coco faces a qualifier in their first-round matches.

Swiatek starts her title defense against Slovenian Kaja Juvan. Andreescu battles Tamara Zidansek and Muguruza faces Marta Kostyuk in their first-round matches.

Kenin, last year's runner up, faces 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in her first match of the Grand Slam.

Sabalenka, Kvitova and Coco face qualifiers in their first-round matches.

How to watch

First round

Sunday

5 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tennis Channel

Monday

5 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tennis Channel, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on NBC

Tuesday

5 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tennis Channel

Second round

Wednesday

5 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tennis Channel

Thursday

5 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tennis Channel

Third round

June 4

5 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tennis Channel

June 5

5 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tennis Channel, noon to 2 p.m. on NBC, 2 to 6 p.m. on Peacock

Fourth round

June 6

5 a.m. to noon on Tennis Channel, noon to 2 p.m. on NBC, 2 to 6 p.m. on Peacock

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June 7

5 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tennis Channel, 3 to 6 p.m. on Peacock

Quarterfinals

June 8

6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Tennis Channel

June 9

5 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tennis Channel

Women's Semifinals

June 10

8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tennis Channel, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on NBC, NBCSN

Men's Semifinals

June 11

8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Tennis Channel, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on NBC, NBCSN

Women's Final

June 12

9 a.m. on NBC

Men's Final

June 13

9 a.m. on NBC

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