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Page last updated at 15:48 GMT, Saturday, 22 May 2010 16:48 UK

Andy Murray to face Richard Gasquet at French Open

French Open
Venue: Roland Garros, Paris Date: 23 May-6 June
BBC red button from 1000 BST and Eurosport; 5 live; streamed on BBC website with live text coverage from 1000 BST. Details of BBC coverage


Murray looks forward to Gasquet test

Andy Murray will play France's Richard Gasquet after being handed a tough draw for the first round of the French Open, which gets under way on Sunday.

The Scot, 23, has lost two of his three matches against Gasquet but won their last encounter, a dramatic five-set thriller at Wimbledon in 2008.

Murray is in the same half as Roger Federer, who plays Peter Luczak, while Rafael Nadal opens against Gianni Mina.

Women's number one Serena Williams will play Stefanie Voegele in round one.

Four-time champion Justine Henin, who returns to Roland Garros for the first time since 2007 following a 20-month break from the sport, takes on Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova.

Belgian Henin, seeded 22nd, could face Maria Sharapova in the third round and Serena Williams in the quarter-finals.

Second seed Venus Williams has an intriguing first-round match against experienced Swiss player Patty Schnyder, and defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, the sixth seed, could have difficulty against Romania's Sorana Cirstea.

Meanwhile, Britain will have three women in the main draw on ranking for the first time since 1992 and they all have testing matches in the opening round.

Andy Murray

Highlights - Murray down and out in Paris

Elena Baltacha faces eighth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, Anne Keothavong meets 14th seed Flavia Pennetta, and Katie O'Brien takes on Jill Craybas.

"It's not the easiest first round draw I could have had but I feel really proud that I've made the main draw cut here," said Baltacha who pulled out of this week's Strasbourg International through injury after aggravating a back problem during the first set of her second-round match with Anastasia Rodionova.

"It's an honour to be in another grand slam draw on merit. My back is getting better every day and I'm very confident it will settle down by the time I play."

Keothavong added: "It's a tough match. Pennetta is seeded and she's a very good player but given what happened here last year (losing 6-0 6-0 to Dinara Safina) whatever happens against Pennetta can only be an improvement!"

And O'Brien said: "It's great to be in the main draw and for there to be three of us here.

"I've been here a few days and and I've been able to soak up the atmosphere of being at a grand slam. I've had time to get used to the courts. I'm ready to play."

Murray could hardly have been given a more difficult draw than the talented Gasquet, who is likely to pose a far stiffer test than his ranking of 68 would suggest.

The 23-year-old is making his way back after injury and a ban following a positive test for cocaine last year.

He was later cleared when it was accepted he had inadvertently consumed the substance after kissing a woman who had taken it at a party.

Gasquet stretched his winning streak to 10 matches on Saturday by beating Fernando Verdasco 6-3 5-7 7-6 (7-5) in the Nice Open final.

Murray, who is currently suffering with a skin infection on part of his face, said Gasquet's experiences have made him more vigilant about what medicines he takes.

"I've got this thing on my face, it's just an infection under the skin," he told BBC Sport.


"I saw a doctor on Thursday and he said 'we will give you a prescription for this' but I need to make sure I go to see the sports doctor on site because there are a lot of things on the banned list.

"You can't put yourself in that situation. You need to be professional and minimise the risk."

Gasquet won his last tournament in Bordeaux on clay but has not played at Roland Garros since 2007 and has yet to make it past the third round in six attempts.

Murray, seeded fourth, reached the quarter-finals last year and is hopeful of at least matching that run.

"Last year I thought was very good," he said before the draw. "I maybe dropped one set in the first three or four matches and got to the quarters, so that was a good run.

"I want to try to win the tournament if possible. That's not going to be easy. It's going to be very difficult. If I want to do that, I need to get through the first round, so I'll just be focusing on that match."

Should the match results follow the seedings, Murray's path through the draw would take in Gasquet, Juan Ignacio Chela (who he beat in Madrid last week), Marcos Baghdatis, Tomas Berdych, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Federer and Nadal.

Four-time winner Nadal, seeded second, is the strong favourite to regain the title he lost last year after a shock quarter-final defeat by Robin Soderling, and the Spaniard should have few problems with 18-year-old French wildcard Mina in round one.

Nadal is unbeaten on clay this year having collected titles in Monte Carlo, Rome and Madrid, and his first serious test in Paris may not come until a possible meeting with seventh seed Fernando Verdasco in the last eight.

It was a hard time with the injuries and I worked a lot to be back and to win again

Rafael Nadal

Last year he cut down on his tournament schedule to alleviate a knee problem, and he said this positive change plus his recent form meant he approached the tournament in good shape physically and mentally.

"This year on clay I played very well, so that's important for the confidence," he said.

"That's very important, because I won three very important titles for me after being without a title win for 11 months.

"It was a hard time with the injuries and I worked a lot to be back and to win again."

Top seed Federer completed the set of Grand Slam titles in Paris 12 months ago and could face a rematch of that final against Soderling in the quarter-finals this time around.

Both Ernests Gulbis and Albert Montanes, who have enjoyed recent wins on clay against Federer, are in the same quarter of the draw as the world number one.

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see also
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
French Open could move from Paris
22 May 10 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Red-hot Gasquet wins Nice title
22 May 10 |  Tennis
Wozniacki in Warsaw injury scare
20 May 10 |  Tennis
Nalbandian will miss French Open
17 May 10 |  Tennis
Baltacha determined to make Paris
19 May 10 |  Tennis
GB pair fail in French Open bid
18 May 10 |  Tennis

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