Serena, Sharapova could square off in French finale
Paris, France (SportsNetwork.com) - The women's draw for the French Open was unveiled on Friday and world No. 1 Serena Williams could only meet former top- ranked star and fellow two-time champion Maria Sharapova in the final.
Williams owns 19 Grand Slam titles, including the 2002 and 2013 French Open crowns, while the five-time major titlist Sharapova has captured two of the last three titles on the red clay at Roland Garros, including last year. Williams topped Sharapova in the 2013 title tilt.
Both Williams and Sharapova are career Grand Slam winners. If they meet in the final next month, Williams would bring in a 17-2 lifetime record, including wins in their last 16 matchups, dating back to 2004.
The reigning Australian and U.S. Open champion Williams will open against a qualifier, but has a tough draw from there and could face former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in the third round. Azarenka is a two-time Aussie Open champ and two-time U.S. Open runner-up to Williams. The 27th-seeded Azarenka's opening-round opponent will be Spaniard Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor.
Williams, who is a brilliant 25-1 this year, could face her 15th-seeded older sister Venus in the fourth round, former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals and either Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova or Wimbledon runner- up Genie Bouchard in the semifinals.
The fifth-seeded Wozniacki, who lost to Serena in last year's U.S. Open final, will open against Italian Karin Knapp, while the former No. 1 and seven-time major champion Venus will meet fellow American Sloane Stephens in the first round.
Sharapova spearheads the bottom half of the draw as the second seed, along with third-seeded Simona Halep, who lost to Sharapova in last year's French final.
The Aussie Open runner-up Sharapova will open against Estonian Kaia Kanepi, while first up for Halep will be Russian Evgeniya Rodina.
Sharapova could face eighth-seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro in the quarterfinals, Halep in the semis, and Serena in the final.
Halep could meet seventh-seeded former No. 1 and former French Open champ Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinals. The two-time Roland Garros finalist Ivanovic will open her 2015 stay against Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova.
There are five former champions in this year's French Open field: Serena, Sharapova, Ivanovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Francesca Schiavone. And four other women who have reached the final here without winning it: Halep, Venus, Sara Errani and Samantha Stosur.
The 2015 French Open will commence Sunday and the eventual champion will pocket $2.05 million.