The reigning Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open champions Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis need just the French Open title to complete the much-coveted Non-Calendar Year Grand Slam. And their chances got brighter after they were presented with a relatively easy women’s doubles draw in Paris.
The biggest dangers for Mirza and Hingis this season are the in-form fifth seeds Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic who prevailed over the numero uno pair in the finals of Stuttgart and Madrid. The Rome titlists will be happy to know that the French combine has been placed in the other half of the draw where they will have to contend with the second seeds and defending champions Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova. Three-time Olympic champions Serena and Venus Williams, who are making a comeback to doubles, have also been put in the crowded bottom section of the draw.
Detailed look at Hingis-Mirza’s draw
The top seeds start off against the Russian pair of Daria Kasatkina and Alexandra Panova. The 19-year-old Kasatkina was one half of the pair that ended the Indo-Swiss duo’s 41-match winning streak in Doha this year. Still, the top team should be able to come through this encounter without much hassle.
The first seeds that they can face are the 16th seeds Su-Wei Hsieh and Chia-Jung Chuang. Their potential quarter-final opponents can be the sixth-seeded Czech team of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka whom they beat for the Australian Open title in January.
Third seeds Hao-Ching Chan and Yung-Jan Chan or seventh seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina are their likely semi-final opponents. Out of them, the Russians met the top-ranked team as recently as nine days ago in the Rome final which the Indo-Swiss duo won.
Bopanna/Mergea seeded sixth
In men’s doubles, Indian representation will be made by Rohan Bopanna, Leander Paes and Purav Raja.
While Bopanna and his regular partner Florin Mergea have been seeded sixth, Leander Paes and Marcin Matkowski have managed the 16th seeding. Purav Raja and Ivo Karlovic, meanwhile, are unseeded.
Bopanna/Mergea who is the only pair out of these three to be placed in the top half, has arrived in Roland Garros with a rich vein of form after making it to the Madrid final and Rome semi-finals.
The Indo-Romanian combine kicks off their campaign against the local pair of Stephane Robert and Alexandre Sidorenko. Their first seeded opponents could be the 11th seeds John Peers and Henri Kontinen in the third round.
In the quarter-finals, they are likely to square off against the third seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo. If they cross that hurdle, their possible opponents in the next round will be the US Open champions and top seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.
In the bottom half, it is a tough job for Paes, who had been playing Challenger events to get back his lost confidence. A meeting with the fourth seeds and Australian Open winners Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares looms large in the pre-quarter-finals.
In the last-eight, there is a possibility of meeting the Bryan Brothers while in the semi-finals, second seeds Horia Tecau and Jean-Julien Rojer will be their most likely rivals.
As for Raja and Karlovic, they open against the ninth seeds Alexander Peya and Lukasz Kubot before a probable showdown with the eight seeds Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram in the third round.
In mixed doubles, Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig have been seeded second while the pairs of Leander Paes/Martina Hingis and Rohan Bopanna/Alla Kudryavtseva are unseeded.
The latter duo has a potential meeting with the top seeds Jamie Murray and Hao-Ching Chan as early as the second round. They might come across the three-time Major winners Paes and Hingis in the semi-finals if the Indo-Swiss combine can overcome the reigning Australian Open champions Elena Vesnina and Bruno Soares.
As for Mirza and Dodig who lost in the semi-finals at Melbourne, the earliest seeds that they can face are the seventh seeds Max Mirnyi and Yung-Jan Chan in the quarter-finals.Published 24 May 2016, 17:55 IST