No repeat of 2012 final as Nadal and Djokovic drawn in same half at French
(CNN) — There will be no repeat of the 2012 men's singles final at the French Open after defending champion Rafael Nadal was drawn Friday in the same half as No.1-ranked Novak Djokovic for this year's second grand slam of the season.
It means the pair are likely to face each other in the semifinals at Roland Garros as Nadal bids for an eighth crown and reigning Australian Open champion Djokovic attempts to take the French Open for the first time.
With Andy Murray withdrawing earlier this week through injury, Nadal has been promoted to third seed.
Read: No.2 Murray forced out of clay court grand slam
The Spaniard spent nearly eight months on the sidelines himself but since his return has won six tournaments, including back to back Masters titles in Madrid and Rome, lifting him up the rankings.
He shrugged off the possibility of facing Djokovic in the last four rather than the final.
"It is what it is. If he and I are not number one and two in the world, then this can happen," Nadal told the official French Open website.
"But the tournament starts with the first round, and I'm sure both of us know we have a hard path before that."
Nadal will open proceedings against Germany's Daniel Brands, but a potential third round match would pit him against Lukas Rosol, who shocked him at last year's Wimbledon ahead of his lengthy injury layoff.
Djokovic, who beat Nadal in April in the final of the Monte Carlo Masters, will play Belgium's David Goffin in the first round.
In the other half, second seed Roger Federer will play qualifiers in this first two matches, with home hope Jo-Wilfried Tsonga a likely quarterfinal opponent and fourth seed David Ferrer of Spain in the semifinals.
The women's draw has been kind to No.1 Serena Williams, who will begin her campaign against Anna Tatishvili.
Defending champion and second seed Maria Sharapova has the tougher test, with Australian Open winner and third seed Victoria Azarenka in her half of the draw.
But the Russia superstar is just proud to be back with the clay court grand slam under her belt.
"It's very meaningful to come back as defending champion," she said.
"Of course, there's always a bit of pressure coming back. But the draw looks good."
Action gets underway Sunday, but in the qualifying tournament Friday there was defeat for former World No.9 Andrea Petkovic.
The German has been plagued by injuries since reaching the quarterfinals in Paris two years ago and went out to China' s Yi-Miao Zhou after three grueling sets.