Serena, Venus get French Open doubles wildcard

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Russian Maria Sharapova could run into old nemesis Serena Williams in the fourth round of the French Open but, the American aside, she will fear no one on her first appearance at the claycourt slam for three years.

Serena Williams serves to Marion Bartol during their TieBreak Tens tennis match at Madison Square Garden.

It is hard to know what to expect from Serena Williams on her return to grand slam action at the French Open, but her chances of claiming a truly remarkable victory certainly appear to have been enhanced by the draw for the women's singles. Williams had her first child in September.

The Williams sisters lifted the trophy together on their French Open debut in 1999 and again in 2010.

Her fate left to the whims of a randomisation algorithm, the unseeded Serena Williams got a comfortable French Open draw on Thursday, with a first-round match against 70th-ranked Kristyna Pliskova.

Right from the off the drama will unfold with a first-round clash between 2016 champion and third seed Garbine Muguruza and 2009 victor Svetlana Kuznetsova - a match that will set the tone for what promises to be a compelling women's tournament.

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Muguruza's preparations for the French Open have been far from ideal, winning just two matches on clay.

But Sharapova, a semi-finalist in Rome last week, would not have a sleepless night about facing any of them.

But the elegant and powerful Muguruza is not anxious. And in a profile in The New York Times last month, Williams said she wanted it changed. I'm stronger mentally. I think I have worked a lot and improved. The WTA is also reviewing its rules on using special seeding for next season. "Eventually, they will come to my side".

"This year we saw Caroline Wozniacki break through at the Australian Open which was her first grand slam". She was even unaware of her first-round opponent until asked how it felt to be up against former French Open victor Svetlana Kuznetsova in the first round.

Lucie Safarova/Bethanie Mattek-Sands, the defending champions, were another pair set to play with different partners this year. "It's more relaxing, I guess".

When Kvitova, who was off the tour for six months previous year after suffering knife wounds fighting off a burglar at her home, was asked if French Open should have given Serena a special seeding, she replied, "I don't really think so".