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Swiss get ready for French Open

Swiss hopes will be riding on Roger Federer

(Keystone Archive)

Six Swiss tennis players will be carrying the national flag into the Roland Garros French Open, as play gets underway on Monday.

The cream of Switzerland's tennis players will all be fighting for their place in the next round, and a possible French Open title.

In the women's events Swiss number two Patty Schynder and her compatriots Emanuelle Gagliardi and Marie-Gaïané Mikaelian will be hoping to make it through.

But Swiss number one Martina Hingis will be absent as she's still recovering from the foot operation which she underwent in Zurich last Monday. Roland Garros is the only Grand Slam tournament Hingis has never won.

The Swiss men will be represented by Roger Federer, Ivo Heuberger and Michel Kratochvil.

Daunting Dokic

The Swiss women's number three, Gagliardi, will go head-to head with world number nine Jelena Dokic in the opening match.

The talented Yugoslav teenager has won all three of her previous encounters against Gagliardi, with her most recent win coming in straight sets at this year's clay-court tournament in Amelia Island.

Schnyder and Mikaelian have both been given kinder draws against qualifiers with Schnyder set to meet Venzuela's Milagros Sequera and Mikaelian taking on Hungary's Ruri Kuti-Kis.

Federer among favourites

With Hingis out, hopes of Swiss Grand Slam glory have switched to the men's draw where Roger Federer is being seen as a possible contender.

The 20-year-old from Basel celeberated his first appearance in the world's top ten last week, following his impressive victory at the Masters Series tournament in Hamburg.

Federer is billed to play world number 45, Morocco's Hicham Arazi, in the opening match. It's the first time the two men have met.

The match will also offer a taster for September's Davis Cup World Group qualifying round, when Switzerland and Morocco are set to do battle in Casablanca.

Champion challenge for Heuberger

Ivo Heuberger has undoubtedly been given the toughest assignment of all the Swiss participants. Currently ranked 116th in the world, the Swiss number four will face reigning French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil, who will be looking for his fourth Roland Garros title.

Swiss men's number two Michel Kratochvil has a much stronger chance than Heuberger of reaching the second round. Kratochvil (ATP 49) is due to take on Slovakia's Dominik Hrbaty (ATP 56). It will be the third meeting between the two men, who have each won one of their two previous encounters.

swissinfo with agencies

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