The Roland Garros draws have been made and the qualifiers placed so it’s time for the ultimate questions to be answered as main draw play kicks off Sunday in Paris. With all the top stars back in the draw and plenty of hungry contenders looking for their first Grand Slam title, the women’s tournament is sure to be exciting and unpredictable.
Here are five favorites to lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in two weeks time:
After reminding the world how much of a threat she is on clay with a dominant title defense in Rome, No. 4 seed Elina Svitolina is entering Roland Garros as the player to beat. The Ukrainian has never made it past the last eight of a major before, but she should like her draw in Paris. She opens against Ajla Tomljanovic on Sunday, and sits on the opposite half of Simona Halep.
Many people's choice for the title, top-seeded Halep is hoping its fourth time lucky in the City of Love as she chases redemption. After letting a set and a break lead slip in last year’s final to an unseeded Jelena Ostapenko and then coming up short against Caroline Wozniacki in the Australian Open final, Halep is itching for her first major. The two-time French Open finalist opens against Alison Riske.
Petra Kvitova’s comeback to the tour from an armed robbery at the end of 2016 has been nothing short of remarkable. A year ago, the two-time Wimbledon champion made her return at Roland Garros. Five titles and an 11-match clay-court win streak later, the Czech is one of the most dangerous players in the draw. Kvitova opens against Veronica Cepede Royg in the first round.
After turning her season around on the clay with runs to the quarterfinals in Madrid and semifinals in Rome, Maria Sharapova’s comeback seems to be on track. The five-time major winner showed impressive form for the first time in 2018, playing the confident power tennis that saw her win Roland Garros in 2012 and 2014. After securing the 29th seeding spot, Sharapova’s draw should have been manageable. Instead, after opening against qualifier Richel Hogenkamp, the Russian could face Donna Vekic and then sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova in the second and third rounds, respectively. An unseeded Serena Williams could be waiting for her in the fourth round.
With the women’s field just as open as it was in 2017 and many overlooking her to defend her title, there’s no reason No. 5 seed Ostapenko can’t play the same inspired tennis she did last year. While the 20-year-old has been up and down in 2018, Ostapenko has the ability to beat anyone on any given day. While a possible second round blockbuster awaits against Victoria Azarenka, Ostapenko has more matches under her belt in recent months than the Belarusian.
Main-draw play at Roland Garros begins Sunday, with Svitolina and Ostapenko both taking the court.
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