Cape Town – The women’s draw is just as tight as the men’s at Roland Garros this year. Any of the top seeds could emerge victorious, especially with tournament favourite Serena Williams struggling with an elbow injury. Sport24 looks at EIGHT ladies to watch out for over the next couple of weeks.
READ: EIGHT MEN TO WATCH AT ROLAND GARROS
Age - 33
World ranking – 1
Best French Open – Winner (2002, 2013)
Serena is five Grand Slam titles away from equaling Margaret Court’s all time record, but at 33 she needs to make the next couple of years count. She insists that her withdrawal in Rome with an elbow injury last week was only precautionary, but the rest of the women’s field will look for all of the help they can get in trying to stop the 19-time Grand Slam champion.
Age – 28
World ranking – 2
Best French Open – Winner (2012, 2014)
Sharapova is in fine form having won in Rome and is naturally the biggest threat to Williams. She hasn’t always been inspiring on clay, but in recent years she has turned into one of the most dominant forces on the surface. The Russian is moving well, striking the ball cleanly and she will surely be a name to look for at the business end of the tournament.
Age – 23
World ranking – 3
Best French Open – Runner-up (2014)
Halep’s performance in Paris last year was her best yet at a Slam. She is young, has risen to the top of the women’s game and is expected to produce big things in the coming years. With two quarter-finals, one semi-final and a final appearance in her last five Grand Slams, a win is surely not far away. Could it come at the French Open this year?
Age – 25
World ranking – 27
Best French Open – SF (2013)
Azarenka has won two Aussie Opens and has historically been far better on the harder surfaces. But the Belarusian has put in some good performances in the build-up to the French and has shown, as she continues her comeback from injury, glimpses of the form that turned her into the world number one in 2012.
Age – 25
World ranking – 4
Best French Open – SF (2012)
The Czech is a two-time Wimbledon champion and one of the most powerful players on the circuit. Her recent history at the French isn’t memorable – two third round appearances in the last two years – but she has consistently been one of the biggest names in women’s tennis since 2011 and she has the ability to beat anybody on her day.
Carla Suarez Navarro
Age – 26
World ranking – 8
Best French Open – QF (2014)
The Spaniard does not have the most glittering Grand Slam record, having never featured in a semi-final. But she stunned Simona Halep at the Italian Open last week to reach the tournament final while rising to a new career high world ranking - suggesting that she will be a handful at Roland Garros.
Age – 24
World ranking – 5
Best French Open – QF (2010)
The Dane’s French Open form for the past four years has been woeful. She has never rediscovered the touch that got her to number one in 2010, but a final appearance at last year’s US Open suggested she might have turned the corner. Wozniacki struggles against the big names, but if there ever was a time to put that right it is now.
Age – 27
World ranking – 7
Best French Open - Winner (2008)
Since winning her only Grand Slam to date at the French Open in 2008, Ivanovic has never advanced past the fourth round at Roland Garros. But the Serbian remains a crowd favourite in Paris and as a former winner has the proven pedigree that many of her competitors lack.