If you’re looking for the best in drama during the French Open, it’s on the women’s side of the draw.
Simona Halep fighting off five other players for the No. 1 ranking? Check.
Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka trying to return to Grand Slam prominence? Check.
Former champion Francesca Schiavone qualifying? Check.
Let’s take a closer look:
Top 4 Seeds: (1) Simona Halep, (7) Caroline Garcia, (12) Angie Kerber, (16) Elise Mertens
Floaters: Alison Riske, Mona Barthel, (18) Kiki Bertens, (24) Daria Gavrilova
Notes: A yawner of a section except for (1) Halep starting against the hot-handed upset expert Riske, and (12) Kerber against her German countrywoman Barthel who she has lost to twice…If Halep can clear the early hurdle her draw is relatively easy until the fourth round where she could meet the Australian Open semifinalist (16) Mertens or the (24) Gavrilova…Another 4th rounder could be (7) Garcia vs. (12) Kerber…No qualifiers fell into the top quarter, but three wildcards did.
Top 4 Seeds: (3) Garbine Muguruza, (6) Karolina Pliskova, (11) Julia Goerges, (15) CoCo Vandeweghe
Floaters: Serena Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova, (28) Maria Sharapova, Carina Witthoeft, Sam Stosur, Belina Bencic, Laura Siegemund, Dominika Cibulkova, Kristyna Pliskova
Notes: Now we’re talking. It’s a rarity when the Top 4 seeds in a quarter are eclipsed by lower-seeded and unseeded players. Former No. 1s Serena and Maria, the former No. 2 Kuzy and Slam winner Stosur and Slam finalist Cibulkova will attempt to make a disaster of this section…Openers to watch are (3) Muguruza vs. Kuznetsova (winner to meet the riser Witthoeft), (30) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Stosur 2nd rd., (15) Vandeweghe vs. Siegemund, (11) Goerges vs. Cibulkova, and Serena vs. Kristyna Pliskova…Watch for (6) Pliskova vs. (28) Sharapova 3rd rd., winner to meet Serena.
Top 4 Seeds: (4) Elina Svitolina, (5) Jelena Ostapenko, (9) Venus Williams, (13) Madison Keys
Floaters: Victoria Azarenka, Yulia Putintseva, (Q) Francesca Schiavone
Notes: The defending champion (5) Ostapenko faces Azarenka 2nd rd., and (22) Konta vs. Putintseva…Unless Venus or Osaka catch fire, this will be a (4) Svitolina vs. (5) Ostapenko quarterfinal.
Top 4 Seeds: (2) Caroline Wozniacki, (8) Petra Kvitova, (10) Sloane Stephens, (14) Daria Kasatkina
Floaters: Sara Errani
Notes: Some very heavy hitters in a boring section with few floaters…(32) Alize Cornet starts against the former runner-up Errani…(8) Kvitova could reach the quarters but tough for (2) Wozniacki who has to produce her own pace on clay.
Ostapenko beat Halep from a set down in last year’s final.
Former champions in the field are Ostapenko (2017), Muguruza (2016), Serena Williams (2015,’13,’02), Sharapova (2014,’12), and Schiavone (2010).
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