The most prestigious clay court tournament, the French Open (also called Roland Garros), will be underway next week. Who are the favorites to lift the title at the end of the week? Will it be Simona Halep, who is the defending champion? Or the current World No. 1, Naomi Osaka, who is going for her third consecutive Major title? Or will it be a new champion who has never won a Major title before?
Here are the top five favourites on the women’s side of the tournament.
French Open favorites
#5 Serena Williams
You can simply never count out Serena Williams when she is in the draw in any tournament. Injury has plagued her 2019 season, as she has retired in three of the four tournaments she has played. If she is fully healthy when the tournament starts, she is definitely a dark horse.
Can she win the tournament at the end of the fortnight? Unlikely. But she has won 23 Major titles for a reason, so it is hard to fully rule out her chances.
#4 Petra Kvitova
Kvitova has struggled to have Major success at Roland Garros for a long time. Since reaching the semifinals back in 2012, the Czech’s best result has been the fourth round in 2015.
However, Kvitova has had a stellar season and could use the positive momentum to make it deep here in Paris. A big question mark is whether her calf is still troubling her, as she retired midway through her match in Rome last week because of it.
#3 Karolina Pliskova
Having captured her biggest title on clay in Rome last week, she is a dark horse in the draw. A lot of Pliskova’s success on clay has to be given credit to her coach, Conchita Martinez, who helped Garbine Muguruza win the French Open in 2016.
Historically, a deep run in Rome is a potential sign of success in Paris. If Pliskova can continue the form she has been in, there is a real possibility of winning her first Major title.
#2 Kiki Bertens
A year ago, no one would have predicted Bertens to be a top contender for the French Open title in 2019. But she is having the best season of her career and recently achieved a career-high ranking of four in the world. She has just won Madrid, the biggest title of her career, and had a good tournament in Rome.
A semifinalist in Paris back in 2016, she is playing even better than in 2016, so a deep run this year is certainly possible.
#1 Simona Halep
The defending champion, Simona Halep, has yet to win a title in 2019 and has been inconsistent throughout the season. On clay this year, she reached the final in Madrid and lost her first match in Rome. Even though she is not the “heavy favorite” to lift the trophy at the end of the week, the Romanian has reached the final here in Paris in the past two years so is arguably still the main woman to beat.
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What about the other side of the draw? We also look at the Top 5 men’s favorites.