Five different women have been crowned French Open champion in as many years. There hasn’t been a dominant female figure on the clay courts of Roland Garros like Rafael Nadal in the men’s singles draw.
An open feel to the French Open leaves plenty of excitement building in Paris for the second Grand Slam of the year. Who are the leading ladies and contenders for Roland Garros this year?
Romania’s best current sporting export Simona Halep has reached the French Open final three times in her career and last year finally landed a maiden Slam in Paris. She remains one of the most consistent players on the WTA Tour which seems to have a lot more variety of winners on it than the men’s equivalent.
It used to be that such high standards were something Halep just couldn’t quite reproduce at the business end of majors, but she has come on for defeats to Maria Sharapova and Jelena Ostapenko – plus an Australian Open final loss to Caroline Wozniacki.
According to Paddy Power’s French Open betting on the women’s singles, Halep is the early 4/1 favourite to retain her Roland Garros crown. Given she has also won multiple WTA Tour titles on clay, that status is arguably justified.
Dual Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has never gone beyond the semis at Roland Garros, but did reach the Australian Open final for the first time earlier this year. The Czech Republic representative looks sure to maintain her lofty position in the WTA world rankings alongside Halep.
Kvitova is a three-time winner of the Madrid Open, so it’s not as though clay doesn’t suit her game and style of tennis. Winning at Roland Garros, meanwhile, would complete a comeback from career-threatening injuries suffered when her Prostejov apartment was robbed back in December 2016.
While Kvitova has won WTA Tour titles since that horrific incident, she hasn’t tasted Grand Slam success this side of the damage done to her hand. A fairytale win for the Czech cannot be ruled out though, as she’s 10/1 second-favorite for the French Open this year – putting her just ahead of three-time winner Serena Williams.
Japanese tennis ace Naomi Osaka has won the last two Grand Slam titles on offer – doubling up at the US Open last year and the Australian Open earlier in this season. The 21-year-old needs to her game on clay after those hard court successes.
With youth on her side, Osaka is only going to get even better and, on that basis, must rate a very serious danger to more established players on the women’s tour. A player from the Far East has enjoyed French Open glory before with China’s Li Na winning in 2011.
Osaka’s back-to-back Slam successes suggest she is no flash in the pan and here to stay. At 14/1 to win the French Open, she is the same price as 2016 Roland Garros champion Garbine Muguruza and last year’s beaten finalist Sloane Stephens.
WILL SIMONA SMILE AGAIN?
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