French Open 2017 WTA Main Draw Preview

The French Open 2017 Women’s Singles Draw has been released, and we have delicious match-ups awaiting for us in the second Grand Slam. Let’s take a look at the main draw…

*Preview will be updated after qualifiers have been placed.*

First quarter: Headlined by (1) Angelique Kerber and (15) Petra Kvitova

World No.1 Angelique Kerber is coming into Roland Garros with a dire 2-3 record on the clay. With Wimbledon and the US Open coming soon, the French Open is the only Grand Slam Kerber can gain points to boost up her No.1 ranking. Will that happen? It doesn’t seem easy for the German – she plays Ekaterina Makarova in round 1. Kerber leads the head to head 7-4, but the pair has not played on outdoor clay yet. Kerber then plays Lesia Tsurenko, who pushed the German to three sets in the Australian Open, or a qualifier. Looming in the third round is Monica Puig, who beat her in the Olympics, while Roberta Vinci or Jelena Ostapenko is in the mix for a round three ticket too.

Petra Kvitova has offically anounced she is playing Roland Garros, and her first opponent of 2017 will be Julia Boserup. Samantha Stosur is a potential third round opponent – Petra leads the head to head 7-1. With this first quarter being an uncertainty – Kerber is struggling while Kvitova is playing her first tournament of the year, so who will take advantage of this opening?

Quarter-Finalist: Stosur

Second quarter: Headlined by (8) Svetlana Kuznetsova and (11) Caroline Wozniacki

Svetlana Kuznetsova comes into the French Open as one of the favourites for the title, and her chances seem even better after the draw has been out. Christina McHale is her first round opponent, then in the second round two big hitters in the form of Camila Giorgi and Oceane Dodin, in a must watch encounter. Zhang Shuai, who snagged a seeding in the last second due to Laura Siegemund withdrawing, is Kuznetsova’s projected third round opponent but she has lost her last four matches including a 1-5 record on the dirt. Players like Viktorija Golubic and Aliaksandra Sasnovich can take advantage of the opening.

The second highest seed in this quarter, Caroline Wozniacki, is uncertain to play the French Open having withdrawn from Rome and retired in Strasbourg, but she has a dream draw with a wildcard in her opener, then another wildcard or qualifier in the second. Kiki Bertens may prove to be a challenge for Wozniacki in the round of 32 – she made the quarterfinals of Madrid, semifinals of Rome and now in the semifinals of Nuremburg, but she has to get past Alja Tomljanovic and probably Catherine Bellis in her first two rounds.

Quarter-Finalist: Kuznetsova

Third quarter: Headlined by (4) Garbine Muguruza and (13) Kristina Mladenovic

It’s amazing how the draw has managed to carve out such a difficult draw for defending champion Garbine Muguruza. She plays veteran Francesca Schiavone, who made the final of Rabat and won the Bogota title in recent months. Then Anett Kontaveit, who reached the final of Biel and made the quarterfinals of Rome, or tricky Monica Niculescu is Muguruza’s second opponent. Don’t forget Yulia Putintseva, who can throw in a good performance on any other day, looms in the third round, before a delicious match up in Kiki Mladenovic or Mirjana Lucic-Baroni awaits. Muguruza has to be really sharp in the early stages.

The Mladenovic-Lucic-Baroni section is a brutal one, in which Lucic-Baroni could face Nuremburg semifinalist Shelby Rogers early while home favourite Mladenovic could face another Nuremburg semifinalist, Misaki Doi, in the second round.

Quarter-Finalist: Mladenovic

Fourth quarter: Headlined by (6) Dominika Cibulkova and (10) Venus Williams

Both Dominika Cibulkova and Venus Williams have reasons to exit the tournament early – Cibulkova is just 1-2 on the clay after disappointing losses to Oceane Dodin in Madrid and Ekaterina Makarova in Rome. Venus is obviously known for clay not being her preferred surface, although she made the semifinals of Rome two weeks ago. The American starts off with Chinese player Wang Qiang who has made some solid results on the clay, with Amanda Anisimova or Kurumi Nara awaiting in the second. Aminisova is 19 years old younger than Venus – definitely one match to watch if it happens! Daria Gavrilova, who is another player with a chance to make a deep run in Paris, is her projected third round opponent.

Meanwhile Cibulkova opens against Lara Arruabarrena, a solid player on the dirt but it gets much tougher with Timea Bacsinszky, the No.30 seed a player that definitely has good memories with Roland Garros, reaching the semifinals in 2015. Definitely a match to watch if it happens with Bacsinszky always primed to make upsets.

Quarter-Finalist: Williams

Fifth quarter: Headlined by (5) Elina Svitolina and (12) Madison Keys

Elina Svitolina, recent Rome champion, has definitely one of the most perfect draws out of the top seeds. Starting with Yaroslava Shvedova who retired in Nuremburg and having only won four matches this year, her next opponent would probably be Mona Barthel who has won her last 12 out of 13 matches. Ana Konjuh would be Svitolina’s first seeded opponent if she navigates through her draw.

Madison Keys is the other highest seed in this section, but has struggled this year, only notching three wins this season. The American starts off with Ashleigh Barty, who reached the quarterfinal of Strasbourg this week. The Ukrainian’s biggest threat before the quarterfinals is Anastasija Sevastova, a player good on the surface but definitely workable for Svitolina.

Quarter-Finalist: Svitolina

Sixth quarter: Headlined by (3) Simona Halep and (14) Elena Vesnina

Simona Halep will be wary of her ankle, but maybe not that wary of her draw as it is very workable if her ankle is OK. Jana Cepelova, Duan Ying-Ying and Tatjana Maria are all relatively easy opponents for Simona, then someone who could make some noise, Daria Kasatkina looms in the third but if Halep is at her best no one can stop her. It doesn’t seem like the other seeds in the other half of the quarter, Elena Vesnina and Carla Suarez Navarro can block her path as well, so it could be a repeat of the Rome final against Svitolina. Probably?

Quarter-Finalist: Halep

Seventh quarter: Headlined by (7) Johanna Konta and (9) Agnieszka Radwanska

Johanna Konta is another player who hasn’t made much noise on the clay – her most notable result being a quarterfinal appearance in Rome. She kicks off her campaign against Hsieh Su-Wei and the first seed she could face could be French favourite Caroline Garcia.

The headline player of the other half of this quarter is Agnieszka Radwanska, a player who has relatively struggled on this surface and this season. Injury woes have also ruined the Pole’s season, having withdrew from Madrid and Rome. Can she turn it around in Roland Garros? She starts off against Fiona Ferro – but faces a much tougher test in likely second round opponent Naomi Osaka. Alize Cornet, Timea Babos and No.20 seed Barbora Strycova is also in the mix in this quarter – it promisess to be a one full excitement.

Quarter-Finalist: Osaka

Eighth quarter: Headlined by (2) Karolina Pliskova and (16) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

What do you make of No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova’s draw? It seems to be another exciting quarter, with dangerous Czechs Lucie Safarova and Katerina Siniakova who could come into play – Safarova could face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova early in a potential thriller while Siniakova could meet Pliskova in the second round. Another looming unseeded player in this section is Irina-Camelia Begu – her results on the clay hasn’t been as good as last year, but on this surface, she’s as good as a top 20 player. Another difficult quarter to decide on the winner.

Quarter-Finalist: Safarova

This was a long preview – hope you enjoyed it!

Check out my French Open predictions here

Follow me at @WTA_Fanatics on Twitter here

 

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