2018 Roland Garros WTA: Main Draw Preview

The second Grand Slam of the 2018 WTA season commences this Sunday as the tennis world heads to Paris with 128 women competing for their rights to come out tops as 2018 Roland Garros champion. The women’s singles draw has been released and as expected, it’s a cracker. Read on for the tournament preview…

Main Draw

Player profiles

First quarter – Projected QF: [1] Halep vs [7] Garcia

[1] Simona Halep (No.1)

Image result for halep french open 2017 zimbio

Tournaments played during clay swing:

Stuttgart, QF (i. Vandeweghe)

Madrid, QF (i. Ka.Pliskova)

Rome, F (i. Svitolina)

Player profile: While Simona has chucked in a couple of strange performances over this clay swing, she is definitely still one of the top contenders for the title in Roland Garros – stat of the day: in her last nine tournaments on the clay, Halep has made it to the quarterfinal stage or better in all of them. Halep’s one of the best on the clay though and even with the disappointing losses and bad record in finals, she is still a contender for the title here.

Draw projections: 1R: Alison Riske

2R: Taylor Townsend

3R: [29] Kristina Mladenovic

4R: [16] Elise Mertens

Roland Garros win-loss record: 17-8 (2014, 2017 F)

[7] Caroline Garcia (No.7)

Image result for garcia french open 2017 zimbio

Tournaments played during clay swing:

Charleston, 3R (i. Cornet)

Stuttgart, SF (i. Vandeweghe)

Madrid, SF (i. Bertens)

Rome, QF (i. Halep)

Player profile: As a home favourite and quarterfinalist here last year, Garcia is kind of a dark horse coming into this tournament. After failing to live up to expectations during the first three months of the year but a comeback to clay has seen her reverse her season around, reaching two semifinals in Stuttgart and Madrid, and the quarterfinals in Rome. However, her last two defeats has been a little crushing, losing to Kiki Bertens 2-6 2-6, and to Halep 2-6 3-6. I watched the match against Bertens and Garcia was just helpless against the Dutch’s heavy hitting and defensive skills. Not sure what to expect from Garcia coming into her home Slam.

Draw projections: 1R: Duan Ying-Ying

2R: Aleksandra Krunic

3R: [27] Zhang Shuai or Irina-Camelia Begu

4R: [12] Angelique Kerber or [18] Kiki Bertens

Roland Garros win-loss record: 7-7 (2017 QF)

[12] Angelique Kerber (No.12)

Image result for kerber roland garros 2017 zimbio

Tournaments played during clay swing:

Stuttgart, 2R (ret. to Kontaveit)

Rome, QF (i. Svitolina)

Player profile: Kerber hasn’t played much tennis on the clay this year but a quarterfinal run in Rome was encouraging. Kerber beat a couple of clay court specialists in Irina-Camelia Begu and Maria Sakkari, before falling to nemesis Svitolina. It is well known that Angie does not like to play on this surface but if she’s able to stay healthy over the fortnight after suffering from injuries in Stuttgart, her passion and fight might bring her to a deep run on the Paris clay.

Draw projections: 1R: Mona Barthel

2R: Ana Bogdan or Marketa Vondrousova

3R: [27] Kiki Bertens or Aryna Sabalenka

4R: [7] Caroline Garcia or [27] Zhang Shuai or Irina-Camelia Begu

Roland Garros win-loss record: 13-10 (2012 QF)

[16] Elise Mertens (No.16)

Image result for mertens roland garros 2017 zimbio

Tournaments played during clay swing:

Lugano, Champion (d. Sabalenka)

Rabat, Champion (d. Tomljanovic)

Madrid, 2R (i. Halep)

Player profile: Mertens is proving to be one of the best at beating players she is supposed to beat as she claimed International titles in Lugano and Rabat, and with that she managed to seal the valuable 16th seed for RG. I’m picking Mertens as one of the dark horse picks for the tournament – even though clay is supposedly her least favourite surface, her movement is so good on it.

Draw projections: 1R: Varvara Lepchenko

2R: Oceane Dodin or Heather Watson

3R: [24] Daria Gavrilova or Sorana Cirstea

4R: [1] Simona Halep

Roland Garros win-loss record: 2-1 (2017 3R)

[18] Kiki Bertens (No.18)

Image result for bertens french open 2017

Tournaments played during clay swing:

Charleston, Champion (d. Goerges)

Stuttgart, 1R (i. Ka.Pliskova)

Madrid, Final (i. Kvitova)

Rome, 1R (i. Sakkari)

Nurnberg, QF (currently in progress)

Player profile: Bertens always rises into prominence during the clay swing and once again, she’s done it in 2018. Bertens claimed her fifth WTA singles title in Charleston and reached her first Premier Mandatory final in Madrid, losing a tight three-setter to Petra Kvitova. Bertens is a completely different player on clay than on other surfaces and must be feeling very confident right now.

Draw projections: 1R: Aryna Sabalenka

2R: Aliaksandra Sasnovich or Denise Allertova

3R: [12] Angelique Kerber or Mona Barthel

4R: [7] Caroline Garcia or [27] Zhang Shuai or Irina-Camelia Begu

Roland Garros win-loss record: 9-6 (2016 SF)

Second quarter – Projected QF: [3] Muguruza vs [6] Ka.Pliskova

[3] Garbine Muguruza (No.3)

Image result for muguruza french open 2017 zimbio

Tournaments played during clay swing:

Stuttgart, 2R (ret. to Pavlyuchenkova)

Madrid, 3R (i. Kasatkina)

Rome, 2R (i. Gavrilova)

Player profile: Muguruza’s clay court swing really has been very bad so far. In three tournaments, she has only been able to notch two wins. In Rome she was unable to convert on match point and fell to Daria Gavrilova 7-5 2-6 6-7(8), in a performance where she committed over 60 unforced errors. It’s been a tough season for Muguruza but the dirt is obviously a place she excels on, most notably winning her maiden Grand Slam title at the French Open in 2016. You never know which Muguruza is going to appear this fortnight, but she always seems to save her best tennis for the Slams…

Draw projections: 1R: Svetlana Kuznetsova

2R: Carina Witthoeft

3R: [30] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova or Samantha Stosur

4R: [15] CoCo Vandeweghe or Laura Siegemund

Roland Garros win-loss record: 19-4 (2016 champion)

[6] Karolina Pliskova (No.6)

Image result for pliskova french open 2017 zimbio

Tournaments played during clay swing:

Stuttgart, Champion (d. Vandeweghe)

Madrid, SF (i. Kvitova)

Rome, 2R (i. Sakkari)

Player profile: Before this clay swing, no one would probably expect Pliskova to make much noise on the dirt after her well documented struggles on this surface. However, everything has turned around and Pliskova should be one of the contenders for this year’s French Open. Her improved serve and movement on the clay helped Pliskova to the title in Stuttgart and a semifinal run in Madrid, beating World No.1 Halep. The conditions in Paris though is not like Stuttgart and Madrid – it’s slower and heavier which is not ideal for the hard-hitters like Karolina. Anything can happen on WTA though as we saw a week ago when Pliskova had an epic racket smash 😏

Draw projections: 1R: Qualifier

2R: Lucie Safarova or [WC] Jessika Ponchet

3R: [28] Maria Sharapova

4R: [11] Julia Goerges or Dominika Cibulkova or Serena Williams

Roland Garros win-loss record: 7-6 (2017 SF)

[11] Julia Goerges (No.11)

Image result for goerges roland garros 2017 zimbio

Tournaments played during clay swing:

Charleston, Final (i. Bertens)

Stuttgart, 1R (i. Goerges)

Madrid, 3R (i. Garcia)

Nurnberg, 1R (i. Kr.Pliskova)

Player profile: Everyone was talking about Goerges before the Australian Open and some were even labelling her as a dark horse for AO. However, after suffering a shock loss to Alize Cornet in the second round, her level has dropped a little. Other than the outlier in Charleston where she reached the final there, Goerges’ performances have been largely disappointing. Goerges is another player who fails to perform at Slams – her best result in RG was a fourth round appearance at 2015. Her horrendous draw definitely is not going to her cause to finally breakthrough in the majors.

Draw projections: 1R: Dominika Cibulkova

2R: Alison Van Uytvanck

3R: [17] Ashleigh Barty or Serena Williams

4R: [6] Karolina Pliskova or [28] Maria Sharapova

Roland Garros win-loss record: 10-9 (2015 4R)

[28] Maria Sharapova (No.28)

Image result for sharapova french open 2015 zimbio

Tournaments played during clay swing:

Stuttgart, 1R (i. Garcia)

Madrid, QF (i. Bertens)

Rome, SF (i. Halep)

Player profile: Sharapova has found back her form after a tough start to 2018 – a coach change by hiring back Thomas Hogstedt has been a great decision for Maria so far. Maria impressed with deep runs in Madrid and Rome, and her losses on clay have all been to quality opposition. The two-time champion will be playing in Roland Garros for the first time since 2015.

Draw projections: 1R: Qualifier

2R: Donna Vekic

3R: [6] Karolina Pliskova

4R: [11] Julia Goerges or Dominika Cibulkova or Serena Williams(!)

Roland Garros win-loss record: 53-11 (2012, 2014 champion)

Serena Williams (No.453)

Image result for serena williams french open 2016 zimbio

Tournaments played during clay swing: Did not play

Player profile: We know Serena will not come back unless she’s feeling ready and fit, and a fully fit and motivated Serena, even with no matches under her belt, can tear through any kind of draw. Serena has only played two tournaments this year in Indian Wells (i. Venus) and Miami (i. Osaka) so this will be her first match on the dirt. It’ll be interesting to see how her game has improved from Indian Wells-Miami.

Draw projections: 1R: Kristyna Pliskova

2R: [17] Ashleigh Barty or Natalia Vikhlyantseva

3R: [11] Julia Goerges or Dominika Cibulkova

4R: [6] Karolina Pliskova or [28] Maria Sharapova(!)

Roland Garros win-loss record: 60-12 (2002, 2013, 2015 champion)

Third quarter – Projected QF: [4] Svitolina vs [5] Ostapenko

[4] Elina Svitolina (No.4)

Image result for svitolina french open 2017 zimbio

Tournaments played during clay swing:

Stuttgart, QF (i. Garcia)

Madrid, 3R (i. Suarez Navarro)

Rome, Champion (d. Halep)

Player profile: Svitolina managed to defend her title in Rome with three convincing wins over three tough opponents in Angelique Kerber, Anett Kontaveit and Halep. Svitolina has impressed me with her mental toughness and increased aggression in the crucial moments and she’s one of my top contenders for the title. The only worries is her inability to pass the quarterfinal stage in Grand Slams and when she meets a power player, she will start to back off and let her opponent dictate play. I’m devastated for Svitolina because she’s drawn a ton of hard-hitters in her section. It’s going to be tough…

Draw projections: 1R: Alja Tomljanovic

2R: Viktoria Kuzmova or Qualifier

3R: [31] Mihaela Buzarnescu or Hsieh Su-Wei

4R: [13] Madison Keys or [21] Naomi Osaka

Roland Garros win-loss record: 13-5 (2015, 2017 QF)

[5] Jelena Ostapenko (No.5)

Image result for ostapenko french open 2017 zimbio

Tournaments played during clay swing:

Stuttgart, QF (i. Ka.Pliskova)

Madrid, 1R (i. Begu)

Rome, QF (i. Sharapova)

Player profile: Defending champions in Slams will probably feel a ton of pressure coming back to defend those points and live up to the hype and expectations, but if there’s anyone who doesn’t feel any fear, it’s 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko. Ostapenko has not been in her best form this year but has impressed with a semifinal run in Stuttgart and a quarterfinal appearance in Rome – that match against Sharapova was epic. The draw has been kind for Ostapenko and it’s pretty manageable for her to reach the second week.

Draw projections: 1R: Kateryna Kozlova

2R: Victoria Azarenka or Katerina Siniakova

3R: [26] Barbora Strycova

4R: [9] Venus Williams or [22] Johanna Konta

Roland Garros win-loss record: 7-1 (2017 champion)

[9] Venus Williams (No.9)

Image result for venus williams roland garros 2017 zimbio

Tournaments played during clay swing:

Madrid, 1R (i. Kontaveit)

Rome, 3R (i. Kontaveit)

Player profile: I don’t understand why Venus doesn’t skip the clay swing because Roland Garros has been by far Venus’ worst Slam. Her recent results on clay suggest that a deep run is unlikely too, with both her Madrid and Rome runs ending in losses to Anett Kontaveit. Venus is one of the best at peaking out of nowhere for the Slams though…

Draw projections: 1R: Wang Qiang

2R: Petra Martic

3R: [22] Johanna Konta or Yulia Putintseva

4R: [5] Jelena Ostapenko

Roland Garros win-loss record: 48-20 (2002 F)

[13] Madison Keys (No.13)

Image result for keys roland garros 2017 zimbio

Tournaments played during clay swing:

Charleston, SF (i. Bertens)

Stuttgart, 1R (i. Pavlyuchenkova)

Madrid, 1R (i. Sorribes Tormo)

Rome, 3R (WD)

Player profile: The clay court swing so far has not been kind for Keys as she split with her coach after a horribly error-riddled loss to Sara Sorribes Tormo in Madrid.  The next week, injuries struck her once again as she withdrew from the Rome tournament with a rib injury last week. Hopefully the recovery’s going well but even without the injury problems, I don’t see Keys progressing far in this tournament with her issues on this surface.

Draw projections: 1R: Sachia Vickery

2R: Qualfier

3R: [21] Naomi Osaka

4R: [4] Elina Svitolina or [31] Mihaela Buzarnescu

Roland Garros win-loss record: 7-5 (2016 4R)

Victoria Azarenka (No.82)

Image result for azarenka french open 2016 zimbio

Tournaments played during clay swing:

Madrid, 2R (i. Ka.Pliskova)

Rome, 1R (i. Osaka)

Player profile: Azarenka hasn’t been able to bring her US spring swing form to the European clay as she only notched one win on the dirt against Krunic, and fell in the early rounds in both Madrid and Rome. Azarenka has never been able to pass the quarterfinal stage in Roland Garros and the draw is against her with a possible meeting against Ostapenko in the second round.

Draw projections: 1R: Katerina Siniakova

2R: [5] Jelena Ostapenko

3R: [26] Barbora Strycova

4R: [9] Venus Williams or [22] Johanna Konta

Roland Garros win-loss record: 21-10 (2013 SF)

Fourth quarter – Projected QF: [8] Kvitova vs [2] Wozniacki

[2] Caroline Wozniacki (No.2)

Image result for wozniacki french open 2017 zimbio

Tournaments played during clay swing:

Istanbul, QF (ret. to Parmentier)

Madrid, 3R (i. Bertens)

Rome, QF (i. Kontaveit)

Player profile: Even though Wozniacki won her maiden Grand Slam title at the Aussie Open this year, I feel like her tennis last year has been way more impressive than the level she has produced this year. After failing to back up her AO run during the rest of the hard court tournaments, Wozniacki continued to disappoint as she has yet to make it past the quarterfinals in her next three events on the clay. The way she lost in her past two events makes it even more worrying as she suffered crushing defeats to Kiki Bertens (2-6 2-6) and Anett Kontaveit (3-6 1-6). Wozniacki has never been able to switch her fortunes around on this surface – will 2018 RG be the place she is able to do so?

Draw projections: 1R: Danielle Collins

2R: Timea Bacsinszky or Qualifier

3R: [32} Alize Cornet or Sara Errani or Pauline Parmentier

4R: [14] Daria Kasatkina or [21] Carla Suarez Navarro

Roland Garros win-loss record: 18-10 (2010, 2017 QF)

[8] Petra Kvitova (No.8)

Image result for kvitova french open 2017 zimbio

Tournaments played during clay swing:

Charleston, 2R (i. Kr.Pliskova)

Stuttgart, 1R (i. Kerber)

Prague, Champion (d. Buzarnescu)

Madrid, Champion (d. Bertens)

Player profile: Kvitova is a complete toss-up on clay – she’s only made it past the fourth round once in her career in Roland Garros. We know though that she can do well on this surface, as shown a couple of weeks ago where she stormed through the Madrid draw to claim her third crown in Spain. However, Paris clay is much slower than Madrid and this will definitely affect Petra hard’s hitting. Kontaveit is a possible 3R opponent for Petra and I’m really hoping we’re getting that one.

Draw projections: 1R: Veronica Cepede Royg

2R: Lara Arruabarrena or Timea Babos

3R: [25] Anett Kontaveit

4R: [10] Sloane Stephens or [20] Anastasija Sevastova

Roland Garros win-loss record: 21-9 (2012 SF)

[10] Sloane Stephens (No.10)

Image result for stephens roland garros 2017 zimbio

Tournaments played during clay swing:

Stuttgart, 1R (i. Vandeweghe)

Madrid, 3R (i. Ka.Pliskova)

Rome, 3R (i. Garcia)

Nurnberg, 1R (i. Putintseva)

Player profile: What should I say about Sloane… it’s been a complete mix bag for her over the past five months – there’s been the good, the bad and a few days ago an extreme low after losing to Yulia Putintseva in three sets in Nurnberg. I didn’t watch that match and I don’t know how she played but losing to a horribly low-in-confidence Putintseva is just… Stephens seems to be unable to bring her game to other events outside of the US but this is a good draw for the American to find some form.

Draw projections: 1R: Qualifier

2R: Ekaterina Alexandrova or Qualifier

3R: [20] Anastasija Sevastova or Camila Giorgi

4R: [8] Petra Kvitova or [25] Anett Kontaveit

Roland Garros win-loss record: 14-6 (2012-2015 4R)

[14] Daria Kasatkina (No.14)

Image result for kasatkina roland garros 2017 zimbio

Tournaments played during clay swing:

Charleston, QF (i. Goerges)

Stuttgart, 1R (i. Rybarikova)

Prague, 1R (i. Paolini)

Madrid, QF (i. Kvitova)

Rome, 3R (i. Svitolina)

Player profile: Kasatkina hasn’t really been able to play her best tennis since reaching the Indian Wells final (which is totally understandable) but there’s been a few encouraging performances of late, most notably beating Muguruza in Madrid. To be honest, I was expecting Kasatkina’s name to be more prominent during the clay swing given how much she loves playing on this surface – maybe she’ll make a Slam breakthrough in RG? It’s a decent draw for Daria and if the draw does give way for her, it’s certainly possible.

Draw projections: 1R: Kaia Kanepi

2R: Tatjana Maria or Kirsten Flipkens

3R: [21] Carla Suarez Navarro

4R: [2] Caroline Wozniacki or [31] Alize Cornet

Roland Garros win-loss record: 4-2 (2016-2017 3R)

Roland Garros thoughts

As expected, it’s going to be a completely open Roland Garros tournament. My final pick is insane…

Roland Garros Prediction: Maria Sharapova d. Jelena Ostapenko

Ignore this prediction please. Thanks

Thanks for reading! Roland Garros predictions can be found here!


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