7 different winners in 7 years at Roland Garros, will it be and 8th or will a recent winner etch they name in history once more?

Predicting who will lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen has proved to be one of the most difficult tasks in women’s tennis.

Over the last seven years there have been seven different winners at Roland Garros, only three players since 2005 have won on three separate occasions: Justine Henin, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams, so will someone join the multiple winners club or are we set for eight in eight?

Winners over the last seven years include:

2014 – Maria Sharapova (7th seed)
2015 – Serena Williams (top seed)
2016 – Garbine Muguruza (4th seed)
2017 – Jelena Ostapenko (47th in the world)
2018 – Simona Halep (top seed)
2019 – Ash Barty (8th seed)
2020 – Iga Swiatek (54th in the world)

Based on what has happened during the clay court season, who knows?

Is it Naomi’s time?

I can’t see it happening at all, Naomi has a career win/loss on clay of 19/15 and 1/1 this year and has never made it past round three in Paris.

I haven’t seen anything in Rome or Madrid which makes me think she will ‘crack the clay’ this year. In all honesty, I don’t think there has been an ideal preparation for the second major of the year.

Winning the Australian Open was her fourth consecutive year winning a major but is it going to be another year without making a move on the clay and it can even be a question to potentially be recycled ahead of Wimbledon.

Naomi lost to Karolina Muchova and Jessica Pegula in Madrid and Rome respectively, there will be some unseeded players to avoid in the early rounds but I will be surprised if we see Naomi in the final eight or further, I would love to see it but I can’t based on what we’ve seen so far.

Should Simona forget the clay and shift recovery focus to Wimbledon?

Simona Halep will be a defending champion at Wimbledon in just over 7 weeks’ time but injury in Rome has put her not only her title chances but participation at risk.

The world number two has a small calf tear and it could take 7 days to 4 weeks to recover depending on the seriousness of it.

I will be stunned if Simona Halep goes to Paris, I just don’t think there is enough time to get up to scratch, I think the face that some fellow top players are struggling at the moment might spur her on but I wouldn’t want to see her cause the injury further problems.

From what I saw in Stuttgart and Madrid I did think she played ok, I do feel with Halep she plays herself into tournaments. The exit in Stuttgart was a tough one to take but was out-powered by Sabalenka, Halep lost 3-6 2-6 but actually didn’t play badly.

Madrid is one of those that got away, up a set and a break and then a break in the third set and lost in three sets to Elise Mertens. It is easy to forget as we are in May but Halep has only played in six tournaments this year so building momentum has been difficult.

Is Ash Barty the favourite, even with her Rome retirement?

Yes, that’s it.

Rome retirement I hope is just a precaution. I cannot imagine for a moment that Ash and her team would have considered playing if this was a big problem.

No one however has played better than Ash throughout the clay court season. She did slip up in Charleston but won the singles and doubles in Stuttgart, runner-up in Madrid and withdrew from a set and 2-1 up against Coco Gauff in the final eight of Rome.

Due to travel restrictions the Aussie didn’t travel to Paris last year to defend her title so will be heading back with the hopes of winning once more. I think and hope she’ll do it!

Could Aryna Sabalenka, the first player ranked inside the top 5 of the WTA rankings without making the final eight of a major make an impact in Paris?

Aryna Sabalenka has also been in good form, the Belarusian was a delight to watch in Stuttgart where she was runner-up and in Madrid where she dug deep from a set up on Ash Barty to win her first WTA 1000 on clay!

The 23 year old is the first player to be ranked in the top five without having made the final eight of a major but she definitely has it in her.

In full flow the Belarusian is exceptional to watch, she can bulldoze players off the court, she can also bulldoze herself off the court. 

Because of the powerful style of tennis she plays it can work out well or it can look messy and that frustration and tightness in her game can be costly. 

I do think Aryna can challenge but I’m not sure she will win it.

Could Svitolina or Pliskova break their Grand Slam duck?

For a while I did think it was a matter of when and not if. Right now I think it will be a matter of if and not when for Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova.

For the third year running the Czech has made the final in Rome (winning it in 2019) but in the last three years has won five matches in Paris not making it past the third round.

I just don’t see it, I would like to but I think there are too many obstacles in her way to make this happen! Karolina hasn’t got a top ten win since January 2020 and still hasn’t beaten a top 10 ranked opponent at a Grand Slam since she beat Serena Williams at the 2016 US Open. Based on what happened in the recent Rome final I can’t see it happening!

A very similar story for Svitolina, on her day she is impressive but it would take something big to win in Paris. She has had opportunities in the past but squandered them, when it gets to those big stages it just hasn’t happened for her.

Incredibly, Svitolina’s only win over a fellow top 10 ranked player came at the 2019 US Open when she defeated Madison Keys in the fourth round. 

Is a first Roland Garros title since 2015 on the cards for Serena?

I would love to see Serena win her 24th title at Roland Garros. Rome was not ideal for the American but having seen other top players fault lately I think it was the right and smart move to add Palma to her schedule, will it pay off though?

I hope so, I think she had to play more. Serena did play well in Rome but a lack of match rhythm cost her in the end.

I always say the same, with Serena in the draw she has a chance, rule her out at your peril!

Will Iga Świątek become the first woman to defend her Roland Garros title since 2007?

I don’t see why not, I’ve watched Iga in Rome, she has played well and with a confidence. 

I suppose it is the age old question, how does a player cope with being the defending champion and having pressure on them? 

We saw how brutal she was in Rome, I would be worried if I faced Iga!

Other title contenders?

Who are the other title contenders in Paris?

Bianca Andreescu

The Canadian hasn’t played since Miami and pulled out of Palma, I think she could play in Paris but I don’t see a challenge happening.

Sofia Kenin

Out of form at the moment, it is a shame to see a lack of confidence in her game right now. Winless on clay in three matches and has won just 2 of her last 8 matches on the tour, I hope she finds form soon!

Garbine Muguruza

Four words, don’t rule her out. My only concern is about the thigh injury which forced her out of Madrid, is this a big problem and she didn’t look at it against Svitolina in Rome.

Who do I think will win?

It is a tough one, I do think outside of the names mentioned above to be wary of a few players especially Karolina Muchova, I would like to see the Czech go on a good run!

My pick though is an easy one, I’m going with Ash Barty the early rounds will be a test for those above but I think Ash is in the best position right now even with this arm problem to come through it. 

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