Who will win Roland Garros?

Over the last 9 Grand Slam tournaments there have been 6 different winners on the ladies tour; Serena Williams, Angie Kerber, Garbine Muguruza, Sloane Stephens, Jelena Ostapenko and Caroline Wozniacki. The ladies game is so open at the moment which is fantastic so let’s have a look at who could be there?

Simona Halep 💪🏻

The world number one has a lot of pressure on her shoulders. She has been playing some good tennis over the last few weeks but the real pressure will come in the second week as it will increase match by match but staying in the moment is vital for the Romanian.

Caroline Wozniacki 😕

The world number two has not been in great form for a while. Her clay court season has been sat at 2 wins and 1 loss for every tournament she plays. She usually does get to grips with Roland Garros quickly and adjusts but that consistency in matches can just disappear at times. Watching Caro win the Australian Open was a beautiful moment for her and tennis but I don’t see her pushing for this one.

Garbine Muguruza 🤨

I don’t really know what to expect from Garbine. I said in a piece not long ago she can turn up with little momentum and still do well. Even in her defeat against Gavrilova in Rome a week ago she hit her ground strokes well just her game plan seemed confused. Contender? I think so but she needs to start matches good!

Elina Svitolina 😎

Watch out for Elina. Her game is looking solid right now. She seems composed and confident and her wins against Kasatkina, Kontaveit, Kerber and Halep have put her in a contenders bracket for Roland Garros. She doesn’t have that big Grand Slam experience but it will only come with performances on the big stage. I think she will be one to watch out for. Her attitude and commitment in her match against Halep was exceptional.

Jelena Ostapenko ☹️

Defending champion. Do I think Jelena will defend her title? No.

I don’t really see what Jelena has done since winning the title to convince me that she will replicate that. Her attitude has been a problem in matches and she just seems contempt with this game style which is a bit hit and miss!

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Karolina Pliskova 🧐

You wouldn’t usually put Pliskova’s game down as a clay court game but her form on clay since the beginning of last year has been very good. Pliskova plays a style of tennis which on its day is difficult to stop. She does move better now but I think there are better players on clay but I wouldn’t rule her out going far here.

Petra Kvitova 🏆

Form player this year. I’ve always enjoyed watching Petra but it has emotion and feeling attached after her horror attack. The issue with Petra is consistency and sometimes there is those random performances where things just go wrong. Since making the semi-final of Roland Garros in 2012 she hasn’t been back in the second week. Surely this is her year?

Angie Kerber 🤩

Don’t count Angie out, she turns up at the big stage and her game suits all surfaces and this year she has built up her ranking once again especially after a write off 2017 season. Seeded at 12 she could face a tricky draw and likely to face a top player in an early round.

Maria Sharapova 🏅

I don’t think Maria will win Roland Garros but I think she will provide a challenge especially following her run in Rome where she played her best tennis since returning over a year ago. The experience and stubborn style of tennis will be tough and if you are going to beat Sharapova you will have to bring you’re A game if she plays as she did in Rome.

Vika Azarenka 😎

Vika is on route around the world now with her son however she was quickly knocked out by Osaka in Rome. Vika has a presence which is so infectious and the crowd gets behind her. I hope Vika puts on a good performance and should be looking at the second week.

Serena Williams 👑

Where else do I end? Serena is playing her first major since giving birth. Since returning to the tour in March a plan and programme has been put in place to work on things that need improving and as her coach Patrick says she plays to win. Just the fact of playing Serena Williams can be a daunting prospect.

Who takes it? I don’t know, what I do know is it will be a fortnight full of stories, surprises, emotion and at the end achampion!

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Roland Garros bound Simona Halep must forget Rome thrashing!

Going into Sunday’s final against Elina Svitolina you would have said Halep was playing her best tennis since Melbourne however the final was not what we expected.

The world number one was flat and lifeless with all respect. The first set which she lost was over within 19 minutes and it looked like the semifinal against Sharapova had taken it out of her.

That win was big, her first over the Russian on clay and of course Sharapova defeated her in the final of Roland Garros back in 2014 so it had some meaning.

If I were Simona I’d just let it go, there is no point in looking back. People will speak about it during Roland Garros but it’s just noise and disrespectful! Let’s talk about the positives!

Her game against Sharapova was top drawer and even in the 6-0 6-4 defeat she suffered to Elina in Rome she fought so hard in set two.

She went down 3-1 quick and it was almost 5-2 as well but she made the 4th seed work for it. At 3-1 she could have lay down her tools and it could have been over in less than quarter of an hour but that fight needs to be recognised and appreciated.

So forget the defeat, of course they will pick up on things from the week to improve as there should never be a week where you are happy with how you play as when you’re happy it becomes sloppy.

Tests will follow for Halep, she’s passed many but now forget Rome and head off to Roland Garros!

Halep must look forward after Roland Garros defeat!

Simona Halep had her best fortnight of tennis for three years. For the second time in her career the Romanian fought to a Roland Garros final but fell short despite being in a greater position this time around leading by a set and a break but must move on quickly as she can’t afford to look back.

Halep is a player who plays with her a heart on her sleeve which I like to see from a player to show that emotion but it can also become a bad thing as you can quickly become your own worst enemy.

Earlier on in the year Halep around Australia and Indian Wells Halep wasn’t playing well and you could see tensions from he ron court and showed a lot of emotion to her coach but before Madrid she spoke about how it’s behind her and how she is focusing more on court and in Madrid when she won the title she looked sharp.

Unfortunately in Rome it fell short for her after a bad ankle roll and for the first few matches at Roland Garros I was watching and thinking to myself don’t get carried away as she is carrying this injury but throughout the whole fortnight she was professional and composed and even in defeat she stood there like a champion and one day her day will come.

Many players on the tour have made finals and won titles but struggled to find that motivation and confidence and there has been a struggle but she can do it and with the tour so open at the moment opportunity will knock again soon but you cannot look backwards otherwise success may be hard to find.

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Next up for Halep will be Wimbledon, the Romanian doesn’t usually play a warm-up event and after a long few weeks on the clay the rest might do her some good as she looks for her first major title.

Ruthless Halep wins in style once again!

Former French Open finalist Simona Halep was wasting no time early this morning as she took under an hour to see of top 20 and very tricky opponent in Carla Suarez Navarro winning 6-1 6-1 and continues to impress as the tournament goes on.

Coming into Roland Garros she had injury issues which were affecting her movement but as the week has gone on she continues to impress and was ruthless early this morning not giving away anything on route to her win.

When I think about Simona’s game being on point the backhand and forehand are her main weapons but what makes her tick is the foot work and if she is moving well she is a tough nut to crack and that is visible by the still below.

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The even think about attempting this shot from this position is just mad but this is Halep at her best and the pressure will continue to be ramped up over the coming days as she is now labelled the favourite and by producing shots like this will keep her as favourite!

 

Who will win Roland Garros? I’ve narrowed it down to 9…

Roland Garros is in full swing, the weather has been good, the tennis has been amazing but we are still nowhere near to knowing who will win the year’s second major but who are the contenders?

Elina Svitolina

Svitolina seems to be one of the favourites and that is a lot of pressure to take. She has never been in a final before but has two Premier Mandatory titles to her name this year and is top of the table in the Road to Singapore. The Ukrainian isn’t a player who will let her feet come off the ground and get carried away she will take it match by match and we’ve seen a lot happen so far this week so don’t rule anything out…

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Karolina Pliskova

I don’t think it will be too long before Karolina wins a major but I don’t see it happening in France. I’d love to be proven wrong but I believe there are better clay court players in her last match I didn’t get the game plan as the tournament goes on and you come up against better players chances will need to be taken.

Simona Halep

Injury was a concern after falling in Rome but the Romanian looks fit and so far has been very impressive in her first couple of matches, she seems to be more focused and less frustrated on the court these last few weeks and has her feet on the ground, she has been a former finalist before amazingly three years ago now!

Other contenders…

Venus…

20 years at Roland Garros but never a champion however at the age of 37 nothing looks like stopping her anytime soon!

Kuznetsova…

A former champion back in 2009, Kuznetsova has found some exceptional tennis over the last year and could she etch her name on that trophy once more?

Muguruza…

Last year’s winner who admitted it was the best and worst thing that happened to hear. Her year went down hill after, expectations and pressure got too much and on court confrontations with her coach have been the talking point this year but if the backhand is firing she is a contender.

Wozniacki…

Still searching for that first major, she is back around the top ten but I wouldn’t say she has gotten out of third gear this year it’s been good but not great and it is something she will need to find if she is going to win in Paris, she was in an unforgiving mood against Abanda winning 6-0 6-0 but I wouldn’t write her off.

Radwanska…

With respect, you kind of forget she is playing here in Paris. Since winning the WTA Finals in 2015 it hasn’t happened and I said a while ago tennis moved on and it felt like she stood still and now has a long way to climb. She has eased her way through so far but no top 10 wins this year and just 4 in 19 months it would take something special.

The field is wide open but picking a winner is incredibly tough. Out of the ones above I fancy Svitolina to go far and will be interested in a Svitolina v Halep quarter final but also don’t rule out Mladenovic!

Forehand firing as Halep crushes Cepelova in Paris

After picking up an injury just over a week ago in Rome participation at Roland Garros was in the balance and after being drawn against Jana Cepelova in round one who defeated Halep at Wimbledon a couple of years ago it looked like being a difficult start for the Romanian but it was anything but!

With a few top players missing and early defeats for Konta and Kerber the draw has opened up and the opportunity is there for a first time winner with Halep and Svitolina top of that list.

Halep’s game has come together at the right time especially after a difficult period at Indian Wells but since she has stepped onto the clay court she has played 15 matches on the clay winning 13 and picking up her second title in a row at Madrid.

It was nice to see Halep in full flow yesterday evening she was strong coming forward, her movement at the back of the court and coming forward was exceptional, the backhand gave her safe but effective options but the main point was the forehand.

A lot of Halep’s game does come down to the forehand and it was in full flow against Cepelova and if she can keep it up we are set for an exciting fortnight in Paris.

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This still just shows the forehand in full flow from Halep, the feet are off the ground putting all the power she has behind it but the strike on the ball and the contact she gets with the bottom third of the racket flattens the ball out sending the winner cross-court as she closed out the first set.

Contender?

Most definitely!