French Open 2015: Experts' picks for the women's draw
The tennis experts of Sportskeeda look ahead at the 2015 French Open by making picks for the women’s draw in four categories: dark horse, early exit, dangerous floater, and champion.
Adnan Akhtar: Angelique Kerber started the clay court season with back to back titles in Charleston and Stuttgart. Despite defeats in Madrid and Rome, I believe the southpaw can replicate her form from the 2012 season and cause a few upsets on her way to the business end of the tournament.
Ball N Racquet: Among the many former champions who dot the draw, Svetlana Kuznetsova seems to be the most formidable, With a final finish in Madrid, she seems to be in good form. She is likely to face upcoming Karolina Pliskova in the third round, a match which could play a crucial in deciding her progress.
Jai Prakash: A finalist at Madrid, Svetlana Kuznetsova is getting into top form ahead of Roland Garros. The 2009 champion took out her compatriot Maria Sharapova in straight sets in the semifinals at Madrid and with a favorable draw in Paris, she could go deep in the tournament.
Roh: Angelique Kerber is a dark horse for this year’s French Open. The German did well to win in Stuttgart and though she wasn’t able to continue with the momentum at Madrid, the French Open could see yet another turnaround – for good – from her.
Adnan Akhtar: Following her quarterfinal appearance in Melbourne, Eugenie Bouchard has had a low-key year so far which included a six match losing streak. With several early round exits on clay this season, the Canadian could be headed home early from the French Open.
Ball N Racquet: Eugenie Bouchard had a fairytale run last year with superb performances at the Grand Slams. This year, she has failed to live upto that level. She will face an in-form Kristina Mladenovic in the first round. Adding to her woes will be the presence of many tricky players like Svetlana Kuznetsova and Karolina Pliskova in her quarter.
Jai Prakash: The 2014 semifinalist here, Andrea Petkovic's road to Roland Garros this year has been a bumpy one. The No. 10 seed retired in the first round of the Nuremburg Cup with a thigh injury. The 27-year-old also missed Madrid Open due to illness. The German will find it extremely tough to repeat her last year’s performance.
Roh: Given her side of the draw and her inconsistencies, 15th seed Venus Williams looks to be a player who will make an early exit from the tournament.
Adnan Akhtar: Kristina Mladenovic would be my choice for the dangerous floater at this year’s French Open. She had defeated Li Na at last year’s French Open and is heading into this year’s tournament after a final appearance in Strasbourg. With an opening round clash against out of form Eugenie Bouchard, the French woman could progress deep in to the draw at Roland Garros.
Ball N Racquet: The definite pick in for this category in the women's section is 21 year old Daria Gavrilova. After her good runs at Miami and Rome, where she upset many higher ranked players, players will try to avoid a match against her. Her potential second round opponent is Sabine Lisicki while she can face Lucie Safarova, and Maria Sharapova in the subsequent rounds.
Jai Prakash: After a breakthrough 2014, Belinda Bencic is keen on improving her performance this year. A favorable draw in Paris might just be the thing that the Swiss teenager needed to progress well into the second week at Roland Garros.
Roh: Daria Gavrilova has been touted as a promising player. Her game inspires such belief and the French Open is a perfect opportunity for her to try and boost her rankings and presence.
Adnan Akhtar: Picking a champion from the women’s circuit has always been a tough task. Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova proved her mettle on clay with a win in Madrid while defending champion Maria Sharapova lifted the title in Rome to boost her chances at Roland Garros. Serena Williams has looked edgy on clay this season and may not go all the way in Paris. However, the player that I feel can win the title this year is Simona Halep. The Romanian has had a decent outing on clay with semifinal appearances in Rome and Stuttgart. Barring the odd upset, she has looked in good touch on clay and would want to go a step further from her performance at last year’s French Open.
Ball N Racquet: Maria Sharapova seems to be the favourite to win this title for a third time in her career. In fine form after her Rome triumph, she is once again in a familiar territory. Her main hurdle is an injured Serena Williams, whose path to the finals is dotted with tricky potential matchups against Victoria Azarenka, Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Petra Kvitova, who have managed wins over her in the recent years unlike Sharapova. Ironically, it could be someone but one of these formidable opponents who would stop her progress, as has been the case in many recent grand slams.
Jai Prakash: Despite a tough draw in front of her, Serena Williams will defy odds yet again to win her third French Open title. The World No. 1 is well rested after withdrawing from Rome and will be tough to stop once she gets into the groove in Paris.
Roh: Maria Sharapova may have the momentum with her, but when Serena Williams’ around, the favouritism – despite everything else – gets tilted in her favour. The American’s bidding to win her 20th grand slam, and she is focused enough to get it done, at the end of the fortnight.