In a clay court season that has been wide open, we head now to Roland Garros for the 2018 French Open with a wide open field of contenders for the title, looking to knock defending champion Jeļena Ostapenko, who won her first career title here last year against Simona Halep, off her perch!
In addition to this, six players (Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki, Garbiñe Muguruza, Elina Svitolina, Karolína Plíšková and Caroline Garcia) are in contention to either retain or gain the world No.1 ranking by the end of the championship.
So, who will win at Roland Garros in 2018? Let’s have a look at the women’s singles draw!
Section One contains last year’s finalist and the No.1 seed Simona Halep, and given her consistent form, quarter-finals in Stuttgart and Madrid, as well as making the final in Rome, she is certainly the one to beat in this section, and will most likely meet either Daria Gavrilova or Elise Mertens in the fourth round.
My predicted fourth round match-up: (1) Simona Halep vs. (24) Daria Gavrilova
Caroline Garcia has been arguably the most consistent player during the clay-court season, making the semi-finals in both Stuttgart and Madrid, as well as the quarter-finals in Rome, and should make it through to the fourth round for a likely meeting with Angelique Kerber, despite Kerber going out of the opening round at Roland Garros the last two years!
My predicted fourth round match-up: (12) Angelique Kerber vs. (7) Caroline Garcia
Garbiñe Muguruza has struggled for form during the clay-court season (two wins from four matches), but I can’t see anyone stopping her from making the fourth round where she will likely meet CoCo Vandeweghe, who made the final in Stuttgart, and is capable of doing some damage if she gets on a roll!
My predicted fourth round match-up: (3) Garbiñe Muguruza vs. (15) CoCo Vandeweghe
This is a really interesting section with 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams returning to play her first grand slam after the birth of her first child, five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova continuing her redemption story from a drugs suspension, and with other standout players in Karolína Plíšková, Ashleigh Barty, and Julia Görges.
Both Sharapova and Plíšková should meet in the third round in what will be a blockbuster match-up, and while I respect her record, I don’t think Williams is in good shape at the moment, and I think either Barty or Görges will meet either Sharapova or Plíšková in the fourth round.
My predicted fourth round match-up: (17) Ashleigh Barty vs. (28) Maria Sharapova
The defending champion Jeļena Ostapenko is in this section of the draw, and after making the quarter-finals in Stuttgart and Rome, looks like a strong tip to go through to the fourth round after a difficult second round match against two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka.
Johanna Konta is also in this section of the draw, along with seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, with the winner of their third round encounter to meet the defending champion in the round of 16.
My predicted fourth round match-up: (5) Jeļena Ostapenko vs. (9) Venus Williams
After making the quarter-finals in Stuttgart and winning in Rome, Elina Svitolina is a strong chance of going deep at Roland Garros, and will likely meet either Madison Keys, who won two matches in Rome, or Naomi Osaka, who won a match in Rome, in the fourth round.
My predicted fourth round match-up: (13) Madison Keys vs. (4) Elina Svitolina
Petra Kvitová has been in strong form during the clay-court season, winning in Prague and Madrid, and while she isn’t renowned for being strong on clay, making the semi-finals at Roland Garros just once (2012), you sense she has the right draw to go deep here, and will likely face last year’s US Open champion Sloane Stephens, or Anastasija Sevastova in the round of 16.
My predicted fourth round match-up: (8) Petra Kvitová vs. (10) Sloane Stephens
The 2018 Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki is the strongest player in the final section of the draw, and despite some underwhelming performances during the clay-court season, with best results being quarter-finals in Istanbul and Rome, I think she can go deep at Roland Garros, where she has made the quarter-finals twice (2010, 2017).
Wozniacki will likely meet either Russian youngster Daria Kasatkina, or Spanish veteran Carla Suárez Navarro, who both made the quarter-finals in Madrid.
My predicted fourth round match-up: (14) Daria Kasatkina vs. (2) Caroline Wozniacki
My predicted quarter-final match-ups
(1) Simona Halep vs. (7) Caroline Garcia
(3) Garbiñe Muguruza vs. (28) Maria Sharapova
(5) Jeļena Ostapenko vs. (4) Elina Svitolina
(8) Petra Kvitová vs. (2) Caroline Wozniacki
My predicted semi-final match-ups
(1) Simona Halep vs. (28) Maria Sharapova
(4) Elina Svitolina vs. (2) Caroline Wozniacki
My predicted final match-ups
(1) Simona Halep vs. (4) Elina Svitolina
My predicted 2018 Roland Garros champion
(1) Simona Halep