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Paris Update • 2018 French Open Ladies Tennis Draw Reviewed

Photo by Daisy @10sBalls



Compiled and researched by • Francisco & Daisy & written by Richard Pagliario


Roland Garros rolled out the red carpet and rhythmic reception for Jelena Ostapenko at today’s draw.


Entering the draw ceremony wearing regal blue alongside reigning men’s champion Rafael Nadal, Ostapenko was beaming as a live band seranaded the returning champion with the Stevie Wonder classic “Isn’t She Lovely.”


The former ball room dancer will need to pirouette around potholes and swing through a stacked draw if she’s to sustain her groove in Paris.


Here’s our Top Winners & Losers in the 2018 Roland Garros draw.


Since nothing comes easy on clay, let’s start with the draw duds.


Top Draw Losers

Jelena Ostapenko faces a danger draw with a possible meeting with Victoria Azarenka in the second round followed by a potential fourth-round clash with Venus Williams.


The 20-year-old Latvian blew up the traditional tactical blue-print and blasted her way into history in the 2017 final. In a brilliant display of first-strike tennis, Ostapenko punished 54 winners roaring through 12 of the final 16 games hitting Simona Halep right off the court, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, to capture her first career championship in the Roland Garros final.


Can she show the same fearless shotmaking under pressure as she did fighting back from a set down four different times to rule Paris last year? We’ll find out.


Two-time Grand Slam champions Garbiñe Muguruza and Svetlana Kuznetsova receive a rude Roland Garros welcome squaring off against each other in a blockbuster opener.


The third-ranked Spaniard clearly possesses the flat strikes and power to displace anyone on dirt—she’s beaten Serena Williams twice in Paris—but since Muguruza’s run to the 2016 Roland Garros title, which included a straight-sets sweept of Kuznetsova, she’s only won three titles with none coming on clay.


Muguruza has won five of six meetings with Kuznetsova, but they’ve split two career clay-court clashes. Neither woman has found her footing on dirt this season: Muguruza is 2-3 on clay and Kuznetsova has posted a 3-4 clay-court record after her return from off-season wrist surgery.


Maria Sharapova fans may be binging on Sugarpova to cope with the two-time champion’s unsavory draw that could include 2017 semifinalist Karolina Pliskova in the third round and 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena in the fourth round.


After an inspired run to the Rome semifinals that saw her spike her ranking to No. 29, Sharapova arrives in Paris facing the draw equivalent of a severe sugar crash.


The good news for Sharapova: She earned much-needed match player and showed spirited grit knocking off four Top 40 players—Ashleigh Barty, Dominika Cibulkova, Daria Gavrilova and Ostapenko—and was within a few points of toppling world No. 1 Simona Halep in the semfinals.


The bad news for Sharapova: She could be looking at a grude match rematch with Serena Williams in the round of 16 in what would be their first meeting since Sharapova revealed the root of their rift in her book Unstoppable: My Life So Far, claiming she saw Williams break down in tears following the 2004 Wimbledon and suggesting Williams has never forgiven her for seeing raw vulnerability exposed.


Three-time champion Serena owns an apartment in Paris but didn’t exactly receive the welcome mat at Roland Garros. The tournament opted against seeding the all-time Open Era Grand Slam leader. Williams opens with a possibly tricky test against left-handed Kristyna Pliskova in round one and with a potential meeting with twin sister and WTA ace leader Karolina Pliskova looming later.


The bigger question is can new mom Serena shake off the rust of inactivity and improve on the sluggish movement she showed in Indian Wells and Miami nine months after giving birth.


French Fed Cup hero Kristina Mladenovic will have home fans behind her—and she’ll need them in her opener against Andrea Petkovic.


The artist formerly known as Petkorazzi is 4-0 lifetime vs. Mladenovic, winning both of their clay-court encounters including a three-set win en route to the 2014 French Open semifinals. The 30-year-old Petkovic has dropped to No. 107 and recently played ITF events, however she’s still dangerous and is a former clay-court champion.


If Mladenovic advances, she could face world No. 1 Simona Halep in round three. Two-time quarterfinalist Kaia Kanepi hasn’t played Paris in two years but could provide stiff resistance to 14th-seeded Daria Kasatkina in the first round.


Top Draw Winners

Two-time Rome champion Elina Svitolina should enjoy the view from her perch in the third quarter of the draw.


Svitolina faces Rabat runner-up Ajla Tomljanovic in round one and should, at minimum, match her career-best quarterfinal results from last year.


The question is: Can Svitolina erase the ghosts of her 2017 meltdown when Simona Halep denied a match point in the tie break roaring back to win 11 of the last 12 games stunning Svitolina, 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-0, to surge into her second Roland Garros semifinal in the last three years.


No. 8-seeded Petra Kvitova made an emotional return to Paris last spring after suffering a horrific stabbing attack in a home invasion and could make an extended visit this year.


“With heart, anything is possible,” Kvitova said.


With some hot, dry weather, Kvitova could do damage. The two-time Wimbledon winner resides in the bottom quarter of the draw along with Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki.


Kvitova, who opens against Veronica Cepede Royg, rides an 11-match winning streak into Paris, including back-to-back titles in Prague and Madrid.


The 2012 semifinalist is capable of a deep run.


World No. 1 Simona Halep looked flat falling in the Rome final, but a week of rest and a solid opening week should lift her spirits. The two-time French Open finalist opens against flat-hitting American Alison Riske and is a better mover than potential third-round opponent Kristina Mladenovic.

Photo by Daisy @10sBalls

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