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French Open Tips & Preview – Women’s Tournament

Get your tennis tips for women’s section of the 2023 French Open, which seems destined to be won by one of the dominant trio of Swiatek, Sabalenka and Rybakina…or can a bolter come from the clouds?

THE TOP CONTENDERS

Iga Swiatek

The world No.1 and reigning ‘Queen of Clay’ is once again a super-short favourite to win her third French Open title. Swiatek rocketed to prominence as an unseeded teenager by triumphing at Roland Garros without losing a set in 2020, before notching her second slam in similarly convincing style at last year’s French Open and going on to win her first US Open. She’s added further WTA titles in Qatar and Stuttgart in 2023, but losses in high-profile events to some rising big guns have dented her unbeatable reputation. Still undeniably the player to beat, but not quite the slam-dunk pick she was last year when she was accumulating a 37-match winning streak.

Odds: $1.72

Aryna Sabalenka

Belarus’ Sabalenka shelved the serving woes that plagued her in 2022 to power to a maiden grand slam success at the Australian Open in January – and has produced some notable results since. After making it to Indian Wells final and losing to Swiatek in the Stuttgart Open final for the second straight year, the world No.2 rolled Swiatek in the Madrid Masters decider to win that tournament for the second time in three years. Roland Garros hasn’t been a happy hunting ground – she’s never been past the third round at the French Open – but Sabalenka is extremely well-placed to give a huge shake over the next two weeks.

Odds: $7.50

Elena Rybakina

A shock Wimbledon winner last year, Kazakhstan’s Rybakina has continued to make monumental progress in 2023. The 23-year-old beat Swiatek on her way to the Australian Open final, avenged her loss to Sabalenka in that match by defeating her in the Indian Wells final, was runner-up at the Miami Masters and downed Swiatek again before lifting the Rome Masters trophy. Now ranked fourth, Rybakina is in the same of the draw as Swiatek but currently fears no player on the planet.

Odds: $7.50

Barbora Krejcikova

Late-blooming Czech Krejcikova added to the catalogue of relatively unheralded women’s grand slam winners by powering to the 2021 French Open title. She hasn’t managed to back up that sort of some on the slam stage since (though she has won the last four grand slam doubles titles), but taking out her maiden WTA 1000-level title in Dubai earlier this year, beating Swiatek in the final. Krejcikova was beaten in the first round of her title defence at Roland Garros last year and is on a fourth-round collision course with Swiatek, but the 27-year-old is a player few will looking forward to encountering.

Odds: $20

Ons Jabeur

It’s natural to focus on the heartache of Jabeur’s 2022 campaign, but the level of achievement shouldn’t be overlooked. The Tunisian climbed to No.2 in the world and made the Wimbledon and US Open finals – losing to Elena Rybakina after taking out the first set and going down to Swiatek in straight sets, respectively – and won the Madrid and German Opens among four other WTA final appearances. A crafty all-court, all-surface player, Jabeur has been hampered by injuries in 2023 but did win the Charleston Open before retiring early in her Stuttgart semi against Swiatek. A fairly comfortable schedule before a potential Round of 16 date with Petra Kvitova and a quarter-final against Rybakina could allow Jabeur to pick up some momentum.

Odds: $26

BEST AUSSIE CHANCE

Kim Birrell

The only Australian confirmed for the main draw (though Storm Hunter and Jamiee Fourlis are still alive in qualifying), Birrell received an entry to take on fellow wildcard Leolia Jeanjean in the first round, while 12th seed Belinda Bencic likely awaits should she get through to the Round of 64. Birrell, ranked 111th, has not featured on the grand slam stage aside from the Australian Open, while her 2023 results certainly do not hint at a giant-killing run in Paris.

Odds: $501

BEST ROUGHIE

Anhelina Kalinina

Kalinina’s best result in a grand slam was reaching the third round at the Australian Open earlier this year, but a breakout run at the Rome Masters – beating top-20 seeds Madison Keys, Beatriz Haddad Maia and Veronika Kudermetova before retiring in the second set of the final against Rybakina – makes her won to watch at the French Open. Keys, Kudermetova and 2022 runner-up Coco Gauff, her likely third-round opponent, loom in her section, while Swiatek is in her quarter, but Kalinina’s recent momentum is a vital advantage.

Odds: $126

Related

AUS OPEN PREVIEW – WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT

AUS OPEN PREVIEW – MEN’S TOURNAMENT

US Open Preview – Men’s Tournament

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