With how wide-open the WTA is right now, we could definitely be in for some surprises in Paris over the next fortnight. Simona Halep opens as the comfortable $5 favourite to retain her Roland Garros title, while Kiki Bertens is the next best option at $8. Naomi Osaka at $11 and Serena Williams at $15 both deserve recognition, while Aussie Ash Barty isn’t far off the pace at $17. Let’s take a look at the top contenders on the women’s side of the draw.
Simona Halep $5
Without a clear #1 contender, the reigning French Open champion has emerged as the favourite for this year’s tournament. Her clay court season has been a mixed bag so far, making the Final of the Madrid Open before losing in the first round of the Italian Open last week. Despite possessing all the talent in the world, her consistency continues to be somewhat of an issue. That said, a new coach in tow might be just the fresh start she needs to claim her 2nd grand slam crown.
Kiki Bertens $8
Such is the state of the women’s game right now that Kiki Bertens is the 2nd favourite for a grand slam title. She is admittedly in some strong recent form, winning the Madrid Open and narrowly losing in the Semis in Rome. While clay is clearly her best surface, her grand slam results have been relatively abysmal. Only once has she advanced to the 2nd week of Roland Garros, sporting an 11-7 all-time record.
Naomi Osaka $11
Having won both of the last 2 WTA grand slams, Osaka is a strong contender that can’t be ruled out here. She made the Quarters of the Madrid Open a fortnight ago, before retiring against Bertens in Rome last week. With her powerful serve being her strongest weapon, her game is unfortunately restricted on clay. Nevertheless, in a very wide-open draw, she looks very much odds on for her best Roland Garros finish.
Serena Williams $15
Even at almost 38 years of age, Serena still stands out as the primary threat on the WTA tour. Serena has an unprecedented 23 grand slam titles and has enjoyed strong success in Paris before. She has barely played on clay at all this season, winning her first round at Rome before retiring against sister Venus. Even so, a fresh Serena is still the best player on tour and $15 represents some solid value.
Ash Barty $17
The best Aussie hope on either side of the draw is definitely young gun Ash Barty. She did a solid job in her 2 clay court tournaments this season, coming away with a combined 4-2 record. She showed her pedigree at the Australian Open earlier this year, making the Quarter Finals before falling to eventual finalist Petra Kvitova. Clay certainly isn’t Barty’s best surface, although she certainly has the talent to beat anyone on tour.
Best Bet: Halep $5
From looking at the above options, I believe Halep is definitely the most likely winner here. Her game is very well-suited to clay and she’s proven that she can win at this tournament in high stakes moments. She should be at her absolute peak right now and her strong return game should prove especially effective here. Serena looks like a decent roughie at $15 but Halep is still definitely the best bet.