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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday May 27, 2021

 
Roland-Garros

Double the pleasure! There will be two defending champs on the women's side at Roland-Garros this year.

Photo Source: AP

The Roland-Garros women’s singles draw was released with minimal fanfare in Paris on Thursday. The tournament held it behind close doors and only media members who were on site in Paris were able to view it live. But the electric matchups it created didn’t take long to send waves of excitement through social media.

Tennis Express

Here are five takeaways from the women’s singles draw.

Swiatek and Barty, both defending titles, in top half

Ash Barty didn’t defend her Roland Garros title in 2020 due to coronavirus, but the Aussie is back to join 2020 champion Iga Swiatek in a unique to half of the draw that will feature two clay gurus riding seven-match Roland Garros winning streaks. Wouldn’t it be neat if both players stretched their streaks in Paris to 12 and met in the semis? It is one of the possible permutations in the top half, but Swiatek will have it a bit rough to get there.

The Pole is looking at a potential round of 16 match with Garbiñe Muguruza, if the seeds hold.

Barty, meanwhile, could face Ons Jabeur in the third round and Coco Gauff n the round of 16—her quarter also features Jennifer Brady, Karolina Pliskova and Karolina Muchova. Not so simple either.


What is Serena’s Draw?

So what's up with Serena and her quest for 24? The 23-time Grand Slam champion (three at RG) has a few winnable matches before her quarter really heats up. Will that give her time to find the groove in Paris, or is a deep run at Roland-Garros simply too much to ask for the 39-year-old?

Serena’s potential path to the semis looks like this (if seeds hold):

R1: Begu
R2: Rus or Buzarnescu
R3: Kerber (or maybe Collins)
R16: Kvitova or Rybakina
QF: Sabalenka or Azarenka
SF: (let’s not go there yet)

Osaka and Andreescu headline wide open quarter

If Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu were in the same quarter of a hard court Slam draw, we’d be penciling them in to meet in the last eight, but at Roland-Garros it’s a different story. Strong yet silent Osaka has not yet proven that she can win on clay, and she has played just three matches on the surface in 2021 (losing two). Andreescu looks like the more promising player on the surface, but can she stay healthy so that she can actually get some matches under her belt? As it stands now the Canadian has played just three clay-court matches in her career. The good news? She’s undefeated!

If Andreescu and Osaka can’t make their seeds stand up, the door will be open for a group of players that features, Kiki Bertens, Veronika Kudermetova, Marketa Vondrousova, Amanda Anisimova and Daria Kasatkina.

Tough to predict, but it should be exciting.

Muguruza’s draw is tough!

The Spaniard, a 2016 Roland-Garros champ, will face Marta Kostyuk in the first round. Next up (potentially) the tricky Sara Sorribes Tormo, and in the third round a possible date with former quarterfinalist Petra Martic. All that just to get to a round of 16 encounter with the defending champion Iga Swiatek.

Carla’s Back!

How lovely is it to see Carla Suarez Navarro’s name back in a Roland-Garros draw. The Spaniard, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last year, has now been given a clean bill of health. She plans to finish her career with a bang in 2021, playing Roland-Garros, Wimbledon, hopefully the Olympics and potentially the US Open before calling it.

Suarez Navarro won’t have it easy in Paris, however. She’ll open with 2018 runner-up Sloane Stephens in the first round. The two-time quarterfinalist could face Karolina Pliskova next if she advances.

 

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