The third Grand Slam of the revised WTA season will begin on Sunday, September 27th, as some of the biggest stars of the sport converge onto Roland Garros for the French Open.
Although much of the mainstream media will be focused on Serena Williams’ quest to make history by winning her 24th career Grand Slam title, there are numerous other storylines to satiate tennis fans and bettors like Simona Halep’s return to action, Garbine Muguruza’s clay court form, and the rise of Jennifer Brady.
Serena Williams ??? Garbine Muguruza ? Simona Halep ?
Is one of these women headed for a reunion with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in two weeks' time?
Simona Halep is the overall betting favorite, but she has a tough road ahead of her with numerous ranked competitors waiting along the way.
Simona Halep (+250)
The #2 ranked WTA player is the top seed for this year’s French Open as the defending champ Ashleigh Barty will not play in the Grand Slam due to COVID-19.
Halep has had most of her career Grand Slam success at the French Open which she won in 2018. She also has three trips to the Finals, three Semifinal appearances, and four Quarterfinal appearances including last year.
In 2020, Halep lost in the Semifinals of the Australian Open. Following the AO, Halep won at Dubai. She then didn’t return to action until after the sport’s hiatus where she won at Prague.
But, her best performance came at Rome where she defeated Muguruza and Pliskova on her way to the tournament victory.
If Halep carries her form from Rome into the French Open, she’s going to be very tough to beat.
Kiki Bertens (+2500)
The 8th ranked Bertens is the other top seed in this Quarter. She could end up facing Svetlana Kuznetsova in the 3rd round before possibly seeing Coco Gauff or Johanna Konta.
Bertens is 12-8 at the French Open with her best performance coming in 2016 when she made it to the Semifinals. Since then, she hasn’t made it past the 3rd round.
This year, Bertens hasn’t fared well other than winning at St. Petersburg in February. Other than that tournament, she hasn’t made it past the Round of 16. Bertens was bounced out at Rome in the Round of 32, which was her first match of the tournament.
I have a hard time seeing Bertens making it past the 4th round in this Quarter.
Cori Gauff (+4000)
Cori “Coco” Gauff has the tall task of taking on Johanna Konta in the first round. If she survives then she could end up seeing Sakkari before facing Bertens or Kuznetsova.
Goff has never made it past the Qualifying round at Roland Garros. This will be her first official time playing in the French Open.
Ranked 51st in the world, the 16 year old American’s best performance this year was at Lexington where she lost to Brady in the Semifinals. She was bounced in the 1st round of the US Open and the 4th round of the Australian Open in 2020.
Who Wins Quarter 1?
In addition to the three names above, this Quarter also has Svetlana Kuznetsova, Maria Sakkari, and last year’s French Open runner up Marketa Vondrousova. With that said, this Draw looks great for Halep who has steamrolled the field in her last two tournaments.
I believe it’s safe to pencil in Halep into the Semifinals.
Quarter 1 Winner: Simona Halep
Quarter 2 Preview: Can Serena Advance to Semis?
Serena Williams begins her quest for history by trying to cruise through Quarter 2. Can anyone knock Williams out before the Quarterfinals?
Serena Williams (+1000)
All eyes will be on the 9th ranked Serena Williams to see if she can tie the all-time mark of 24 career Grand Slam wins. Williams is a three time French Open winner, but hasn’t made it to the Finals since 2016. In fact, she hasn’t made it past the 4th Round the last two years.
The 2020 season hasn’t been great for Williams either. Her best performance came in the US Open where she lost in three sets to Victoria Azarenka in the Semifinals who finished runner up to Osaka.
This won’t be an easy Quarter for Serena as she could end up facing her sister in the 4th round, but that’s not before having to face Azarenka in the 2nd round.
Elina Svitolina (+1600)
Technically, the 5th ranked Elina Svitolina is the top seed in Quarter 2. She will have an easy path until a possible matchup against Mertens in the 4th Round. If she gets past Mertens then a QF matchup against Williams could be on the horizon.
Svitolina has never made it past the Quarterfinals of the French Open and she has zero Grand Slam title victories.
In 2020, Elina does have one tournament win coming at Monterrey, Mexico. Yet, she’s had very subpar performances in her other appearances including getting smashed by Vondrousova at Rome this month.
Who Wins Quarter 2?
I believe this Quarter will come down to Williams, Svitolina and Victoria Azarenka. Mertens has a small chance at upsetting Svitolina, but the Ukrainian is 3-1 all-time against Mertens. If Williams can get past Azarenka then she will face Svitolina for a spot in the Semifinals.
Williams is 5-1 all-time against Svitolina including 3-0 in Grand Slams and 1-0 in the French Open. I see Williams beating Svitolina provided she doesn’t lose before this matchup.
Quarter 2 Winner: Serena Williams
Quarter 3 Preview: Tough Draw for Top Seeds
Kenin and Sabalenka are the top seeds in this Quarter, but it’s all about Brady and Muguruza as these two competitors are trendy picks to challenge for a spot in the Semifinals:
Sofia Kenin (+5000)
Sofia Kenin is the 6th ranked player in the WTA and the top seed for this Quarter. The 21 year old American has won two tournaments this year including the Australian Open. She made it to the Round of 16 at the US Open.
At the French Open, Kenin is 3-2 all-time and made it to the 4th Round last year. She has a tough Draw this year and I have a hard time thinking she will survive this Quarter.
Aryna Sabalenka (+4000)
The 12th ranked Sabalenka is the second top seed in this Quarter and has had a shaky 2020 so far. The highlight of the year for Aryna was winning at Qatar. Yet, she’s had subpar performances in most of her other tournament appearances.
Sabalenka has never even made it to the Quarterfinals of a Grand Slam. At the French Open, she’s never made it past the 2nd Round. Her ceiling is a 4th round matchup against Brady or Muguruza.
Jennifer Brady (+5000)
Brady might be ranked 25th in the world, but she’s showing flashes of a Top 10 player. 2020 has been Brady’s best year as a pro as she’s won at Lexington and lost in the Semifinals of Dubai and the US Open. Her run at the US Open has some pundits thinking she can do that again in the French Open.
Unfortunately, Brady has never made it past the 2nd Round at the French Open and has a 2-3 record at Roland Garros.
Brady has a 3rd Round matchup against Muguruza, which will have a huge impact on this Quarter.
Garbine Muguruza (+650)
The 15th ranked Muguruza is a two time Grand Slam winner as she won the 2016 French Open and the 2017 Wimbledon. She’s 27-6 at Roland Garros, which is her best record for any of the Grand Slams.
Muguruza has had an up and down 2020 so far. She lost in the Finals of the Australian Open to Kenin and was bounced out of the US Open in the 2nd Round.
For 6 straight years, Garbine Muguruza has made the R16 or better at Roland Garros – and the 2016 champion looks like she's back to her best
However, she turned things around at Rome as she took Simona Halep to three sets in the Semifinals before losing.
That’s a good sign that Muguruza’s clay court form is on point and I expect her to play well in this Quarter.
Who Wins Quarter 3?
I see Kenin and Sabalenka being in trouble here. Neither are good clay court players. I believe the winner of this Quarter will be the victor of the matchup between Muguruza and Brady. Jennifer Brady is 1-0 against Muguruza having beat her in three sets at Dubai.
However, Brady’s clay court play is inferior compared to Muguruza. I expect the 2016 French Open winner to plow through this field and win the Quarter. Garbine appears to be on point with her clay court play as she had a strong showing at Rome.
Quarter 3 Winner: Garbine Muguruza
Quarter 4 Preview: Can Pliskova Win on Clay?
This quarter is all about Karolina Pliskova and her chances of winning on a big stage. She will have plenty of obstacles in her way if she wants to come out the winner of this Quarter.
Karolina Pliskova (+2200)
The 4th ranked Pliskova is the top seed of this Quarter, but she will have a tough path to the Semifinals as there are some strong clay court opponents possibly standing in her way.
Pliskova won at Brisbane by beating Madison Keys, who’s also in this Quarter. However, she couldn’t make it past the 3rd round of either Grand Slam this year. Pliskova has plenty of talent, but she has yet to turn that into Grand Slam wins.
At the French Open, Pliskova is 11-8 with her best performance coming in 2017 when she made it to the Semifinals. Since then, she’s been bounced in the 3rd Round the last two years.
Madison Keys (+4000)
The 16th ranked Keys is a sleeper pick for the French Open. Although she’s never won a Grand Slam, Keys made it to the Semifinals in 2018 and the Quarterfinals last year. She has a 16-7 record at Roland Garros.
Keys lost in the Finals at Brisbane this January, but has failed to make it to the Quarterfinals of another tournament in 2020. She will have a few easy matchups in the first two rounds before running into Kerber in the 3rd Round.
Angelique Kerber (+5000)
As mentioned, Kerber’s first real challenge will be against Keys in the 3rd Round. If she can get past Madison then she could see Kvitova in the 4th Round. However, Kerber will need to get past the 1st Round to prove she’s capable of making a run. Last year, Kerber was upset in her opening match.
The three time Grand Slam winner is ranked 22nd in the world, but hasn’t even made it to the Quarterfinals of a tournament this year. She has the experience and the game to win this Quarter, but Kerber needs to recapture her form from 2018 in order to have success at Roland Garros this year.
Who Wins Quarter 4?
In addition to these three competitors, the 11th ranked Petra Kvitova and Sloane Stephens are also in this Draw. Pliskova could face Stephens in the 3rd Round while Kvitova could face Keys or Kerber in the 4th Round.
Until Pliskova actually wins a Grand Slam, I can no longer pick her to win. I’m not even sure she will get past Stephens in the 3rd Round. In all likelihood, the winner of this Quarter comes down to Kerber versus Keys unless Stephens shows great clay court form.
In head to head play, Kerber has a 9-2 record against Keys. They’ve never played against each other in the French Open before. When looking at their performances this year, in addition to their recent appearances at the French Open, I have to go with Keys to beat Kerber and win this Quarter.
Quarter 4 Winner: Madison Keys
French Open Semifinals Predictions
The following are my predicted French Open Semifinal matchups:
Top Half: Simona Halep vs Serena Williams
I believe Halep will make it to the Semifinals, but I’m not 100% confident that Williams will. There is a chance that someone like Victoria Azarenka could end up winning Quarter 2.
With that said, I like Halep to win this Semifinal matchup. Williams is 9-2 all-time against Halep, but the last time they played was the 2019 Wimbledon Finals and Simona won 6-2, 6-2.
Top Half Semifinal Winner: Simona Halep
Bottom Half: Garbine Muguruza vs Madison Keys
Muguruza’s performance in Rome has me feeling good about picking her to not only win Quarter 3, but to also win this Semifinal match. Although she’s 3-4 against Keys all-time, Garbine is the better overall player between the two especially on the clay courts.
Bottom Half Semifinal Winner: Garbine Muguruza
Who Will Win the 2020 Women’s French Open?
My French Open Finals matchup is Simona Halep taking on Garbine Muguruza. These two stars have played against each other twice this year already. Muguruza defeated Halep in the Semifinals of the Australian Open, but Halep got revenge in the Semifinals of Rome.
One more match! Simona closes in on that elusive Rome title with big win over Garbine Muguruza in the semis. pic.twitter.com/o79okRov8z
Although Muguruza has a 4-3 record against Halep all-time, Simona’s form and level of play has been fantastic since returning from hiatus. These two had a great battle on the clay courts of Rome, which means that Halep should have the edge at the French Open.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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