Roland Garros 2018: Five women to watch

Richard Hazeldine Richard Hazeldine

The action gets underway in Paris on Monday with the top tennis talent in the ladies game gathering at Roland Garros for 2018’s second grand slam.

Fox Sports Asia takes a look at five women who have a chance of success.

Garbine Muguruza
A winner here two years ago, the Spaniard most certainly knows how to win at Roland Garros.
Her title defence last year was a disappointment, but she brushed that off by going on to win Wimbledon and a second grand slam title just a month later. Muguruza seems to do better when the pressure is off and that is certainly the case as she arrives in Paris having lost her last two matches. She could use the low expectations to her advantage.

Simona Halep
The world number one has been knocking on the door of a first grand slam title for so long that some wonder if she will ever break her duck. She now has three defeats in three grand slam finals, with two of those in Paris. But her loss in the Australian Open in January was different to the others, Caroline Wozniacki wrestling the title from her grasp rather than Halep throwing it away. The Romanian is in decent form heading into Roland Garros after finishing runner-up in Rome. While there is no question she has the game to win, her biggest battle once again will be the one with herself.

Jelena Ostapenko
A surprise winner last year, Ostapenko became the first ever Latvian and the first unseeded woman to win the title since 1933. She has struggled to recapture the form that took her to the glory since then, but showed glimpses of what she can do in Rome before a quarter-final defeat to a resurgent Maria Sharapova. Her big-hitting, go-for-broke approach to the game has not changed one bit since last year. If it clicks into place in the early rounds then the world number five could be celebrating once again in two weeks time.

Elina Svitolina
The Ukrainian has been in sparkling form for much of this season, capturing her third title of the year in Rome last week with a convincing win over Halep. Add to this her five titles in 2017 and the 23-year old is certainly one of the up-and-coming players on the WTA tour. The only question mark that remains is whether the world number four can bring her A game onto the bigger stages. With two quarter-final appearances in Paris her best grand slam efforts to date, then Roland Garros would appear to be the place for this to happen.

Maria Sharapova
The Russian narrowly beats out the returning Serena Williams as the dark horse pick purely on fitness and form. While the comeback from her doping suspension hasn’t gone entirely as expected for the former world number one and two-time Roland Garros champion, the 31-year old showed signs of getting back to her best at the Italian Open as she made a run to the semi-finals. Victories over the likes of Jelena Ostapenko and Daria Gavrilova in recent weeks, followed by a narrow three-set defeat to Simona Halep in Rome have put her back into the top 30 and show that Sharapova is maybe hitting form at just the right time.