SI.com's Jon Wertheim breaks down the women's seeds at the 2015 French Open. Read on for the dark horses, top first-round matchups and predictions, and find the men's seed report here.
1. Serena Williams
Coming off a second round loss in Paris last year. In fact, she’s been beyond the second round only once since 2010. (That was 2013 when she won.) Still, she is Serena Williams. Watch for that Azarenka match in round three.
2. Maria Sharapova
Strange year so far for the defending champ. But her record in recent years shrieks for itself. Coming of a Rome title, she is in form. And Serena is far away in the draw. A real shot at title No. 3—and a tough potential first rounder in Kaia Kanepi.
3. Simona Halep
She’s come a long way in two years, and now carries herself with a businesslike I-fully-intend-to-win demeanor. Not a great spring, but a top-line contender.
4. Petra Kvitova
Kvitova was in top form in Madrid, beating Serena en route to winning the title. Other times this year she’s looked borderline indifferent. The game is there; but does she have the fortitude to fight through seven matches on clay? We’ll shrug and pick her to win. Side note: as long as she is in the coaching game, THIS is the player who should be working with Martina Navratilova.
5. Caroline Wozniacki
Her movement-based game translates well to clay. And she’s generally played well over the past ten months. Pity for her, she’s in Serena’s quarter.
6. Genie Bouchard
Giving new zest to the term sophomore slump, Bouchard should be pleased simply to win a few matches—much less return to the semifinals. That said, her draw is most kind.
7. Ana Ivanovic
Has she healed from January’s broken toe? A former champ in Paris but that was (gulp) seven years ago.
8. Carla Suarez Navarro
Stylish players reached the second week in 2014 and her clay results this year suggest another deep run. The Iberian Henin, CSN has a real chance here—provided she’s recuperated from a grueling Rome event.
9. Ekaterina Makarova
She moves well, but her flat ball is not ideal for clay. Won't face a top 100 opponent until round three.
10. Andrea Petkovic
The People’s Choice—and her track record on clay has some peaks, including a semifinal run in 2014.
11. Angelique Kerber
Lefty can garnish a terrific clay court season with a strong showing in Paris.
12. Karolina Pliskova
Watch her play if you haven't already. A star in the making. And she has a real shot at the quarters.
13. Lucie Safarova
The prototype dangerous floater. Can beat anyone—and also lose to anyone—on a given day.
14. Agnieszka Radwanska
A brutal year thus far. With the exception of Bouchard, there are few players in greater need of a strong event.
15. Venus Williams
First, good for her for getting back to this level. Even if she beats Stephens in round one, she’s unlikely to make much noise on clay—especially with her sister lurking. But Wimbledon is coming next….
16. Madison Keys
Coming off a semifinal in Australia. She’s gradually figuring out clay. But a tough first rounder against veteran Lepchenko.
Former champ gets automatic mention.
A star-in-the-making who already won a clay title in 2015 (Marrakech).
She hasn't built on her 2014 French breakthrough as one might have hoped. But still young and still dangerous.
Cooled off a bit, but—in her second career, she’s playing the best tennis of her life.
Best days are behind her, but still capable of grinding out wins.
Absolutely perplexing player. But she is a former finalist.
You’re a multiple Slam winner, you deserve mention. Working her way back slowly.
Easy player to root for and she tends to play well at majors. But an unremarkable clay court season.
Extra value is what you get, when you watch Cornet. A lot of drama here.
Perhaps the best player you've never seen. Or….
Perhaps the best player you've never seen.
Dark Horse Stable:
Camila Giorgi: Up and down player but a sleek mover with deceptive power.
Christina McHale: Nice clay court resurgence for the American.
Sloane Stephens: The bigger the event, the more engaged she tends to be. Tough first rounder against Venus.
Lucie Hradecka: A doubles specialist no more, she is playing terrific tennis in 2015.
Oceane Dodin: Remember the name.
First round matches to watch:
Venus v. Sloane Stephens: Shame to see them meet so early.
Garcia v. Donna Vekic: Could be a match of top-tenners in a few years.
Bencic v. Hantuchova: When this ends 9-7 in the third set, you saw it here first.
Shvedova d. Ivanovic
Serena v. Kvitova
Halep v. Sharapova
Kvitova d. Sharapova