Serena William's two closest competitors in the WTA rankings, Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova, were last year’s finalists at the French Open and with the World No. 1's record on the Roland Garros clay, the French Open could once again prove to be Serena's biggest challenge.
As Serena continues her march towards history at the Grand Slams, it is interesting to note that she is the overwhelming favorite at almost every event she enters—except for possibly Roland Garros, where she has won only twice. Serena has won the last two Grand Slam events, the U.S. Open in 2014 and the Australian Open in 2015, both played on hard courts. Because the French Open is played on slow red clay, the surface tends to negate her biggest strength—her serve.
Her two closest competitors in the WTA rankings, Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova, were last year’s finalists at the French Open and Serena was upset in the second round in straight sets. With her two closest challengers being very comfortable on the red clay, Roland Garros could once again prove to be Serena's biggest challenge.
Check SI.com's French Open data hub page throughout the whole tournament for the latest data-driven infographics and charts from IBM, the official technology partner for the French Open. IBM captures and analyzes the data that powers all of the Grand Slams, as well as the digital platforms that extend the experience to fans around the world.