Serena Williams begins her quest for a second French Open title against World No.83 Anna Tatishvili.
WTA Staff

PARIS, France - At last year's French Open, Serena Williams suffered one of the biggest shocks in recent Grand Slam history when she slumped to a first round defeat to France's Virginie Razzano.

Fast forward 12 months and not a whole lot has changed. Once again Williams arrives in Paris unbeaten on the clay, and once again she tops many people's list of favorites to lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen.

The unfancied foe greeting her at the opening hurdle this time around is Anna Tatishvili, who, much like Razzano, goes into the match with little to write home about from the first half of the season. In fact, prior to this week, where she picked up a couple of timely wins in Strasbourg, Tatishvili had not won a match since January.

Despite her stellar performances on the clay in recent times - she has won five trophies on the surface in the past two years - Paris has proven to be something of a mental roadblock for Williams. Since winning her sole title, in 2002, the American has made it past the quarterfinal stage on just one occasion, as a mixture of inspired opponents and under-par performances have seen her come a cropper.

Her struggles are all the more surprising given Williams' self-confessed love of all things Parisienne - she has owned an apartment in the city for years, can speak passable French and trains at the Mouratoglou Academy in nearby Yvelines.

However, should she avoid another seismic first round shock, there are relatively few perils lurking until a potential last 16 meeting with either Roberta Vinci or Mouratoglou stablemate Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Also in Williams' half are Agnieszka Radwanska and Sara Errani, who open up against Shahar Peer and Arantxa Rus, respectively.

Friday's draw was not quite so kind to No.2 seed and defending champion Maria Sharapova, who starts against Hsieh Su-Wei, before possible meetings with the in-form Eugenie Bouchard, Zheng Jie and Dominika Cibulkova. Sharapova's quarterfinal is likely to pit her against either Petra Kvitova or former finalist Samantha Stosur.

No.3 seed Victoria Azarenka has been handed a similarly tricky start, kicking off against the talented, if unpredictable, Elena Vesnina. She is seeded to meet 2011 champion Li Na in the quarterfinals.

The main draw at Roland Garros gets underway on Sunday morning, with the singles final scheduled for Saturday, June 8.