PARIS, France - The draw for the year’s second Grand Slam is out, and there are exciting early clashes and storylines unfolding at the 2018 French Open.
World No.1 Simona Halep and No.2 Caroline Wozniacki anchor the draw, but how did defending champion Jelena Ostapenko fare, and where did Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka land?
Defending champion Ostapenko has a hard road ahead.
Jelena Ostapenko will start her title defense against Kateryna Kozlova, but her road back to the final is littered with potential landmines. Case in point? Dangerous floater Victoria Azarenka, former World No.1 and two-time Grand Slam champion, looms as a potential second-round clash.
It won’t get any easier from there, as No.9 seed Venus Williams looms as a possible Round of 16 opponent, and she’d have to get through No.4 seed Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals. Clay favorite Simona Halep and former champion Garbine Muguruza could await in the semifinals.
These are the Top 4 seeds’ first-round matches.
No.1 Simona Halep vs Alison Riske
No.2 Caroline Wozniacki vs Danielle Collins
No.3 Garbine Muguruza vs Svetlana Kuznetsova
No.4 Elina Svitolina vs Ajla Tomljanovic
Halep could feel the full force of the Parisian crowd in the third round, where she might face No.29 seed Kristina Mladenovic, while No.16 Elise Mertens is a potential Round of 16 opponent.
Wozniacki’s draw could pit her against former semifinalist Timea Bacsinszky in the second round, while No.12 seed Alize Cornet or former finalist Sara Errani could feature in the third.
Muguruza faces former champion Kuznetsova straight out of the gate, and could face No.30 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the third round with Stuttgart finalist CoCo Vandeweghe a possible Round of 16 opponent. Also in her section: former champions Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams.
Svitolina’s section features both No.21 seed Naomi Osaka, this year’s Indian Wells champion, and No.13 seed Madison Keys, a former Rome finalist.
Unseeded Serena and Victoria Azarenka loom in the draw.
Williams and Azarenka landed on opposite halves of the draw, and will surely be a dangerous challenge for the seeds and former champions placed in their path.
Azarenka landed in the bottom half, and looms large in Svitolina’s quarter. But should she advance past her first-round opponent Katerina Siniakova, she will face a big test - a potential clash with defending champion Jelena Ostapenko in the second round.
Meanwhile, Serena will open against Kristyna Pliskova, placed in the top half in Muguruza’s quarter - meaning a rematch of the 2016 French Open final could happen in the quarterfinals. Should Serena advance past Pliskova, she could get Ashleigh Barty in the next round. No.28 seed Maria Sharapova also landed in her section of the draw, meaning we could get another popcorn-worthy Grand Slam rematch in the early rounds.
Mouthwatering potential quarterfinal matchups.
No.1 Simona Halep vs No.7 Caroline Garcia
No.3 Garbine Muguruza vs No.6 Karolina Pliskova
No.5 Jelena Ostapenko vs No.4 Elina Svitolina
No.8 Petra Kvitova vs No.2 Caroline Wozniacki