PARIS, France - The Roland Garros qualifying draw was released on Monday, and the race for 12 main draw spots in the second Grand Slam of 2016 will be tougher than ever once play begins Tuesday.
Louisa Chirico is the No.1 seed following her head-turning run to the Mutua Madrid Open semifinals; the American upset 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic and Daria Gavrilova and opens against Tereza Martincova in ther first round. Former junior star Irina Khromacheva is the highest ranked woman in her section, though former World No.58 Andrea Hlavackova and Amra Sadikovic could also pose some problems during the week.
TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Cup champion Cagla Buyukakcay is the No.2 seed and will play Elitsa Kostova in her first round; the Turkish sensation became the first in her country's history to ever reach a WTA semifinal, let alone title, and is projected to play No.22 seed and former Top 20 stalwart Klara Koukalova in the final round.
Romanians Sorana Cirstea and Patricia Maria Tig round out the Top 4 seeds, and each are coming off of some solid clay court results. Both Cirstea and Tig reached the quarterfinals in Madrid. Cirstea made her career breakthrough back at the 2009 French Open when she upset former No.1 Jelena Jankovic to reach the quarterfinals, and Tig burst onto the scene last summer when she reached her first WTA final in Baku.
Other names to watch in the draw include Vania King, Maria Sakkari, Petra Cetkovska, and a pair of former Top 30 players in Daniela Hantuchova and Tamira Paszek. A semifinalist at the 2008 Australian Open, Hantuchova was a former World No.5, while Paszek is most known for her back-to-back Wimbledon quarterfinals in 2011 and 2012.
All photos courtesy of Getty Images.