Venus Williams will contest her 82nd Grand Slam appearance, which extends her own Open Era record. She has 11 more Grand Slam showings than the next closest players, her sister Serena and their fellow American Amy Frazier, with 71 each. Francesca Schiavone (69) and Martina Navratilova (67) round out the top five.
Williams and Svitolina's blockbuster first-round match will be their third meeting, having split the previous two. Williams won their first encounter, winning in straight sets on the clay courts of Rome in 2015. Svitolina leveled their head-to-head with a straight-set win in Toronto on hardcourt in 2017.
Karolina Pliskova takes a 3-0 head-to-head lead into her opener against Madison Brengle. However, Brengle did take a set off of Pliskova for the first time in their most recent meeting, in the second round of this year's Australian Open. This will be their first clash off of hardcourt.
Angelique Kerber can complete the career Grand Slam with a title at Roland Garros. Kerber, who won Wimbledon last year and the Australian Open and the US Open in 2016, has yet to pass the quarterfinals in Paris. She fell in that round in 2012 (to eventual finalist Sara Errani) and last year (to eventual champion Simona Halep).
Pliskova and Kerber are two of the four players who could overtake Naomi Osaka as World No.1 following the event, Kiki Bertens and Petra Kvitova are the other two players with a shot. However, Pliskova and Bertens would have to reach the final and Kerber and Kvitova would have to win the title to even have a chance to do so, pending other results.
Last year's runner-up Sloane Stephens will face Misaki Doi for the first time. Stephens has a 20-7 win-loss record at Roland Garros. The American reached the fourth round for the fifth time in 2018, making the second week each year from 2012 to 2015, but she had never been able to get past that round until her run to the final last year.
Svetlana Kuznetsova is 52-15 at Roland Garros, claiming her second Grand Slam title in Paris in 2009 (following the 2004 US Open). Kuznetsova, who also reached the Roland Garros final in 2006, fell in the first round last year to Garbine Muguruza in a battle of former champions.
....about last night!
Ma maison à Paris! 🏠 🇫🇷
Brach Paris pic.twitter.com/JynJfQ3g4I
— Garbiñe Muguruza (@GarbiMuguruza) May 25, 2019
Happy that I made it to #RG19 despite all difficulties... AND even more excited to start my opening match @rolandgarros tomorrow on the all new CC Philippe-Chatrier 💯🙏🏼😘 See you out there 👋 #TeamAngie pic.twitter.com/AvFHvNcJnm
— Angelique Kerber (@AngeliqueKerber) May 25, 2019
— Venus Williams (@Venuseswilliams) May 25, 2019
ORDER OF PLAY
In her exclusive column for wtatennis.com, Martina Navratilova says that she will "have to go with Simona Halep as the favorite" for the Roland Garros title.
WTA Insider breaks down the latest Clay Court Power Rankings going into the French Open.
The Guardian's Tumaini Carayol writes about Serena Williams's next step to a 24th Grand Slam crown.
Elina Svitolina writes for BBC Sport on the Williams sisters as legendary role models -- and the difficult draw against Venus Williams she received in the first round.
Kiki Bertens tries to get used to the label of "Contender," writes Ben Rothenberg at the New York Times.
Saturday's WTA final results: Yulia Putintseva claims her first WTA singles trophy at Nurnberg, while Dayana Yastremska outlasts Caroline Garcia in the longest WTA singles final of the year in Strasbourg.