How open is the field at the French Open this year? Reigning champion Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova weigh in.
WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen
May 25, 2019

PARIS, France - How "open" is the 2019 edition of the French Open? In a season that has seen unprecedented 18 different champions of the first 18 tour events, with champions ranging from teenagers to veterans and everything in between, anything can happen on the terre battue of Roland Garros, where weather and court conditions can change daily, if not hourly. 

Reigning champion Simona Halep, who comes into the event still searching for her first title since winning Montreal last August, famously said she though up to 15 players had a real shot at winning the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen last year. 

This year? Halep has narrowed her list. 

"I would say probably 10 now, because a few of them are very strong, and they had a good season on clay, like Pliskova, like Bertens," Halep told reporters at Media Day at Roland Garros. "They are playing really well. They have a big chance.

"But I think in the Top 10, any of us, I can include myself, we can win. So we will see."

READ: Bertens closes gap on Halep on WTA Insider Clay Court Power Rankings

That Halep focused her answer to the tour's Top 10 has statistical backing. The first edition of Roland Garros was staged in 1897. Since then, only three women's champions have been crowned who were seeded outside the Top 10:

1933: Margaret Scriven
2010: Francesca Schiavone
2017: Jelena Ostapenko

With that in mind, here are the Top 10 seeds at this year's French Open and their best result this season:

1. Naomi Osaka - Australian Open champion
2. Karolina Pliskova - Rome champion
3. Simona Halep - Madrid finalist
4. Kiki Bertens - Madrid champion
5. Angelique Kerber - Indian Wells finalist
6. Petra Kvitova - Australian Open finalist
7. Sloane Stephens - Madrid semifinalist
8. Ashleigh Barty - Miami champion
9. Elina Svitolina - Indian Wells semifinalist
10. Serena Williams - Australian Open quarterfinalist

"I'm not counting, as Simona is, but yeah, I think it's not as open as probably last year," said Petra Kvitova, who sits at No.1 on the Porsche Race to Shenzhen. "I think that we see some players playing really well on the clay and who had a good season so far. So, yeah, I think it's not as open.

"I think of course we have so many winners of the tournaments this year, but of course a Grand Slam is just a little bit different."

Making it tougher to assess the Top 10 field is the spread of form and fitness. No.2 Pliskova (Rome), No.4 Bertens (Madrid), and No.6 Kvitova (Stuttgart) come into Paris having won the three biggest tour events on European clay this season. 

"I don't really put any pressure on myself, I would say," Bertens told reporters at Media Day. Bertens is tied for the tour lead in wins on clay this season, highlighted by her title run in Madrid, where she became the first woman to win the title without dropping a set. After winning Madrid, she rose to a career-high No.4, supplanting Betty Stove as the highest-ranked Dutchwoman in history. 

A clay-court force who made her first Slam semifinal here at Roland Garros in 2016, Bertens is seeded in the Top 4 at a Slam for the first time in her career. 

"For me, it's just another tournament again, and like every tournament I go into this year, I try to play for the win, and that's what I'm going to do again here. "Yeah, it's just like every day is a new day. Every day I try to improve myself, so I just see it like as one of the weeks on tour."

Meanwhile, No.5 Kerber (ankle), No.9 Svitolina (knee), and No.10 Serena (knee) are managing or healing from injuries that impacted their clay swings. 

READ: Halep savoring French Open title defense

Halep and Stephens, who contested the final last year, have yet to win titles this season, but are both rounding into form back on clay. 

"I have had some good practices and just happy to be back here, obviously," Stephens told reporters. "I had a good year last year, so I just kind of want to back it up a little bit. That would be nice." 

Last but not least, two talented youngsters in No.1 Osaka and No.8 Barty, who are beginning to find their games on clay, a surface they confessed at the start of the season weren't their favorite. 

READ: Osaka already dreaming big in historic French Open quest

Prior to this season, Osaka had just 9 match-wins on clay across her career. She went 7-1 this year. After winning the biggest title of her career in Miami, Barty went on to make her biggest clay quarterfinal in Madrid, losing to Halep. 

"I mean, definitely for me I feel like I should be an all-court player," Osaka said at Media Day. "Honestly, it's been a bit of a ride trying to figure out how to play better on clay throughout these years, but I think this year I have been playing well."

"So I'm really excited to see what happens here."