The women’s field of the 2015 French Open essentially boils down to the usual suspects with Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova as the prohibitive favorites. Serena is listed as the 9/4 favorite on most sportsbooks monitored by Oddschecker while Sharapova is largely going off at 10/3.
The French Open is the only tournament that Serena has not mastered, having won just two of her 19 Grand Slams in Paris—she last won the tourney in 2013. Sharapova is the reigning title-holder and also won Le Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in 2012.
Venus Williams was knocked out in the first round by fellow American Sloane Stephens, and world No. 3 Simona Halep (a 9/2 favorite to win the tournament) was stunned in the second round by Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. Petra Kvitova (9/1), Victoria Azarenka (13/1) and Carla Suarez Navarro (14/1) are the three women most likely to challenge Serena and Sharapova.
Sixth-seed Eugenie Bouchard was also upset in the first round by Kristina Mladenovic, but other well-known names like Ana Ivanovic (23-1 odds to win the tournament), Angelique Kerber and Samantha Stosur are on to the third round. Fifth-seed Caroline Wozniacki is a dark horse to win the title, listed mostly at 22-1.
While the men’s side of the French Open has been dominated by Rafael Nadal over the last decade, there have been a total of seven different women’s champions dating back to 2005. 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova (18 seed) and 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone (unseeded) will square off in the second round.
Serena Williams beat Sharapova at the Australian Open final in January and also won the U.S. Open last August. Other Americans still alive on the women’s side are 16-seed Madison Keys and unseeded Stephens and Irina Falconi.
Wozniacki and Azarenka present the toughest challenges in Serena’s portion of the draw, while Suarez-Navarro and sleeper pick Gabrine Muguruza (25-1) could present some problems for Sharapova. Ivanovic should have the easiest road to the semifinal with only 9-seed Ekaterina Makarova posing much of a challenge. Kvitova’s bracket is also favorable, but Keys, 12-seed Karolina Pliskova and the winner of Kuznetsova/Schiavone will be tough outs.
It’s shaping up to be a Serena/Sharapova final, but the field could spring an upset of one or both if these superstars have an off-day at Roland Garros. Intrigue awaits over the next two weeks as the summer Grand Slam season shifts into high gear.