With the 2014 French Open just under a week away from getting started, this fun-filled, yet informative, look at the WTA Tour players with the best chances of bringing home the bacon at the year’s second grand slam tournament will help online tennis followers keep abreast of everything Roland Garros related over the course of the next two weeks.
With world No.2 Li Na, looking to add to her growing grand slam trophy case – and world No.1 Serena Williams looking to defend the title she won here a year ago – there’s plenty of drama surrounding this year’s French Open, not to mention the fact that we’re always on the lookout for that up-and-coming player or wily veteran that is ready to make their own grand slam breakthrough.
Anyway, let’s get down to the business at hand…predicting the WTA portion of the quickly-approaching 2014 French Open.
2014 French Open Predictions
Can Serena Williams (5/4) Win the French Open?
Does it really matter if Serena Williams is ranked No. 1 or No. 100 people? If you know a thing about tennis, then you already know that the only female on the face of the planet that can beat Serena Williams is…answer below. Williams won in Brisbane to start the year before falling to Ana Ivanovic at the Aussie Open in the round of 16. A semifinal loss to Alize Cornet at Dubai prompted a big win over Li Na at Miami. Williams clearly looks like the odds-on-favorite after winning at Rome this past weekend to improve to 23-3 on the year.
— Nike Tennis (@NikeTennis) May 21, 2014
Can Maria Sharapova (4-1) Win the French Open?
Sharapova won at Stuttgart in April and Madrid to start the month of May, but she’s also suffered a pair of losses to Williams along with a string of eye-opening losses to players like Dominika Cibulkova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Camila Giorgi and Ana Ivanovic. Sure, ‘Sugarpova’ may be 24-6 right now, but her status as a favorite to win the French Open is a bit iffy from where I stand.
Can Li Na Win (9/2) the French Open?
Look, I’m just not going to beat around the bush with my prediction on world No.2 Li Na. After starting off the year with a career-defining grand slam win at the 2014 Australian Open, Li has been pretty much been beaten around like a rag doll. Sure, it’s all come against quality players. But Li has been dispatched in mostly stunning fashion recently if you ask me. The two-time grand slam winner lost her last set to Sara Errani at Rome 6-3 last weekend while getting pounded 6-1 in her final set at Miami against Serena Williams. Just prior to that, Li lost the third set to Flavia Penetta at Indian Wells 6-3 and the third set at Doha, 6-4 to Petra Cetkovska. Sounds like solid trend to me. It’s not going to happen.
The 2014 French Open Longshots
All three of these elite players have got ‘game’ as the young people today like to say but they’ve all got a bit of issues that could derail them.
Ana Ivanovic 20/1
Ivanovic won the French Open way back in 2008 but that seems like an eternity ago. Since then she’s won…zzz…oh, goodness. I must have dozed off. Since then, Ivanovic has won…
Agnieszka Radwanska 25/1
Radwanska is a fantastic player that is the WTA Tour’s version of David Ferrer. She covers the court better than a tarp and has pinpoint accurate ground strokes off of both wings. Unfortunately, she’s a bit on the small side physically and just doesn’t possess the power that is necessary to beat the majority of today’s bigger, elite players.
Dominika Cibulkova 33/1
Out of this grouping, I like Cibulkova (24-11) the most by far and genuinely believe she could potentially make a deep run in this tournament. Cibulkova won at Acapulco and has reached the quarters or better in three of her last four tournaments overall. She may be tiny, but she possesses surprising power off both wings and besides, the Slovakian bombshell is so beautiful, she warrants as much television air time as possible.
Other 2014 French Open Contenders
Simona Halep 8/1
Simona Halep (19-7) won a whopping seven titles a year ago and has proved that fact was no fluke with a solid, if not overpowering start to the 2014 season. Halep won at Doha in February and reached the finals at Madrid this month before falling to Sharapova in the third set. She’s feisty and possesses enough power and grit to surprise anyone.
Do Not Bet On It
They’re long shots at best, but I like the way Jelena Jankovic has played all season long and believe that young Eugenie Bouchard is a definite future grand slam winner.
- Eugenie Bouchard 33/1
- Angelique Kerber 40/1
- Sam Stosur 40/1
- Jelena Jankovic 40/1
The Really Longshots To Win the 2014 French Open?
- Sloane Stephens 50/1
- Caroline Wozniacki 100/1
- Venus Williams 150/1
All three of these players are (or were?) superstars that can still perform at a very high level when they so choose. It’s the when they so choose part that makes backing them tricky. Sloane Stephens has all of the athletic gifts in the world – and an attitude of indifference – that makes most zombies look like they’re hopped up on Ritalin.
Caroline Wozniacki has always been a bit of a basket case in the mental toughness department and now that she has the Rory McIlroy breakup to deal with, who know what kind of mental shape she’s going to be in.
As far as Venus Williams is concerned, her now well-documented bouts against autoimmune disease Sjogren ’s syndrome can zap her and leave her fatigued at almost any point from what I’ve seen over the better part of the last two years.
My 2014 Women’s French Open Prediction
Serena Williams loves having a second home in Paris and is probably a bit ticked off about not wining the Australian Open. You had better believe that the game’s greatest player today – by far – is going to go all out to get career grand slam No. 18 and tie both, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for the all-time mark for U.S. women.
I don’t see much of a way that Williams fails to accomplish her mission other than injury simply because, when Serena Williams decides she will not get beaten, it’s pretty much a given that she won’t.