Women’s French Open at Roland Garros 2016: Profiles of the top 16 seeds

The second Major of 2016 will begin on Sunday with all eyes on Roland Garros for the next two weeks. The draw was released on Friday morning in Paris and it’s looking a little top heavy! Just to let you all know i’m going on holiday midway during the first week so I will likely disappear. I’ll be blogging though for the first few days and have lots planned for the grass court season!

This post focuses on the top 16 seeds with stats about their form on clay and at Roland Garros. I’m already reminiscing about my trip to Roland Garros last year – you can check out my posts from the 2015 French Open HERE which also includes a few tips for anyone attending for the first time this fortnight.

Anyway, let’s take a look at the top 16 seeds…

Serena Williams (1):

Serena Williams

French Open previous best performance: Champion (2002, 2013 and 2015)

French Open 2015 performance & points: Champion (2000 ranking points)

2016 red clay form: 5-0 W-L record

Rome, Champion

2016 French Open draw projections:

R1: Magdalena Rybarikova

R2: Teliana Pereira or Kristyna Pliskova

R3: Kristina Mladenovic (26)

Final thoughts: The win in Rome silences some concerns about Serena who hadn’t won a title since Cincinnati and had failed to deliver her best tennis in the two finals she had played in 2016 prior to Rome. The relief was all too evident on her face after match point and if she can carry the same mental focus into Roland Garros and not feel “stress to have to win”, then it’s hard to look past Serena.

Agnieszka Radwanska (2):


French Open previous best performance: Quarter-finals (2013)

French Open 2015 performance & points: 1st round, lost to Annika Beck (10 ranking points)

2016 red clay form: 2-2 W-L record

Stuttgart, Semi-finals (l. to Laura Siegemund #71)

Madrid, 1st round (l. to Dominika Cibulkova #38)

2016 French Open draw projections:

R1: Bojana Jovanovski

R2: Lesia Tsurenko or Caroline Garcia

R3: Barbora Strycova (30)

Final thoughts: Radwanska’s scheduling during this clay court season has been interesting. Her decision to skip Rome was, in my opinion, a proactive decision, which she explained in detail here. The world number two was struggling with a shoulder injury after Miami so skipping tournaments on her least favourite surface makes sense. Radwanska lost in the first round of Roland Garros last year so this tournament is still crucial to her as it offers the opportunity to add a buffer with many of her points up on the chopping board in June and July. While there are some dangerous players lurking in her section of the draw, reaching the second week looks attainable.

Angelique Kerber (3):

Angelique Kerber

French Open previous best performance: Quarter-finals (2012)

French Open 2015 performance & points: 3rd round, lost to Garbiñe Muguruza (130 ranking points)

2016 red clay form: 4-2 W-L record

Stuttgart, Champion

Madrid, 1st round (l. to Barbora Strycova #33)

Rome, 2nd round (l. to Eugenie Bouchard #46)

2016 French Open draw projections:

R1: Kiki Bertens

R2: Alizé Lim or Camila Giorgi

R3: Daria Kasatkina (29)

Final thoughts: Kerber’s 2016 clay court season has been remarkably similar to last year; she won Stuttgart and then laboured in both Madrid and Rome, failing to win a match at either. Kerber pulled out of Nurnberg due to a shoulder injury. The Australian Open champion has played a lot of tennis since Miami so while confidence may have been taken down a notch or two since Stuttgart, it seemed like a wise move for her health with a busy summer on the cards. Much like Radwanska, Kerber’s game is much better suited to the grass with her movement still a question mark (to me at least) on the clay. Kerber faces an uphill struggle from the first round where Bertens won’t be easy…

Garbiñe Muguruza (4):

Garbine Muguruza

French Open previous best performance: Quarter-finals (2014 and 2015)

French Open 2015 performance & points: Quarter-final, lost to Lucie Safarova (430 ranking points)

2016 red clay form: 5-3 W-L record

Stuttgart, Quarter-finals (l. to Petra Kvitova #7)

Madrid, 2nd round (l. to Irina-Camelia Begu #34)

Rome, Semi-finals (l. to Madison Keys #24)

2016 French Open draw projections:

R1: Anna Karolina Schmiedlova

R2: Myrtille Goerges or Christina McHale

R3: Ekaterina Makarova (27)

Final thoughts: Muguruza enjoyed her best result of the year so far in Rome, reaching the semi-finals. While her form has improved since the start of the year, a straight sets loss to Madison Keys in Rome. Muguruza’s game looks pretty much there, but the results haven’t quite followed. Her result in Rome though was decent preparation; it was a significant improvement from Madrid, but there is plenty of room to improve and peak in time for Roland Garros. I’ve been waiting for that moment where Muguruza shines on the court in 2016… it wouldn’t surprise me if it all came together for the Spaniard in Paris where she has performed strongly over the past two years.

Victoria Azarenka (5):


French Open previous best performance: Semi-finals (2013)

French Open 2015 performance & points: 3rd round, lost to Serena Williams (130 ranking points)

2016 red clay form: 2-1 W-L record

Madrid, 3rd round (retired in advance of match against Louisa Chirico #130)

Rome, 2nd round (l. to Irina-Camelia Begu #35)

2016 French Open draw projections:

R1: Karin Knapp

R2: Anastasija Sevastova or qualifier

R3: Andrea Petkovic (28)

Final thoughts: Azarenka’s preparations for Roland Garros haven’t been ideal although she has proven before that she is one of the best players for coming in ‘cold’ and peaking at the tournaments that really count. The Belarusian is at number two in the Race and has still lost just two matches in 2016 (to Angelique Kerber and Irina-Camelia Begu). The concern will be the back injury, but she seems to have been practising well in Paris this week. Again, clay isn’t her best surface but she’s a former semi-finalist in Roland Garros so she can perform on this surface.

Simona Halep (6):

Simona Halep

French Open previous best performance: Finalist (2014)

French Open 2015 performance & points: Second round, lost to Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (70 ranking points)

2016 red clay form: 6-2 W-L record

Stuttgart, 2nd round (l. to Laura Siegemund #71)

Madrid, Champion

Rome, 2nd round (l. to Daria Gavrilova #32)

2016 French Open draw projections:

R1: Nao Hibino

R2: Zarina Diyas or Carina Witthoeft

R3: Jelena Ostapenko (32)

Final thoughts: A loss to Daria Gavrilova in her first match in Rome was a tad disappointing, but Halep should hopefully still be able to draw on her triumph in Madrid. The Romanian player coped with the pressure of being the favourite and won the title with two excellent performances over Sam Stosur and Dominika Cibulkova in the last two rounds. If Halep can stay focused (and breathe!) she could do well here. As draws go, I think Halep is one of the winners *although* there is the possibility she could play Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the third round…

Roberta Vinci (7):

Roberta Vinci

French Open previous best performance: 4th round (2013)

French Open 2015 performance & points: First round, lost to Alizé Cornet (10 ranking points)

2016 red clay form: 3-4 W-L record

Stuttgart, Quarter-finals (l. to Laura Siegemund #71)

Madrid, 1st round (l. to Danka Kovinic #52)

Rome, 2nd round (l. to Johanna Konta #23)

Strasbourg, 2nd round (l. to Kiki Bertens #89)

2016 French Open draw projections:

R1: Kateryna Bondarenko

R2: Annika Beck or qualifier

R3: Irina-Camelia Begu (25)

Final thoughts: The clay court season has been a trial for Vinci although in Strasbourg she did at least win her first match since Stuttgart. This has been partly down to the ankle injury, but perhaps is also linked to her gruelling start to 2016 where she did play a lot of tennis. Vinci will be seeking her first win in Paris since 2013; she’ll need to show a significant improvement from recent performances just to get past the first round.

Timea Bacsinszky (8):

Timea Bacsinszky


French Open previous best performance: Semi-finals (2015)

French Open 2015 performance & points: Semi-finals, lost to Serena Williams (780 ranking points)

2016 red clay form: 10-2 W-L record

Rabat, Champion

Madrid, 3rd round (l. to Simona Halep #7)

Rome, Quarter-finals (l. to Garbiñe Muguruza #4)

2016 French Open draw projections: 

R1: Qualifier

R2: Laura Siegemund or Eugenie Bouchard

R3: Monica Niculescu (31)

Final thoughts: Bumped up to a top eight seed by virtue of Belinda Bencic’s withdrawal, things are looking rosy for Bacsinszky. Her preparations for Roland Garros have been close to perfect; she’s won the most matches on red clay among the top 16 seeds and her only two defeats have come against top ten opposition. While she has played a lot of matches, Bacsinszky will have had over a week to rest and recuperate since Rome and prepare for the big one. Bacsinszky has a really testing draw, but if she can get through the first three rounds then she may have the momentum to push on and rival last year’s performance.

Venus Williams (9):

Venus Williams

French Open previous best performance: Finalist (2002)

French Open 2015 performance & points: 1st round, lost to Sloane Stephens (10 ranking points)

2016 red clay form: 1-1 W-L record

Rome, 2nd round (l. to Timea Babos #48)

2016 French Open draw projections:

R1: Anett Kontaveit

R2: Lauren Davis or qualifier

R3: Jelena Jankovic (23)

Final thoughts: Venus will be looking to advance past the second round of the French Open for the first time since 2010 and with this draw, there’s definitely a fair shot of that happening. I’ve always questioned why Venus continues to play the clay court season and i’d be intrigued to know whether it’s ever crossed her mind to skip it and focus on grass. To be honest, I don’t have great hopes for Venus in Paris and even more so when you consider the strapping she has had on her leg all year.

Petra Kvitova (10):

Petra Kvitova

French Open previous best performance: Semi-finals (2012)

French Open 2015 performance & points: 4th round, lost to Timea Bacsinszky (240 ranking points)

2016 red clay form: 5-3 W-L record

Stuttgart, Semi-finals (l. to Angelique Kerber #3)

Madrid, 3rd round (l. to Daria Gavrilova #39)

Rome, 2nd round (l. to Madison Keys #24)

2016 French Open draw projections:

R1: Danka Kovinic

R2: Lara Arruabarrena or Su-Wei Hsieh

R3: Karolina Pliskova (17)

Final thoughts: This year has been a topsy-turvy affair for Kvitova… there were positive signs through Indian Wells, Miami, Stuttgart and to an extent, Madrid. However, the recent losses to Daria Gavrilova and Madison Keys weren’t as encouraging. An abdominal injury came to light after she lost in Madrid and she was reportedly ill before playing Rome (see here). Kvitova’s actually had some decent results in Paris so while I wouldn’t rate her as a title contender, if her health is there, then she’s always capable of a run.

Lucie Safarova (11):

Lucie Safarova

French Open previous best performance: Finalist 😀 (2015)

French Open 2015 performance & points: Finalist, lost to Serena Williams (1300 ranking points)

2016 red clay form: 7-2 W-L record

Stuttgart, 1st round (l. to Karolina Pliskova #18)

Prague, Champion

Madrid, 2nd round (retired in advance of second round match against Sam Stosur #23)

Rome, 2nd round (l. to Misaki Doi #45)

2016 French Open draw projections:

R1: Vitalia Diatchenko

R2: Alison Riske or qualifier

R3: Sam Stosur (21)

Final thoughts: I’m not sure whether to be happy or fearful about Lucie returning to Paris. She is returning to the place where she recorded her best career result, reaching the singles final (and winning the doubles!) last year. This should bring the happy memories flooding back, both for Lucie and her fans. On the other hand, 1300 ranking points are on the line! Lucie’s done great to get back in contention with a title in Prague after starting her season with five straight set losses. To see where she has come from since the start of the year is staggering. I hope that she can feed on the positive energy from last year and play with freedom.

Carla Suárez Navarro (12):


French Open previous best performance: Quarter-finals (2008 and 2014)

French Open 2015 performance & points: 3rd round, lost to Flavia Pennetta (130 ranking points)

2016 red clay form: 5-3 W-L record

Stuttgart, Quarter-finals (l. to Angelique Kerber #3)

Madrid, 3rd round (l. to Sam Stosur #23)

Rome, 3rd round (l. to Timea Bacsinszky #10)

2016 French Open draw projections:

R1: Qualifier

R2: Qiang Wang or Tessah Andrianjafitrimo

R3: Dominika Cibulkova (22)

Final thoughts: Suárez Navarro’s clay court season has been solid yet unspectacular; all three of her losses have been against quality opposition, but the way she lost her last match to Timea Bacsinszky in Rome, having served for the match, wasn’t all that encouraging. There have been improvements in her mental resilience throughout the year, notably winning her first Premier title in Doha, but there are still some concerns. Clay’s obviously a great surface and the first two rounds *should* set her up well for more challenging opponents from the third round onwards.

Svetlana Kuznetsova (13):

Svetlana Kuznetsova

French Open previous best performance: Champion (2009)

French Open 2015 performance & points: Second round, lost to Francesca Schiavone (70 ranking points)

2016 red clay form: 6-2 W-L record

Prague, Semi-finals (retired in advance of playing Sam Stosur #25)

Madrid, 1st round (l. to Laura Siegemund #44)

Rome, Quarter-finals (l. to Serena Williams #1)

2016 French Open draw projections:

R1: Yaroslava Shvedova

R2: Nicole Gibbs or Heather Watson

R3: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (24)

Final thoughts: Kuznetsova’s recent form at the French Open speaks for itself; since 2003, she has only twice failed to reach the second week. While she lost in the second round in 2015, she did have match points in a sensational match against Francesca Schiavone. The Russian player’s recent form has been remarkably consistent as she has won at least three matches at three of her last four tournaments. At Roland Garros, Kuznetsova will always be one to watch out for…

Ana Ivanovic (14):

Ana Ivanovic

French Open previous best performance: Champion (2008)

French Open 2015 performance & points: Semi-final, lost to Lucie Safarova (780 ranking points)

2016 red clay form: 3-3 W-L record

Stuttgart, 2nd round (l. to Karolina Pliskova #18)

Madrid, 2nd round (l. to Louisa Chirico #130)

Rome, 2nd round (l. to Christina McHale #56)

2016 French Open draw projections:

R1: Oceane Dodin

R2: Kurumi Nara or Denisa Allertova

R3: Elina Svitolina (18)

Final thoughts: I still can’t quite get my head around that Ivanovic reached the semi-finals here last year! The Serb played her best tennis of the 2015 season in Paris and the pressure to defend may well have an impact on her performances this fortnight. Ivanovic has looked fraught and tense in her matches during the clay court swing and hasn’t won back-to-back matches on tour since Dubai in February. However, the draw is actually favourable to the fourth round assuming she can overcome the dangerous Dodin in the first round.

Madison Keys (15):

Madison Keys

French Open previous best performance: 3rd round (2015)

French Open 2015 performance & points: 3rd round, lost to Timea Bacsinszky (130 ranking points)

2016 red clay form: 7-2 W-L record

Madrid, 3rd round (l. to Patricia Maria Tig #134)

Rome, finalist (l. to Serena Williams #1)

2016 French Open draw projections:

R1: Donna Vekic

R2: Daria Gavrilova or Mariana Duque-Mariño

R3: Johanna Konta (20)

Final thoughts: Keys’s stop-start year has taken some time to get going following a number of injuries. The American player has competed in six tournaments this year, the same number as Serena, yet is up to number 12 in the Race to Singapore following her run to the final in Rome. The grass court season will probably be at the forefront of her mind but perhaps the recent run in Rome will give her the confidence to dream big in Paris.

Sara Errani (16):

Sara Errani

French Open previous best performance: Finalist (2012)

French Open 2015 performance & points: Quarter-finals, lost to Serena Williams (430 ranking points)

2016 red clay form: 0-3 W-L record

Madrid, 1st round (l. to Camila Giorgi #45)

Rome, 1st round (l. to Heather Watson #55)

Strasbourg, 1st round (l. to Monica Puig #51)

2016 French Open draw projections:

R1: Tsvetana Pironkova

R2: Johanna Larsson or Magda Linette

R3: Sloane Stephens (19)

Final thoughts: 2016 has been a wacky year already… and one of the more surprising stats is that Errani arrives into Paris without a win on the red clay in 2016. It’s worth noting though that Errani has reached at least the quarter-finals in her last four appearances at Roland Garros. Could that streak come to an end this year? I’m on the fence…

French Open Media

Who do you think will win Roland Garros? Have your say in the tournament poll below and as always, comments are appreciated! A predictions post will follow soon…

Photos in this post by Jimmie48 Tennis Photography and mootennis.com

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26 thoughts on “Women’s French Open at Roland Garros 2016: Profiles of the top 16 seeds

  1. Serena definitely got herself back on the winning track at the perfect time! She really turned around the losses that she had in Melbourne, Indian Wells, and Miami this year. As for possibly facing Azarenka in the quarterfinals, I don’t know if I can see that happening. Azarenka didn’t look to be 100% healthy in Rome, when she lost to Irina-Cameila Begu in straight sets. It’ll be interesting to see if she’s 100% recovered from her back injury. My prediction at this point is that Serena will reach the final without dropping a set and win the title in three sets. Or, she will win the title without dropping a set.


  2. Radwanska had a tough draw in Australia but this ones bordering on impossible in my opinion. And Bacsinszky got a rawww deal too.


    • I think if it wasn’t on clay then Radwanska’s draw isn’t that bad. Bacsinszky’s is rough although the qualifier in R1 could have been SO much worse! I’ve gone for Timea to reach the SFs.


      • I think Garcia or Tsurenko makes for a very tricky round 2 match and Strycova has been pretty outstanding this year and seems ripe for taking another scalp.
        Watching Caroline Garcia play in Strasbourg has been a real joy, she’s delivered some superb tennis and on home soil too. If she gets the win today then I think her French Open jitters will ease off.


      • Massive win for Garcia. Maybe this is FINALLY her time for that big breakthrough. She seems so much more solid mentally than the past couple of years. Also Tsurenko has a really horrible record here!


      • I’m always going to remain wary with Garcia to be honest… But good job this week. I don’t really rate Tsurenko right now, she’s had a disappointing year and I think she’s been injured too.


      • Oh, me too! She’s a big ball striker and that always brings inconsistencies. But she’s still only 22 at the end of the day.


  3. Caroline Wozniacki and Belinda Bencic are unable to play because of injury whilst Maria Sharapova ( won here in 2012 & 2014 ) is presently suspended due to a failed drug test. Simona Halep has not played consistently this year whilst Victoria Azarenka seems to be struggling with injury problems again. Agnieszka Radwanska and Petra Kvitova are probably better on grass so I think that this could be won by Serena Williams or Garbine Muguruza and I am going with Serena. Her record here is not especially good by her high standards but she has hit form at the right time and her main challengers are presently struggling with injury concerns or lack of consistent form. If there is going to be a surprise in this then maybe Sara Errani can cause it. She reached the final here in 2012 and won the biggest singles title of her career when successful at the Dubai Tennis Championships in February this year. However she has also recently suffered with an injury problem which is a concern for her chances.


  4. So, do you think Azarenka is 100% healthy? The post said that she seems to be practicing well in Paris again. But, it’s all gonna depend on her back injury.


    • Azarenka said in press that she had been practising pain free for the week. I have my doubts though as the forecasts in Paris look set for cold and damp conditions.


  5. I don’t know why I do draw challenges anymore. I look at the draw at end up with players making runs even when I know they are not going that far. Take for example I have Lisicki reaching the second week. Why I really have no idea, it’s not like she’s playing even close to good tennis. We all know that the seeds will probably fall early but I can’t ever bring myself to “predict” them.

    It’s hard to look past Serena and Cibulkova back to playing good tennis I have them meeting in the first quarter in the other Kerber against Bacsinszky. Even though Timea has a tough match against Genie or Siegemund. I’m not fully convinced Kerber will get that far.

    Bottom half seems very unpredictable I think Aga has a great draw bar the tough 2nd round with possibly Garcia. Hoping Lucie can back up 2015 and push into the QFs. Muguruza loves Paris and is due a deeper run now. And yes I think I have gone completely mad as I also have Kvitova in the quarter finals.

    So SFs Serena defeats Bacsinszky, Muguruza defeats Lucie and Serena wins it all. Watch all these ladies lose in the first week. Let’s hope for a great tournament! Enjoy the tennis.


    • Haha I feel your pain, Gene! I was last for Nurnberg which i’m still laughing at. I live in hope one of these days I might have a good tournament and i’ll smile when that day comes! I agree with 3 of your 4 SFs (oh dear, that’s not good news for you haha!) and I hope you’re right with Lucie. I’m not sure how she is going to do this fortnight. I had her to R4 last year and she made the final… so going for something similar with my draw in the hope it will replicate 🙂


      • Lucie ended up in the semis by accident really, I think Halep may flop like usual especially since she won in Madrid. She is one player I can never trust in a draw if I’m honest. Aga has a good draw but couldn’t imagine her actually making semis or finals. Lucie has been there before and getting back to her best. Just a joy to see her winning matches again. Unfortunately her ranking could take a big hit after this tournament.


      • Yep I’ve got my fingers crossed that Lucie can at least get through a few rounds! I don’t trust anyone in this draw to be honest. I’ve got Halep to the SFs but I’m not convinced!


  6. Yes, bearing in mind how serious her illness was (she pretty much had to learn to walk again after she’d recovered), it’s a pity Lucie couldn’t have had a protected ranking of some sort. I suspect though she’s happy to be back to more or less full strength and winning matches again, and I hope that if she does lose ranking points she’ll see it as a comparatively minor issue.

    Wouldn’t it be great if she made the final again though! Wherever I go where tennis is discussed, one thing that’s clear is that absolutely everyone likes Lucie; no one ever has a bad word to say about her at all. I’ve even seen Maria give her a hug at the net, something she almost never does with other players.

    I once read an article Lucie had written in which she said that she hated seeing people crying in the locker room after they’d lost a match and wished she could do something to change that (as she said, even great players lose early in tournaments nowadays). I wish I could find that article as I can’t remember what suggestions she made.


  7. As for who will win this year, I think it’s Serena’s to lose. She won last time despite suffering from ‘flu and she doesn’t have ‘flu now, and Maria, who’s also capable of winning again, isn’t in the draw (not that she ever beats Serena anyway nowadays). Plus, she really wants that 22nd slam to draw level with Steffi…

    I’d like to see Timi Bacs do well here again (she made the semis last time and could easily do so again).
    Garbine could reach the final but she’s too inconsistent for me to pick her to win it; she lost to Maddi (someone else who could do well here) in Rome.

    If not Serena, maybe it’s time Simona won a big title? She was looking very sharp in Madrid and did very little wrong in the final.


    • Very doubtful in Serena’s quarter. And based on how negative she seems of late.
      I know you guys are all Lucie fans but Ana really should have made the finals last year as she was well in control of the match and Safarova didn’t do a whole lot to wrestle it away from her.


      • In your view, what happened then that Lucie won it? I didn’t see that match so couldn’t offer an opinion.


  8. At this rate, Serena wins Grand Slam title #22 without dropping a set. Both Kerber & Azarenka lost in the first round while battling injuries, Ivanovic is iffy, Kvitova is kaflooey. With the exception of Madison Keys and her sister Venus, there’s no one out there to challenge Serena now!


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