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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Thursday, May 23, 2024


Caption text.

Photo credit: Julian Finney/Getty

Court Philippe Chatrier is the most expansive clay-court canvas in the sport.

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek has sped far ahead of the WTA pack chasing her dusting competitors in the dirt.

Navratilova: Two Changes Can Help Gauff vs. Swiatek

Reigning champion Swiatek leads a crammed top quarter of the draw as she launches her quest for a third consecutive Roland Garros crown and fourth overall.

The Roland Garros draw was conducted today and plants Swiatek atop a first quarter that features four Grand Slam champions—Naomi Osaka, who could face Swiatek in round two, 2021 Roland Garros singles and doubles champion Barbora Krejcikova, reigning Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova—as well as red-hot former AO finalist Danielle Collins .

If it comes down to Iga's dirt dominance vs. the field, who are you picking? Can anyone depose the clay queen on her best surface?

Former world No. 1 Martina Navratilova sees Swiatek chasing history in Paris.

"[Iga] might catch up to Chris [Evert] the way she's going. She's still really young," Hall of Famer and Tennis Channel analyst Martina Navratilova told the media in a TC conference call to promote its Roland Garros coverage starting at 5 a.m. Eastern time on Sunday. "She got started earlier than either Rafa or Chris winning at the French.

"We'll see what happens. But right now she looks pretty unbeatable. She is beatable, but it's going to take a monumental effort. Maybe not as hard as Rafa has been, but pretty close to it right now. And she's pretty confident. It's amazing. She owns the court now when she's on it."

Here’s our immediate Top 5 Takeaways from the 2024 Roland Garros women’s draw.

1. Swiatek: Heavy Favorite, Stiff Tests on Horizon

Swiatek is playing for a third straight Roland Garros championship and may have to defeat her predecessor—2021 RG singles and doubles champion Barbora Krejcikova—to three peat and win a fourth French Open overall.

Krejcikova has split four meetings with Swiatek; the powerful Pole prevailed in their lone clay clash, 3-6, 7-6(5), 7-5 at the 2021 Rome.

Yes, on paper this is a demanding draw for Swiatek.

On dirt, Swiatek is too dominant for all comers (though Elena Rybakina may have something to say about that).

Consider she carries a 77-10 career clay record into Paris, including a 14-1 mark this year becoming just the third woman in Open Era history, and first since Serena in 2013, to sweep Madrid and Rome titles in succession.

The owner of 21 career titles, Swiatek rides a streak of nine straight finals wins with her last loss in a title match coming to Aryna Sabalenka in the 2023 Mutua Madrid Open final.

The gap between No. 1 Swiatek and No. 2 Sabalenka is a massive 3,500 points so of course she's a firm favorite and very confident ahead of this title defense.

“I’ve been working hard to play consistently at the high level,” Swiatek said at the draw today. “For sure, this season has been great already for me. I know that I can adjust to any kind of conditions even in a short amount of time.

“I played against top players here. For sure it shows the work we’re doing is paying off. Hopefully, I’m going to continue here, but different tournaments, different challenges.”

Expect Swiatek, a fast starter in Paris, to try to impose her typical ruthless efficiency. The daughter of an Olympian, Swiatek is highly motivated for this Roland Garros and to set a tone for the Olympics, which will be played after Wimbledon at Roland Garros.

“For sure [the Olympics] is in my mind. I was raised in this because of that I know the Olympics are the most important event probably in sports overall,” Swiatek said. “I love that I have a chance again to compete in them. In Tokyo I remember how stressful it was. Hopefully I’m going to be able to use the experience I already got in Tokyo. I’ll try to do everything step by step. I’ll try to treat this tournament as any other one but for sure it’s going to be exciting.”

2. Kindest Draw for High Seed: Aryna Sabalenka

After bowing to Swiatek in the Rome final, Sabalenka vowed “I hope we’re gonna make it to the finals at Roland Garros and I’m gonna get you there.”

World No. 2 Sabalenka should feel good about realizing her vision of a third straight clay-court final showdown vs. Swiatek.

The two-time Australian Open champion opens against Erika Andreeva and will face either a qualifier or a lucky loser in round two with her first potential seeded opponent, 28th-seeded Briton and San Diego champ Katie Boulter.

There are experienced seeds in Sabalenka’s bottom quarter, including former French Open semifinalist Madison Keys,
 coming off the Madrid semifinal and Rome quarterfinal runs, former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, sixth-seeded Maria Sakkari, who has been resurgent working with coach David Witt, 10th-seeded spin master Daria Kasatkina and ultra-talented teen Mirra Andreeva.

Still, Sabalenka, the last woman to beat Swiatek in a final, has reached six straight Slam semifinals (or better) and should stretch that streak in Paris. Sabalenka has endured tragedy (the death of her former boyrfriend in Miami) and injury this year and is still fighting with Tiger Queen ferocity, which is admirable.

3. Americans in Paris: High Hopes, Highest Hurdle

The good news: at her best, US Open champion Coco Gauff can beat anyone not named Iga Swiatek in Paris.

The bad news: Gauff is in the top half of the draw and if seeds hold true to form she would face No. 1 Swiatek in the semifinals. Swiatek sped through eight of the last 11 games to charge into the Rome final with a 6-4, 6-3 conquest of Coco Gauff last week.

Swiatek has won 10 of 11 meetings vs. Gauff sweeping 21 of 23 sets and shellacking the American star winning all eight of the sets they’ve played on dirt.

Still, the 2022 French Open finalist Gauff is dangerous to anyone else on dirt. Gauff opens against a qualifier and resides in the second quarter that includes 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, two-time Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur, powerhouse Liudmila Samsonova and AO semifinalist Dayana Yastremska.


A post shared by Coco Gauff (@cocogauff)

Both Gauff and Miami Open and Charleston champion Danielle Collins have the weapons to do damage in this draw.

The challenge for both is an imposing one: if it comes down to it can they knock off the defending champion Iga, who has lost only one clay-court match this year and only 10 in her entire pro career?

You have to respect the 11th-seeded Collins, who opens against compatriot Caroline Dolehide, for persevering and producing one of her best seasons despite the fact she’s endured some of the toughest draws of any woman in the game this season.

This draw is no different as Collins will have to potentially beat 18th-seeded all-court talent Marta Kostyuk and 2019 French Open finalist and Olympic silver medallist Marketa Vondrousova just to get a shot at Swiatek in the quarterfinals.

Jessica Pegula withdrew from the tournament, but former French Open semifinalist Amanda Anisimova, a powerhouse player who can terminate points with down the lines drives when healthy, is in Gauff’s quarter.

No. 14-seeded Madison Keys is often overlooked as a dirt contender because her long swing path can be vulnerable on dirt where bad bounces are inevitable. But Keys has produced a terrific clay-court campaign this spring, suffering losses to Swiatek in Madrid and Rome, and she’s delivered in Paris in the past. Keys is a 2018 Roland Garros semifinalist, reached the 2019 quarterfinals and reached the US Open semifinals in her last major appearance.

American Peyton Stearns has the high-bounding kick serve and heavy forehand that could play well in Paris, though Stearns has shown flashes (she nearly knocked Sabalenka out of Indian Wells), putting wins together has been challenging since her US Open run last summer.

4. First-Round Matches To Watch

Sloane Stephens (USA) vs. Yulia Putintseva (KAZ)
Head-to-head: Putintseva leads 4-3

(15) Elina Svitolina (UKR) vs Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
Head-to-head: Pliskova leads 5-4

(7) Zheng Qinwen (CHN) vs. (WC) Alizé Cornet (FRA)
Head-to-head: Zheng leads 2-0

(26) Katie Boulter (GBR) vs. Paula Badosa (ESP)
Head-to-head: First Meeting

5. Where Can I Watch Roland Garros?

Of course, stay tuned to Tennis Now for live scoring and live reports from Paris from TN lead writer Chris Oddo, who has been covering the the tournament since the first ball of qualifying for both Tennis Now and

In the U.S. Tennis Channel and NBC are the host broadcasters.


For the country-by-country breakdown of broadcasters, please visit:


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