It was only earlier this month that we saw the last Grand Slam tennis tournament roll around, and while the US Open was a little different from what we have become accustomed to, at least some of the big-name players in the women’s singles will be participating in the upcoming French Open. But one name that remains absent is the current champion at Roland Garros, Ash Barty, who, like at Flushing Meadows has cited safety concerns, amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. With Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu also absent from the Paris Grand Slam, who should you be looking out for? Let’s take a look at some of the early favourites for the women’s singles title.

Simona Halep

The latest odds from Betdaq suggest that the current World Number 2, Halep, will win this year’s tournament at Stade Roland Garros. The Romanian hasn’t won a Grand Slam title since Wimbledon last year, and recently pulled out of the US Open, citing safety reasons. In the lead-up to the tournament, Halep won both the finals of the Prague Open and Italian Open – the latter by virtue of a walkover – and is heading into the Grand Slam in good form. She’s yet to taste success in Paris, but victory would see Halep one major title short of a career Slam.

Last year: Quarter-finals (lost to Amanda Anisimova)

Serena Williams

Williams has dominated women’s tennis for the last two decades, with 23 Grand Slam titles to her name – and is still only one major short of equalling Margaret Court’s record of 24 titles. Williams’ name is always there or thereabouts when it comes to any tennistournament – but after four defeats over the last two years in finals, and a semi-final exit at the US Open earlier this month, the American will look to bounce-back from those disappointments as she goes in search of a first Grand Slam title for three years.

Last year: Third Round (lost to Kenin)

Kiki Bertens

Bertens has yet to really make her mark on the major competitions, with a semi-final finish at the 2016 French Open her best result in any of the four tennis Grand Slams. This year, the Dutch player exited in the fourth round of the Australian Open and was absent from Flushing Meadows. She was an early favourite last year at Roland Garros, but was forced to retire through illness. Among the favourites again this year, there’s likely to be some pressure on Bertens to perform, but with women’s singles tennis a lot more open than the men’s competition, she could well finally reach the latter stages of the tournament. 

Last year: Second Round (retired to Viktória Kužmová)

Sofia Kenin

At only 21 years old, Kenin won her first major title this year – at the Australian Open – and in doing so, became the youngest American since Serena Williams in 1999 to win a Grand Slam tournament. Currently the WTA World Number 5, Kenin recently lost against Viktoria Azarenka 6-0, 6-0 at the Italian Open – and after pulling out of the competition at Strasbourg, will set her sights on Roland Garros instead. With the likes of Barty and Osaka absent, this could be her chance to assert herself on the clay courts and even add to her tally of Grand Slam titles.

Last year: Fourth Round (lost to Barty)