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Defending champ Swiatek seeded first, Sabalenka second, Gauff sixth at French Open

Iga Swiatek Iga Swiatek - The Canadian Press

PARIS (AP) — Here are the top women to watch at the French Open, which begins at Roland Garros on Sunday:



Seeded: 1

Career-Best Ranking: 1

Country: Poland

Age: 21 (Turns 22 on May 31)

2023 Record: 28-6

2023 Titles: 2

Career Titles: 13

Grand Slam Titles: 3 — French Open (2020, 2022), U.S. Open (2022)

Last 5 French Opens: 2022-Won Championship, 2021-Lost in Quarterfinals, 2020-W, 2019-4th, 2018-Did Not Play

The Bracket: Could face No. 6 Coco Gauff in the quarterfinals; would be a rematch of last year's final.

Aces: Career mark of 21-2 at French Open is by far her best at a major. ... Last year’s title was part of a stretch in which she won six consecutive tournaments and compiled a 37-match winning streak, the longest on tour in a quarter of a century. ... Took over at No. 1 in the rankings after Ash Barty's surprising retirement in early 2022. ... Stopped playing at the Italian Open this month because of a right thigh injury.

She Said It: “The whole tour is moving forward and kind of playing better and better every year. You need to catch up and also, like, be on the path of moving forward and improving.” — On staying on top.



Seeded: 2

Career-Best Ranking: 2

Country: Belarus

Age: 25

2023 Record: 29-5

2023 Titles: 3

Career Titles: 13

Grand Slam Titles: 1 — Australian Open (2023)

Last 5 French Opens: 2022-3rd, 2021-3rd, 2020-3rd, 2019-2nd, 2018-1st

The Bracket: Faces Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine in the first round.

Aces: First career Grand Slam title came in January at Melbourne Park. She credited both an improved serve — she worked with a biomechanics expert to retool the motion — and improved outlook. ... French Open is only major where she hasn't reached the semifinals. ... Power-based game has been translating well to clay, including two titles in the past three years in Madrid. Beat Iga Swiatek in the final there this month.

She Said It: “When you have a target, if you have really big motivation, it’s not, like, easier, but you have a goal behind all those tough practices. It’s easier to keep going. When it’s tough, you remind yourself why you’re doing it.” — On how she stays eager to win.



Seeded: 3

Career-Best Ranking: 3

Country: United States

Age: 29

2023 Record: 25-9

2023 Titles: Zero

Career Titles: 2

Grand Slam Titles: None — Best: Quarterfinals, French Open (2021, 2022, 2023), Australian Open (2022), U.S. Open (2022)

Last 5 French Opens: 2022-QF, 2021-3rd, 2020-1st, 2019-1st, 2018-DNP

The Bracket: Faces 2022 Australian Open runner-up Danielle Collins in an all-American first-round matchup.

Aces: Reached the WTA Finals for the first time last season after cracking the Top 10 for the first time. ... Breakthrough season included three Slam quarterfinals before a loss to the No. 1 seed and eventual champion each time: Ash Barty at Australian Open; Iga Swiatek at French Open and U.S. Open. ... Coached by David Witt, who used to work with Venus Williams. ... Parents own NFL’s Buffalo Bills and NHL’s Buffalo Sabres.

She Said It: “For me, it’s just like the waiting around. The buildup. I’m usually kind of freaking out in practice a little bit. Everything starts to bother me a little bit more. The strings start to bother me. Certain courts.” — On nerves entering a major tournament.



Seeded: 4

Career-Best Ranking: 4

Country: Kazakhstan

Age: 23

2023 Record: 28-7

2023 Titles: 2

Career Titles: 5

Grand Slam Titles: 1 — Wimbledon (2022)

Last 5 French Opens: 2022-3rd, 2021-QF, 2020-2nd, 2019-1st, 2018-DNP

The Bracket: Could face No. 7 Ons Jabeur in the quarterfinals.

Aces: At past three majors, collected one championship (at Wimbledon) and one runner-up trophy (at the Australian Open). ... Nearly completed the so-called Sunshine Double, winning title at Indian Wells, California, in March, then reaching final at Miami in April. ... Picked up clay title at Italian Open. ... Big serve is as dangerous as any tour; has 278 aces this season, more than 50 more than anyone else.

She Said It: “I can play good on all the surfaces. It’s just maybe for clay I need to be ready more physically and maybe have a lot of preparation.” — On what's different about clay for her.



Seeded: 5

Career-Best Ranking: 4

Country: France

Age: 29

2023 Record: 20-11

2023 Titles: Zero

Career Titles: 11

Grand Slam Titles: None — Best: Semifinals, U.S. Open (2022)

Last 5 French Opens: 2022-2nd, 2021-2nd, 2020-4th, 2019-2nd, 2018-4th

The Bracket: Could face 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko in fourth round.

Aces: Biggest title of career came at season-ending WTA Finals in November. ... Reached singles quarterfinals once in 12 Roland Garros appearances, in 2017. ... Won French Open doubles titles in 2016 and 2022. ... Split from coach Bertrand Perret late in 2022, then reunited last month. ... Revealed last year she dealt with bulimia, triggered by losses on court and pain from a foot injury.

She Said It: “You always want to do better, but you start to compare yourself to what it was (like) last year, but I don’t think it’s a very good mindset. So that’s what I’m working on — to just focus on the present and to see what I can do better (than) yesterday only.” — On moving forward from a successful end of last season.



Seeded: 6

Career-Best Ranking: 4

Country: United States

Age: 19

2023 Record: 18-8

2023 Titles: 1

Career Titles: 3

Grand Slam Titles: None — Best: Runner-Up, French Open (2022)

Last 5 French Opens: 2022-RU, 2021-QF, 2020-2nd, 2019-DNP, 2018-DNP

The Bracket: Could face No. 11 Veronika Kudermetova or 2017 U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys in fourth round.

Aces: French Open marks her 15th Slam appearance. ... Run to last year's finals in singles and doubles (with Jessica Pegula) at Roland Garros was a major breakthrough for the teenager. ... Has been ranked No. 1 in doubles. ... In 2022, became youngest American woman since 1994 to qualify for the WTA Finals in singles. Also earned doubles berth.

She Said It: “The biggest thing for me is, once I go up, to keep going even higher. I don’t think you want to put a ceiling on yourself.” — On her outlook as she makes progress in tennis.



Seeded: 7

Career-Best Ranking: 2

Country: Tunisia

Age: 29

2023 Record: 11-6

2023 Titles: 1

Career Titles: 4

Grand Slam Titles: None — Best: Runner-Up, Wimbledon (2022), U.S. Open (2022)

Last 5 French Opens: 2022-1st, 2021-4th, 2020-4th, 2019-1st, 2018-DNP

The Bracket: Could face two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the fourth round.

Aces: Breakthrough 2022 included runs to the finals at Wimbledon and U.S. Open, but also a surprising first-round exit at Roland Garros. ... First woman from North Africa and first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam final. ... Represented by management company founded by Naomi Osaka and her agent. ... Husband is her fitness trainer.

She Said It: “We’re always adapting to anything. We travel a lot, jet lag, different hotel, different pillow. I don’t know — just different conditions, different air. We’re always adapting anyway. I feel like it’s part of our job.” — On life on tour.



Seeded: 13

Career-Best Ranking: 2

Country: Czech Republic

Age: 27

2023 Record: 19-9

2023 Titles: 1

Career Titles: 6

Grand Slam Titles: 1 — French Open (2021)

Last 5 French Opens: 2022-1st, 2021-W, 2020-4th, 2019-DNP, 2018-1st

The Bracket: Could face two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka or 2019 U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu in the third round.

Aces: Won singles and doubles trophies in Paris two years ago. ... In 2022, arrived coming off an elbow injury and lost in the first round of singles — only the third woman in the professional era to exit in the first round at Roland Garros a year after earning the trophy — then withdrew from doubles after saying she tested positive for COVID-19. ... Won the title at Dubai this February by beating top three women in the rankings — Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Jessica Pegula.

She Said It: “Definitely I’m going to have this in my mind throughout the season.” — On her run in Dubai.


Howard Fendrich has been the AP’s tennis writer since 2002. Follow him on Twitter at


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