Welcome to the WTA French Open preview edition of "This Week in Tennis." Below you will be given a rundown of the top eight seeds, players to watch, and pointed in the direction of intriguing first round matches at tennis' second Grand Slam. Click here for the ATP French Open preview.
(1) Angelique Kerber
Best Result: QF - 2012
2017 Clay Results: R16 - Stuttgart, Madrid The world number one has suffered through an indifferent start to her 2017 season, reaching at least the quarterfinals in only four events, with one final in Monterrey. Having lost in the first round in Paris last year, Kerber at least has a good chance to pad her lead atop the women's rankings.
(2) Karolína Plíšková
Best Result: 2R - 2014, 2015
2016 Clay Results: QF - Stuttgart, Rome
Prior to last year's U.S. Open, the second seed had never reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam. After making the final in New York, and the quarters in Australia, Pliskova will now look to improve upon two second round showings in Paris. Prior Slam results are no longer a predictive tool for the world #3.
(3) Simona Halep
Best Result: F - 2015
2017 Clay Results: W - Madrid, F - Rome, SF - Stuttgart
A finalist in 2015, Simona Halep had the most accomplished clay court season of any WTA player heading into this year's French Open. Unfortunately for the world #4, she enters the event carrying an ankle injury that may hinder her hopes of capturing a maiden Grand Slam title. She also has the misfortune of a potential quarterfinal meeting with Svitolina.
(4) Garbine Muguruza
Best Result: W - 2016
2017 Clay Results: SF - Rome, R16 - Stuttgart
Muguruza is defending champion, but few are picking her to win the title. She endured an extended slump after winning her first major in Paris last year. She showed signs of a resurgence by making the semifinals in Rome. Unfortunately, she injured her neck prior to the match and was forced to retire. For the optimists out there, her pre-Roland Garros 2016 season was underwhelming and she still walked away with the title.
(5) Elina Svitolina Best Result: QF - 2015
2017 Clay Results: W - Rome,
One of the favourites in Paris, Svitolina is in the midst of a stellar 2017 campaign. She arrives at Roland Garros fresh off a big win in Rome, where she beat one of the hottest clay court players this season in the final (Halep). Roland Garros is also the site of her sole Slam quarterfinal showing to date.
(6) Dominika Cibulkova
Best Result: SF - 2009 2017 Clay Results: No results in the round of 16 or better
After a stellar 2016 campaign, capped by winning the WTA Finals in Singapore, Cibulkova has suffered through injury and disappointing results to date in 2017. She also faces a tough quarter with Arruabarrena in the first round and Venus, Mladenovic, and Muguruza blocking her path to the semis. Still, Roland Garros is where she made her first deep Slam run in 2009 (semifinalist).
One of the best hard court players on the WTA Tour, Konta will do well to make the second week in Paris. She has never won a match at Roland Garros in her career, but has at least shown improved form on the red dirt leading up to this year's event.
(8) Svetlana Kuznetsova
Best Result: W - 2009 2017 Clay Results: SF - Madrid, R16 - Stuttgart, Rome
Eight years removed from her last Grand Slam title, Kuznetsova enters the 2017 French Open -- site of her second and last Slam triumph -- as one of the favourites. In a field missing Serena Williams, and considered to be one of the most wide open in recent memory, Kuznetsova has the pedigree and skill to hold the trophy at fortnight's end.
Kristina Mladenovic - Seeded #13; popular pick to go deep in a wide open field after breakout 2017. She was runner-up at both Stuttgart and Madrid, taking out Sharapova in her 2017 debut.
Petra Kvitova - The former world #2 is making a surprise, early return to the WTA in Paris. While not much is expected of Kvitova, having her back after a shocking knife attack in December will brighten the proceedings no matter her finish.
Venus Williams - On the cusp of turning 37, Venus comes off a quarterfinal in Rome and solid 2017. Her runner-up finish in Australia this year shows she's not quite done yet. Francesca Schiavone - One last hurrah in Paris for the retiring 2010 champion; unfortunately, she drew defending champ Muguruza in the first round.
FIRST ROUND INTRIGUE
(1) Kerber vs Makarova Kvitova vs Boserup (4) Muguruza vs Schiavone (10) V Williams vs Wang Bouchard vs Ozaki (12) Keys vs Barty Lepchenko vs Petkovic Cirstea vs Peng (20) Strycova vs Riske
There are only three former champions in the draw: Muguruza, Kuznetsova, and Schiavone.
Serena Williams, defending finalist from 2016, will miss her first Grand Slam in six years (2011 French Open) as she is expecting her first child.
Schiavone (#17 in 2010) is the lowest ranked woman in the Open Era to win Roland Garros. She is also playing in her final Roland Garros after announcing she will retire at the end of 2017.