French Open: Angelique Kerber out in front of an open field for Paris title

Germany's Angelique Kerber
Germany's Angelique Kerber
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With Serena Williams expecting her first child and the French Open organisers deciding against awarding Maria Sharapova a wild-card, Roland Garros is set to be an open affair in the women’s draw.

The two legends have more French Open titles between them – five – than the entire field combined, emphasising their recent dominance of the women’s game.

Johanna Konta of . Picture: AP/Rafiq Maqbool

Johanna Konta of . Picture: AP/Rafiq Maqbool

Svetlana Kuznetsova, Francesca Schiavone and current champion Gabriñe Muguruza are the remaining active players to win on the clay of Paris, and the last two meet in round one this time around.

Britain’s Johanna Konta is seemingly just one win away from cementing herself among the elite in tennis, having already claimed two titles this year, at the Miami and Sydney Opens.

Konta, seeded seventh, meets world No 109 Su-Wei Hsieh, of Chienese Taipei, in round one with a potential meeting with Agneiszka Radwanska in the last 32.

Angelique Kerber is the current world No 1, and the bookmakers’ favourite for the event, and it is hard not to see her as the finest woman in the game today.

The German faces a tricky assignment first up against world No 40 Ekaterina Makarova.

Karolina Pliskova is another who has taken the 2017 tour by storm, with victories in Qatar and Brisbane seeing her climb to a career high of three in the world rankings.

Two other contenders to watch out for are Eugenie Bouchard and Kristina Mladenovic.

Bouchard has recently found a new aggression and tempo to her game, knocking Sharapova out of the Madrid Open being a good indicator that the Canadian is not to be taken lightly.

Mladenovic is a fresh name on the circuit, having risen to a career-best 14th in the WTA rankings after a blistering run of form in 2017.

Eyes will also be on two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova’s comeback six months after she was stabbed in the hand by an attacker in her home.

The 27-year-old Czech will complete her return to tennis against Julia Boserup.

Britain’s Heather Watson failed to make the main draw after losing 6-3 6-0 to Richael Hogenkamp in qualifying.

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