The French Open is one of the four grand slam tournaments of tennis and the only grand slam that is played on clay. It is the second grand slam to happen every year, usually held over two weeks between late May and early June at the Stade Roland Garros which is named after the French aviator Roland Garros.
Because it takes seven rounds to win the title and the fact that there is no tiebreak in the final set, it is considered to be the most physically demanding tennis tournament in the world. This year’s French Open is the 123rd edition of the tournament and will run from May 26 to June 9, 2019.
The first ever French Open tournament happened in 1891 as the Championnat de France and was won by H. Briggs, a Briton residing in Paris. In the early years, the tournament was held exclusively for members of French clubs. This exclusivity lasted until 1924. The women’s tournament was first held in 1897 while the mixed doubles was added in 1902. The women’s doubles made its debut in 1907.
Officially, the French Open is called Championnats Internationaux de France de tennis and Tournoi de Roland-Garros (the “French International Championships of Tennis”. However it is widely popular as the French Open or simply Roland Garros.
Last year Simona Halep won her first grand slam tournament by defeating former world #1 Garbine Muguruza in the semifinals and then toppling Sloane Stephens in the finals. Earlier this year, Halep returns to Paris to defend her title from a loaded field. Get our prediction for the 2019 Men’s French Open.
Simona Halep was the WTA Player of the year in 2018 when she won her first grand slam title at the 2018 French Open. The 27-year old is the third Romanian to be ranked in the Top 10 by the WTA. Halep has been the #1 ranked player in the world on two occasions. Halep has made the French Open Finals three times in the last five years and she is coming off a Finals appearance at the recently concluded Madrid Open.
Naomi Osaka is the world’s #1 ranked female tennis player. The 21-year old from Japan has won the last two major tournaments. Her breakthrough came when she defeated Serena Williams at the 2018 U.S. Open. She followed that up with a strong victory at the 2019 Australian Open to ascend to the top of the WTA rankings.
Karolina Pliskova is currently the #2 ranked tennis player in the world. The 27-year old from the Czech Republic entered the 2019 French Open fresh off a victory at the 2019 Italian Open. A month ago, she also finished runner-up at the Stuttgart Open. Her highest finish at Roland Garros was a semifinals appearance in 2017.
Sloane Stephens was the losing finalist at Roland Garros last year. The 26-year old American was the 2017 U.S. Open champion and is the #7 ranked player in the world in the current WTA rankings. Stephens was in the semi-finals of the Madrid Open where she lost to eventual champion Kiki Bertens.
Serena Williams was the early betting favorite for the French Open. The 23-time grand slam tournament winner is a three-time winner at Roland Garros, winning in 2002, 2013 and 2015. Williams has made it to the finals of the French Open in three out of her last five appearances. She is currently the #10-ranked player in the world.
Naomi Osaka is coming off an impressive second-round win over former world #1 Victoria Azarenka in the second round of the French Open. In that match, Osaka rallied back from a set down to win a dramatic three-hour encounter. To me, the win showed Osaka’s grit, poise and ability to rise above the challenge.
But while Osaka has won two grand slam tournaments in a row, both events were played on hard court surface. The French Open is played on clay and Osaka has never made it past round 3 in three French Open appearances.
Having said that, I think Simona Halep has the best five-year resume at Roland Garros and she is the defending champion. Serena Williams can never be underestimated in any tournament and I was looking forward to making Kiki Bertens as my dark horse pick but as we all know, she retired in the Round of 64. I like Karolina Pliskova heading to this tournament as she won the last tournament prior to the French Open.
Prediction: I’m picking Simona Halep to win the 2019 French Open plus adding Karolina Pliskova as my dark horse pick.