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INTERVIEW: It's Iga Swiatek's world right now.

While the men’s draw has a trio of clear favorites, the women’s has just one: Iga Swiatek. That’s the list. The 2020 Roland Garros champion is ranked and seeded No. 1, and she comes to Paris with a 28-match, five-tournament win streak.

The only question we need to ask right now is: Can anyone catch Iga before she secures French Open No. 2? Here’s a look at who might have the best chance. (View the full draws here.)

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First Quarter

No opponent seems to scare Swiatek at the moment. She isn’t just beating the rest of the tour, she’s woodshedding them on a near-daily basis. But that dominance can build into a pressure of its own. Yes, she’s won five tournaments in a row; now let’s see if she can do it at the one that really matters.

Trying to win a major, and keep a long win streak alive at the same time, can be a mental double whammy. Just ask Novak Djokovic, who had an even longer streak snapped by Roger Federer in the French Open semifinals in 2011. Swiatek herself seemed to be feeling some of that pressure in Rome, where she collapsed in tears of relief after clinching the title.

Fortunately for Swiatek, there’s no Federesque figure in her section. But it’s not without its obstacles. Liudmila Samsonova, her potential third-round opponent, pushed her to the brink in a three-set loss in Stuttgart. Simona Halep, her potential fourth-round opponent, beat her badly in the same round here in 2019, before losing just as badly in 2020. Their most recent meeting, in Indian Wells, was a highly competitive 7-6 (6), 6-4 win for Swiatek.

  • Also here: Jelena Ostapenko, Jessica Pegula, Karolina Pliskova and 2021 semifinalist Tamara Zidansek.
  • First-round matches to watch: Halep vs. Ana Konjuh; Pegula va. Qiang Wang
  • New name to (try to) remember: Tessah Andrianjafitrimo. The 23-year-old French wild card will play Pliskova.

Semifinalist: Swiatek

Iga Swiatek won Roland Garros two years ago, and—scary thought for the field—is a far better player today.

Iga Swiatek won Roland Garros two years ago, and—scary thought for the field—is a far better player today.

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Second Quarter

The top two seeds here, Paula Badosa and Aryna Sabalenka, have the shots and skills needed to challenge Swiatek and win a Slam. But neither has come close to fulfilling that potential in 2022. Badosa has risen to No. 3 in the rankings, but hasn’t won a title since January. Just when Sabalenka seems about to get on track, her game derails again; last week she reached the semifinals in Rome, but lost 2 and 1 to Swiatek.

Still, these are two powerful talents who might conceivably build up a head of steam over two weeks. Badosa could face an opening-round challenge from French wild card Fiona Ferro, and others from Madison Keys and Elena Rybakina. Sabalenka, meanwhile, is in the same half as a pair of past Roland Garros quarterfinalists, Danielle Collins and Daria Kasatkina.

  • Returning: Taylor Townsend. The 26-year-old American will play her first Grand Slam match since 2020 against Carolina Garcia.

Semifinalist: Sabalenka

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Third Quarter

Ons Jabeur and Maria Sakkari, the highest seeds here, have been traveling in opposite directions of late. Since reaching the Indian Wells final in March, Sakkari has struggled to win matches. Jabeur, on the other hand, won 11 in a row in Madrid and Rome, before falling to—you guessed it—Swiatek in the final at the Foro Italico.

Judging by that recent record, you’d probably like Jabeur’s chances of reaching the semifinals in Paris. And her draw won’t hurt those chances: the other three seeds in her half are Emma Raducanu, Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova, who is down to No. 34 in the rankings.

Still, it’s Sakkari, not Jabeur, who made the semifinals at Roland Garros last year, and who is still the higher seed at No. 4. But getting back there won’t be easy: Naomi Osaka, Belinda Bencic, Bianca Andreescu, Amanda Anisimova and Karolina Muchova are all in her half of this section.

  • First-round match to watch: Anisimova vs. Osaka. Anisimova won 7-5 in a third-set tiebreaker when they met at the Australian Open this year.

Semifinalist: Jabeur

#CentreCourtCentennial

#CentreCourtCentennial

We're celebrating the 100th anniversary of the sport's most prestigious battleground by reliving its most memorable matches.

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Fourth Quarter

Barbora Krejcikova: It almost sounds like a name from the past, doesn’t it? Yes, the Czech, who has been out since February with an elbow injury, will return to defend her surprise 2021 title. How healthy, and rusty, might she be? If she’s not 100 percent, it opens up a world of possibilities for a lot of women in this quarter. Most prominent among them are No 5 seed Anett Kontaveit, 2016 champion Garbiñe Muguruza, former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, sometime dirt-baller Coco Gauff, and recent rankings riser Jil Teichmann.

And what about 2018 runner-up Sloane Stephens, who could face Krejcikova in the third round? A Slam semifinal berth would seem to be up for grabs.

Semifinalist: Azarenka

Semifinals: Swiatek d. Sabalenka; Jabeur d. Azarenka

Final: Swiatek d. Jabeur

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Semifinals: Swiatek d. Sabalenka; Jabeur d. Azarenka

Final: Swiatek d. Jabeur