Ed McGrogan, Senior Editor: Petra Kvitova
Every contender has questions, even Serena Williams. Kvitova was slotted into a generous quarter of the draw, at least, and she showed the form we were expecting from her this year in Madrid. The time is now for her to turn her season around.
Nina Pantic, Associate Editor: Simona Halep
The biggest things stopping Halep from winning her first major in Paris last year were Maria Sharapova and her own belief. Winning Indian Wells this year and pushing Serena to 7-5 in the third in Miami must give the 23-year-old confidence on both fronts. She may need a little luck, but she has the skill to take advantage of any good fortune that comes her way.
Steve Tignor, Senior Writer: Serena Williams
She’s more vulnerable than usual, but an early test against Victoria Azarenka may be just the spur she needs to send her into the second week in peak form. Once she’s there, history says she’ll probably win it all.
Ed McGrogan, Senior Editor: Novak Djokovic
The way Rafael Nadal is trending, Djokovic may catch him in the first week of next year’s French Open. But it’s hard to imagine the Serb this primed—and this far ahead of the field—ever again. Another Paris shortcoming would be crushing.
Nina Pantic, Associate Editor: Novak Djokovic
This is Nole’s year. He’s had enough heartbreaking losses on Court Philippe Chatrier to know how to overcome them, and he heads into Paris with an incredible 35-2 record. The Serb has beat Roger Federer two out of three times this season, and Nadal is a ghost of himself. This is it.
Steve Tignor, Senior Writer: Novak Djokovic
He’s too good in general, and too good on clay, not to win the French Open at least once in his career. With his own game in cruise control, and Nadal still searching for his, this may be the best chance he ever has to do it.
Women’s Dark Horse
Ed McGrogan, Senior Editor: Garbine Muguruza
It’s hard to not find a dark horse among the lower half of women’s seeds—Svetlana Kuznetsova, Samantha Stosur, and Victoria Azarenka could all qualify. But it’s really hard to forget what Muguruza did to Serena a year ago on the terre battue.
Nina Pantic, Associate Editor: Timea Bacsinszky
Bascinszky has reached three WTA finals this year, including back-to-back tiles in Acapulco and Monterrey. She also reached the quarterfinals at Indian Wells, falling only to Serena Williams. The Swiss has flown under the radar, but there's no reason she can't make another splash in Paris.
Steve Tignor, Senior Writer: Alizé Cornet
Traditionally, the French men have thrived at Roland Garros, while the women have fizzled. Can the 29th-seeded Cornet change that? She upset Halep three weeks ago in Madrid, and she might play her in the third round here.
Men’s Dark Horse
Ed McGrogan, Senior Editor: Nick Kyrgios
Dark horses are often given the label because of advantageous draws, but for a player as talented as Kyrgios, it’s less about the opponent and more about his explosive abilities. He’s a threat to take out anyone—including Andy Murray in the third round.
Nina Pantic, Associate Editor: Nick Kyrgios
The 20-year-old had an impressive run at the Australian Open, reaching his first Grand Slam quarterfinal. He also recently beat Federer 7-6 in the third, on clay. Though he's known to be a bit shaky and injury prone—he pulled out of Rome last week—the stars could align for him again.
Steve Tignor, Senior Writer: Pablo Cuevas
They don’t make many South American dirtballers like this guy anymore. The 29-year-old has won three titles on clay in the last year, and he might be just the guy to spoil a Gael Monfils party in the third round.
Ed McGrogan, Senior Editor: Ana Ivanovic
She’s barely won more than half her matches this season (11-9) and seems to have reverted to the fragile shotmaker who can lose to absolutely anyone. As flimsy a No. 7 seed as they come, a first-round loss to Yaroslava Shvedova isn’t out of the question.
Nina Pantic, Associate Editor: Eugenie Bouchard
It’s possible no one in the Top 10 has had as shaky of a year as Bouchard, except perhaps Ivanovic. The Canadian is 3-7 since reaching the quarterfinals in Melbourne, and new coach Sam Sumyk hasn’t been able to pull her out of her sophomore slump. Worse for the No. 6 seed, she's defending a semifinal finish in Paris.
Steve Tignor, Senior Writer: Eugenie Bouchard
It’s an obvious choice right now, considering the season she’s had. But while Bouchard does tend to save her best for the Slams, she’s got a tricky first-rounder against hometown favorite Kristina Mladenovic, who upset Li Na in her opener last year.
Ed McGrogan, Senior Editor: Marin Cilic
Injured early and struggling lately, it’s been a terrible year for the U.S. Open champion, who is just 4-6. Given his form, it’s hard to see Cilic not being my Wimbledon bust as well. (Don’t expect Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to live up to his No. 14 seed, either.)
Nina Pantic, Associate Editor: Grigor Dimitrov
The world No. 11 has had an average year, reaching just two quarterfinals and one semifinal. Dimitrov’s two biggest wins have been over Stanislas Wawrinka; he’s had far more notable losses, including to Gilles Muller and Ryan Harrison. But his most recent loss—7-6 (9), 4-6, 6-0 to Fabio Fognini in Rome—may be the biggest cause for concern.
Steve Tignor, Senior Writer: Stan Wawrinka
He beat Rafa in Rome last week, then fell to Federico Delbonis is Geneva this week. It’s hard to see how those kinds of swings in form will get him to deep into the draw at Roland Garros.
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