Roland Garros 2019: Who are the favourites to win the women's title at the 2019 French Open?

Hannah Wilks in French Open 10 Apr 2019
  • Defending champion Simona Halep is the favourite to win the French Open in 2019
  • We look at the favourites for the Roland Garros women's singles title in detail
  • The French Open is live from 26 May-9 June 2019

Who are the favourites to win the women's title at the 2019 French Open - and what kind of form are they in during the run-up to Roland Garros?

Defending champion Simona Halep, 23-time major winner Serena Williams or a third consecutive Grand Slam title for Naomi Osaka? There are no shortage of candidates for the women's title at the French Open in 2019.

With the first 16 WTA tournaments of 2019 won by 16 different players and less than 1,000 points separating the top six players in the world at the time of writing, women's tennis is experiencing a period of extreme parity and depth, making the running for the biggest titles extremely open and adding intrigue when it comes to one of the sport's showcase events, like the 2019 French Open.

The second Grand Slam of the season and the only one played on clay, Roland Garros 2019 sees Simona Halep try to become the first player since Justine Henin in 2005-7 to win back-to-back French Open titles, while current world no. 1 Naomi Osaka tries to win a third consecutive Grand Slam after triumphing at the US and Australian Opens and 23-time major winner Serena Williams attempts once more to tie Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles. Jelena Ostapenko, Garbine Muguruza and Svetlana Kuznetsova are also active French Open champions in the field.

But the top favourites also include less proven champions, with Australian Open runner-up Petra Kvitova, WTA Finals Singapore champion Elina Svitolina and 2018 finalist Sloane Stephens among those hotly tipped by the bookmakers.

We're taking a look at the top 10 favourites with the bookmakers to win the 2019 French Open, and analysing their form and results throughout the European clay-court season.

Key battlegrounds in the run-up to Roland Garros

Here are the biggest tournaments taking place in April and May on clay in the run-up to the second Grand Slam of the year, with the 2019 French Open taking place from 26 May-9 June.

Key WTA clay-court tournaments in 2019

Dates EventCategory2018 champion2019 champion
1-7 April 2019Volvo Car Open, CharlestonPremierKiki BertensMadison Keys
22-28 April 2019Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, StuttgartPremierKarolina Pliskova
4-12 May 2019Mutua Madrid Open, MadridPremier MandatoryPetra Kvitova
12-19 May 2019Internazionali BNL d'Italia, RomePremier-5Elina Svitolina

French Open: Player performance

Here are how the best players, including all of this year's top favourites, have fared at the French Open over the years.

French Open player performance: Top women

PlayerTitlesFinalsMain-draw appearancesWin-loss record2018 result
Serena Williams3 (2002, 2013, 2015)1 (2016)1663-12R16 (lost to Maria Sharapova by walkover)
Maria Sharapova2 (2012, 2014)1 (2013)1456-12QF (lost to Garbine Muguruza)
Simona Halep1 (2018)2 (2014, 2017)924-8Champion (d. Sloane Stephens)
Svetlana Kuznetsova1 (2009)1 (2006)1652-12R1 (lost to Garbine Muguruza)
Jelena Ostapenko1 (2017)937-2R1 (lost to Kateryna Kozlova)
Garbine Muguruza1 (2016)0624-5SF (lost to Simona Halep)
Sloane Stephens01 (2018)720-7Runner-up (lost to Simona Halep)
Lucie Safarova01 (2015)1420-14R2 (lost to Karolina Pliskova)
Sara Errani01 (2012)1121-11R1 (lost to Alize Cornet)
Samantha Stosur1 (2010)1539-15R3 (lost to Garbine Muguruza)
Elina Svitolina00615-6R3 (lost to Mihaela Buzarnescu)
Kiki Bertens00711-7R3 (lost to Angelique Kerber)
Naomi Osaka0034-3R3 (lost to Madison Keys)
Petra Kvitova001023-10R3 (lost to Anett Kontaveit)
Karolina Pliskova0079-7R3 (lost to Maria Sharapova)
Angelique Kerber001117-11QF (lost to Simona Halep)

Simona Halep

The reigning French Open champion comes into the European clay-court season as the favourite to lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen once again - although that may change in ensuing weeks.

Halep has featured in the French Open final for three of the past five years, finishing runner-up to Maria Sharapova in 2014 and suffering a heartbreaking defeat despite leading by a set and a break against Jelena Ostapenko in 2017, before coming back from a set and a break down herself against Sloane Stephens in 2018. The Romanian has been frank about how much of a difference winning that maiden Grand Slam title has meant, and some wondered whether she might be set for her best season yet in 2019, able to swing freely with that pressure off her shoulders.

It hasn't really worked out that way so far, with Halep yet to win a title in 2019, although she did make the Qatar Total Open final in Doha (losing to Elise Mertens) and the semifinals of the Miami Open (losing to Karolina Pliskova). Everything depends really on whether Halep can build up a head of steam coming into the French Open with some big results on the clay.

Best odds to win the French Open: 5/1 @ bet365

Clay-court schedule: Fed Cup, Stuttgart, Madrid, Rome, Roland Garros

Serena Williams

The French Open has always been Serena Williams's least successful major, with a mere three titles to her credit - winning the tournament in 2002, then taking 11 years to recapture the title in 2013 (d. Maria Sharapova), following that with a title in 2015 (d. Lucie Safarova) and a runner-up finish to Garbine Muguruza in 2016. 

Williams missed the 2017 French Open due to being on maternity leave, and in 2018 came in having played only two events so far that season (neither of them on clay). She made the round of 16 before giving a walkover to Maria Sharapova due to a pectoral injury, and went on to reach the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open, although she won neither. 

Staying fit has appeared to be Williams's biggest challenge in 2019. She looked great at the Australian Open until rolling her ankle when serving for the match against Karolina Pliskova, suffering a surprising defeat from there; she retired against Garbine Muguruza at Indian Wells with illness and then gave a walkover to Wang Qiang after one match in Miami due to a knee injury. Reportedly planning to play just one clay-court event in the run-up to the French Open, Rome, the 37-year-old Williams is still the favourite against virtually any player on any given day if fit - but her movement appears to have suffered over the past couple of seasons, and Roland Garros is where that factor is likeliest to tell against her. 

Best odds to win the French Open: 8/1 @ Ladbrokes

Clay-court schedule: Rome, Roland Garros

Elina Svitolina

It's a little surprising to see the bookmakers making Elina Svitolina the third favourite to win the French Open, given the Ukrainian player has never made it past the quarterfinals of any Grand Slam and is currently rehabbing a knee injury.

A Svitolina win isn't a totally outlandish proposition, though. The 24-year-old has won a big title (Rome) on clay for the past two years, and proved her readiness to challenge for the biggest titles when she triumphed at the season-ending WTA Finals in 2018. Roland Garros has also always looked like the likeliest place for the Ukrainian to win her first major title, if she is to make that breakthrough. 

But Svitolina, despite her successful attempts to add much more aggression to her game, will always be vulnerable to a power player who can blow her off the court on a good day. Moreover, although she's 16-3 in 2019, she hasn't won a title and after making the semifinals of Indian Wells, suffered a shock defeat in Miami to Wang Yafan before announcing she was taking time out to recover from a knee injury. It's a lot for the world no. 6 to contend with coming into the clay-court season.

Best odds to win the French Open: 10/1 @ William Hill

Clay-court schedule: Stuttgart, Madrid, Rome, Roland Garros

Garbine Muguruza

Like Halep and Williams and unlike Elina Svitolina, Garbine Muguruza is a player of proven champion quality when it comes to winning major titles, having beaten Williams herself to win her first Grand Slam title at the French Open in 2016 and, the following year, capturing the Wimbledon title with a win over Venus Williams.

Muguruza suffered a crisis of form in 2018, however, winning just one small title (Monterrey) and failing to defend her Wimbledon title. The Spaniard still made it to the semifinals of the French Open, however, despite having to face some tough opponents. 

Muguruza defended her Monterrey title this year and did get her first win over a top-10 player since last February, but she continues to look like she's struggling for confidence and with an increasingly ineffectual and error-prone forehand. Roland Garros does seem to bring the best out of the Spanish player, but one suspects she would need a really solid run at one of the big clay-court events if she is to be considered a real threat for the French Open title.

Best odds to win the French Open: 14/1 @ William Hill

Clay-court schedule: Stuttgart, Madrid, Rome, Roland Garros

Sloane Stephens

The fourth Grand Slam champion on the list, Sloane Stephens proved that she can manufacture a dazzling winning run out of nowhere when she won the US Open title in 2017 despite having played just four events since the previous August.

Stephens backed up her US Open win with the Miami Open title and a run to the French Open final in 2018, beating Anett Kontaveit, Daria Kasatkina and Madison Keys and totally out-playing Simona Halep for a set and a half before the Romanian clawed her way back in and Stephens's legs failed her slightly in the final set. 

The unbelievably streaky Stephens has a blend of power, athleticism and variety in her game which really gives her a look at beating just about anybody - but she is also incredibly inconsistent, making it impossible to predict when she will play like a world-beater and when she'll just play. With an unimpressive 8-7 record so far in 2019, it's not impossible that Stephens could go winless through the clay-court season and then catch fire at the French Open, but getting some good wins under her belt on European clay certainly wouldn't hurt her chances.

Best odds to win the French Open: 16/1 @ Coral

Clay-court schedule: Stuttgart, Madrid, Rome, Roland Garros

Kiki Bertens

Another player who it's possible to argue bookmakers are rating too highly coming into the French Open is Kiki Bertens.

The Dutch player is currently ranked world no. 7 and has reached the semifinals of the French Open before, doing so in 2016. She is an incredible clay-court player, who proved herself to be a threat on all surfaces when she made the quarterfinals of Wimbledon and won Cincinnati and Seoul on hard courts in 2018, and unlike most of the players currently above her on this list, she has won a title in 2018, claiming the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy.

Bertens didn't look very impressive in Indian Wells and Miami, though, and her Charleston title defense was ended early by Maria Sakkari. Defeated by Angelique Kerber in the third round of the French Open in 2018 when she was considered a potential favourite, Bertens has runner-up points to defend in Madrid if she is to maintain her ranking and the Dutch player's form in the biggest events has not been too formidable so far in 2019.

Best odds to win the French Open: 16/1 @ BetVictor 

Clay-court schedule: Stuttgart, Madrid, Rome, Roland Garros

Naomi Osaka

Could Naomi Osaka become the first player since Serena Williams to win three majors in a row?

After the Japanese-Haitian player followed her sensational US Open triumph in 2018 by battling to the Australian Open title in 2019, becoming the first player since Jennifer Capriati to win their first and second major titles at back-to-back Grand Slam titles, anything is definitely possible. Osaka has never been past the third round at the French Open, but then she had never been past the third round at the US Open before she won it, either. 

Osaka's clay-court credentials remain unproven, however - she has a worse record on clay (22-21) than she does on any other surface, compared to 124-77 on hard courts and 17-12 on grass. She won no main-draw matches on European clay in 2017, and only three in 2018. That may help Osaka a little in terms of lowering the expectations on her, something she has admitted to struggling with since winning in Melbourne, but her results haven't been brilliant in her last three events as she failed to defend her Indian Wells title with a 3-6, 1-6 defeat to Belinda Bencic and lost her way from a winning position against Su-Wei Hsieh in Miami. There may well be a French Open title in Osaka's future, but her clay-court game definitely remains a work in progress.

Best odds to win the French Open: 16/1 @ BoyleSports 

Clay-court schedule: Stuttgart, Madrid, Rome, Roland Garros

Petra Kvitova

This may be the highest-favoured Petra Kvitova has ever been to win the French Open - and with good reason.

The two-time Wimbledon champion has found what is, for her, a remarkable degree of consistency over the past couple of years, going 47-17 and winning five titles (two of them - Prague and Madrid - on clay), and seemingly overcoming her Grand Slam 'yips' when she powered to the Australian Open final in January, losing to Naomi Osaka in three sets. Kvitova has gone on to finish runner-up to Belinda Bencic in Dubai and although she lost early to Venus Williams at Indian Wells from a winning position, she made the quarterfinals in Miami - a very good result for her.

But Kvitova, a French Open champion? It's hard to see. Kvitova has only been past the quarterfinals once at Roland Garros, and that was in 2012 when she made the semifinals (with a rather soft draw - she faced no seeded players until losing to Maria Sharapova). While quite comfortable on clay, Kvitova's flat ball-striking doesn't have the same lethal effectiveness that it does on other surfaces; it's no coincidence that she's won Madrid, with its high-altitude conditions, twice but never been past the quarterfinals in Rome. The Czech would have to be both quite lucky and very, very consistently good to win Roland Garros.

Best odds to win the French Open: 16/1 @ Paddy Power

Clay-court schedule: Stuttgart, Madrid, Rome, Roland Garros

Karolina Pliskova

Oddly enough, of the two Czechs on this list, Karolina Pliskova is the one who might be a much more likely French Open champion. The 27-year-old 6'1" Czech is perfectly comfortable on clay, reaching the semifinals of the French Open in 2017 before falling to Simona Halep in three sets and recording a good clay-court season in 2018 when she won Stuttgart and reached the semifinals in Madrid, unfortunate in some ways to run into Maria Sharapova in the third round of Roland Garros, although the heaviness of her defeat was a bit concerning.

Pliskova, runner-up at the US Open in 2016, has quietly turned herself into one of the WTA Tour's most consistent performers and is having a great season in 2019 so far, compiling a 25-5 win-loss record through the first three months of the season with a title in Brisbane, a semifinal run at the Australian Open and a runner-up finish in Miami. Seemingly well content with a coaching team of Rennae Stubbs and Conchita Martinez, Pliskova has made the quarterfinals or better of seven of the last ten Grand Slams and the big-serving Czech looks, at this point, like an excellent pick for potential French Open champion.

Best odds to win the French Open: 20/1 @ William Hill

Clay-court schedule: Stuttgart, Prague, Madrid, Rome

Angelique Kerber

A victory at the French Open would see Angelique Kerber join the small club of those who have completed a career Grand Slam - but how likely is it to happen in 2019?

In 11 main-draw appearances, Kerber has reached the quarterfinals of Roland Garros twice - in 2012 when she lost to Sara Errani, and in 2018 when she lost to Simona Halep - and lost in the first round in both 2016 and 2017, although if you look at the list of players she has been defeated by at the French Open, there are some impressive names on there (Svetlana Kuznetsova, Garbine Muguruza, Kiki Bertens, Ekaterina Makarova). 

Still, the French Open is undeniably Kerber's least successful Grand Slam and clay courts her least successful surface - she's won Charleston on green clay and Stuttgart indoors twice, but never an outdoor clay-court title.

The German left-hander isn't on superbly good form in 2019 so far, either - she made the final of Indian Wells (losing to Bianca Andreescu) but that run was a little lucky, and overall she's 16-7 with defeats to a variety of opponents who might very well be dangerous floaters at Roland Garros.

Best odds to win the French Open: 20/1 @ William Hill

Clay-court schedule: Stuttgart, Madrid, Rome

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Roland Garros 2019: Who are the favourites to win the women's title at the 2019 French Open?

Defending champion Simona Halep, 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams and WTA Finals Singapore champion Elina Svitolina are among the favourites for the women's singles title at the 2019 French Open, live from Roland Garros, Paris from 26 May-9 June

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