French Open 2021 will be the final showdown of the Clay season as the Grand Slam will be the last major Clay tournament before the season will shift its focus from the soil to the Grass season.
While on the ATP Tour, Rafael Nadal has dominated at the Roland Garros, there has been no similar domination on the WTA Tour. Ever since the hattrick of titles by former World No. 1 Justine Henin from 2005-2007, no other player has been able to defend their crown in over 13 years.
While Maria Sharapova did manage to reach 3 consecutive finals between 2012 and 2014, she could win only in 2012 and 2014, losing out to 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams who won the title in 2013 and 2015 after winning her first French Open title in 2002.
From the 2016 season, every year the French Open has seen a new winner and as the excitement for this year’s tournament is increasing day-by-day, let’s take a look at some of the promising youngsters who can win their maiden French Open title repeating defending champion Iga Swiatek‘s feat who won the title at the age of 18 at the 2020 French Open. The players have been listed as per the latest WTA Rankings.
Aryna Sabalenka is the current World No. 4 and has been in amazing form this year especially on Clay. The Belarusian has played 3 tournaments on Clay this season reaching the finals in 2 tournaments, first at the Stuttgart Open 2021 where she was defeated in the finals by Ashleigh Barty in 3-sets.
She later got her revenge in the finals of the Madrid Open 2021 a week later when she defeated Barty in 3-sets to win her 10th career singles titles. The 23-year old was one of the hot-favourite at the Italian Open 2021 was but was defeated in the Round of 16. She will reach the French Open 2021 with a 11-2 record on Clay for the season.
Sofia Kenin occupies the 5th spot on the WTA rankings and is another title contender at this year’s French Open. While the 22-year old is yet to register her first win on Clay this season, as her season was affected by a leg injury followed by an abdominal surgery in the first two months of the year.
What makes her a contender is her previous result at the Roland Garros. The then 21-year old Sofia was the finalist at the 2020 French Open after playing some sensational tennis throughout the tournament and staging a comeback in 4 out of the 7 matches she played. While she has not had much of match practice, her past record will definitely be a confidence booster for the American.
The World No. 7 from Canada, 20-year old Bianca Andreescu is also a young contender who has the potential to go all the way. Although she has not played many matches on Clay, but in her short career so far, she has maintained her winning rate on clay more than 50%. She also suffered an injury setback during the 2nd set of her finals at the 2021 Miami Open which kept her out of action for a while.
She is currently at the WTA Strasbourg Open 2021 where she is top seed and has won both of her matches easily, continuing her amazing form she had before her injury. She did not participate in the 2020 French Open due to the Pandemic, meaning her Round of 64 defeat at the 2019 French Open remains the best result for the 20-year old.
Karolina Muchova is another young title contender at the French Open 2021. The 24-year old Czech national has looked great this season being 11-3 for the season. On the clay she has however tasted a little success being 3-2, but she has the potential to cause upsets as having played great on Clay when she began her career.
The World No. 19 has already registered win over World No. 2 Naomi Osaka and World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty and will surely look to use that confidence at the upcoming French Open.
Cori “Coco” Gauff
17-year old Coco Gauff is in some great form on Clay this year. The American reached the semi-finals at the Italian Open 2021 losing to eventual champion Iga Swiatek. Playing next at the WTA Parma Open 2021, she went a step further and clinched the title as she made two consecutive semi-final appearances.
Coco who is ranked World No. 25 in the WTA Rankings is currently 12-3 on the season and will go to Paris full of confidence chasing her first Grand Slam title at the Roland Garros. She had reached the Round of 64 at the 2020 French Open and looks to go way past the second round this time.
20-year old Clara Burel who is currently ranked 146 is another contender who stands a chance to win the title. She was the World No. 1 on the junior level as she reached the finals of the Juniors Australian Open 2018 and also the Juniors US Open 2018 while also winning 2 medals at the Youth Olympics 2018, Silver’s in the singles category and Bronze in the mixed-doubles.
French Open 2021 will begin from the 30th May, 2021 and will have it’s Women’s Singles finals on the 12th June,2021.