Draw opening up a land of opportunity

Several seeds have departed the women's bottom half, leaving plenty of promising storylines on offer

Amanda Anisimova, 3e tour, Roland-Garros 2022 ©Nicolas Gouhier / FFT
 - Alex Sharp

The talk on the top half of the women’s draw is justifiably being dominated by the red-hot 30-match winning streak of world No.1 Iga Swiatek

Scroll down to the bottom half and you’ll see a selection of exceptional players, but with several marquee names missing.

Within the first five action-packed days of Roland-Garros, the defending champion Barbora Krejcikova and in-form sixth seed Ons Jabeur have departed.

Adding to the list of seeded exits are 2021 semi-finalist Maria Sakkari, No.5 seed Anett Kontaveit, US Open winner Emma Raducanu and former champion Garbine Muguruza.

Still vying for a deep run into the second week are Grand Slam champions, world-class competitors on the comeback trail and youngsters out carving their own path to the top.

Here are a quartet of bottom half standout talents poised to make their mark in Paris.

Ons Jabeur, 1er tour, Roland-Garros 2022©Corinne Dubreuil / FFT

Kerber embracing the now

Former world No.1 Angelique Kerber has pretty much done it all. 

In the German’s trophy cabinet at her academy sits the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open trophies. Well, Roland-Garros has been a mixed bag for the 34-year-old.

Kerber has fallen in the first round on eight trips to Paris, together with two quarter-finals posted in 2012 and 2018.

Last week, Kerber lifted the Strasbourg trophy thanks to some outrageous shot-making against five top-100 opponents. In current form, the world No.17 is a danger to the draw.

“Everyone knows that clay is not my favourite surface,” admitted Kerber, with a seemingly fresh perspective on the terre battue.

“It's just this year I just try to play every single match not looking too much ahead.

“I'm thankful that I can still play, that I'm healthy, that I can still beat the young players, that I can be on the big stages.

"I'm trying to work hard, then play for these matches when you are out there, having the crowd, feeling the energy out there. I love this sport. This is why I'm still here.”

Bencic due a deep dive

The way world No.14 Belinda Bencic nullified the threat of Bianca Andreescu in the second round proves that the Swiss has plenty of potential in Paris.

The Tokyo 2020 gold medallist has only reached the last 32 once before (2019), but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

Injuries hampered several attempts to compile a title charge in Paris and the Swiss was also girls’ champion here in just 2013.

Leylah Fernandez stands in the way between Bencic and a place in the last-16.

Bencic gaining momentum into the second week would provide essential viewing.

Belinda Bencic Roland-Garros 2022 2e tour©Julien Crosnier / FFT

Rewind to 2019 for Amanda

Amanda Anisimova’s clay-court credentials have never been in doubt.

Take this summer, the American has secured two quarter-finals and a semi-final en route to Roland-Garros, dishing out plenty of defeats to seeded rivals along the way.

The world No.28 laid down an impressive marker 7-5, 6-4 in the popcorn first-round clash with Naomi Osaka.

Remember, Anisimova made her Grand Slam breakout at Roland-Garros 2019, with eventual champion Ashleigh Barty inching past the then teenage protégé in a three-set thriller in the semi-finals.

Amanda Anisimova, Roland Garros 2022, first round© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Coco ready to gogo far

Somehow it isn’t surprising that Coco Gauff keeps notching up major wins - the American is still only 18 years old.

In her favourite city, the world No.23 was a junior champion in 2018.

Three years later, Gauff chalked up her best Grand Slam showing to date with a quarter-final run.

Krejcikova inched past Coco 7-6(6), 6-3 in that clash, but its crystal clear Gauff adores playing in Paris.

Renowned seed-slayer Kaia Kanepi will be full of firepower, but if Gauff can escape that barrage, then the teenage sensation could continue to break new ground at Roland-Garros.