Women’s draw: Iga learns path to further Paris glory

Dangerous floaters linger in former champion's path to a second final on French clay

Iga Swiatek Roland-Garros 2022©Cedric Lecocq
 - Dan Imhoff

The past two Roland-Garros champions Iga Swiatek and Barbora Krejcikova are the top two seeds in Paris this year and on Thursday, they discovered their respective paths to further Grand Slam glory.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the draw.

Former RG champs in Swiatek's eighth

Poland’s world No.1 Swiatek has been nigh on unstoppable in recent months and returns to the site of her 2020 triumph riding a 28-match winning streak.

After titles in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami, the 20-year-old went undefeated on clay in recent months, adding further silverware in Stuttgart and Rome.


A quarter-finalist last year, she opens her campaign against a qualifier and could meet 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko or 2018 champion Simona Halep in the fourth round, should the seedings hold.

Last year’s Wimbledon runner-up Karolina Pliskova is slated to meet the top seed in the quarter-finals but Madrid runner-up Jessica Pegula and semi-finalist Ekaterina Alexandrova linger as in-form seeds in the Czech’s quarter.

Heavy-hitting hurdles loom for Badosa

A breakout run to her first Grand Slam quarter-final in Paris last year gives third seed Paula Badosa cause to believe her best shot at a maiden major could come at Roland-Garros.

The 24-year-old, who opened her season with a title in Sydney, plays French wildcard Fiona Ferro in the first round and may need to subdue two big ball-strikers to reach the semi-finals for the first time.

Sixteenth seed Elena Rybakina also reached her first Slam quarter-final in Paris last year with victory over Serena Williams. She could prove a tricky fourth-round obstacle for the Spaniard, while seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka could stand between Badosa and a projected semi-final against Swiatek.

Defending champ's tricky path

In 2021, then world No.33, Krejcikova, capped a remarkable run when she landed her first Grand Slam singles title on the terre battue in just her fifth main draw at a major.

The 26-year-old begins her title defence against French world No.96 Diane Parry with no clay-court matches under her belt due to an elbow injury.

Hopes of playing her way into the tournament should she clear the opening hurdle could prove a tough ask with former US Open champion Sloane Stephens or Romanian 26th seed Sorana Cirstea looming in the third round before former No.1 Victoria Azarenka or in-form Swiss 23rd seed Jil Teichmann on track to meet her in the fourth round.

Fifth seed Anett Kontaveit is a projected quarter-final opponent, while the woman she beat in last year’s semi-finals, fourth seed Maria Sakkari, could again run into her at the same stage in 2022.

Jabeur learns obstacles to first major

After three finals in four events, including a maiden WTA 1000 trophy in Madrid, Tunisian Ons Jabeur enters Roland-Garros with a 17-3 mark on clay and intent on adding a maiden major to her swag.

The sixth-seeded 27-year-old has landed in fourth seed Sakari’s quarter, but would need to navigate her way past Poland’s Magda Linette in the opening round before possible clashes against two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and last year’s US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the third and fourth rounds, respectively.

Italy’s Martina Trevisan, a quarter-finalist in Paris in 2020, is on track to meet the in-form sixth seed in the second round.

Unseeded threats

Former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu reached her first WTA 1000 quarter-final in more than a year in Rome with wins over the likes of Raducanu.

The Canadian is a dangerous prospect on any surface with her explosive power and variety, and will open against a qualifier, before a possible showdown with Charleston champion, 14th seed Belinda Bencic.

A quarter-finalist in Paris three years ago, Croatian Petra Martic has again hit form on the red dirt, arriving with an 8-3 record in three events, including wins over Kontaveit.

Should the world No.70 down Katerina Siniakova first up, she could pose a serious threat to US Open runner-up, 17th seed Leylah Fernandez next with Bencic or Andreescu a possible third-round foe.

Unseeded at Roland-Garros for the first time since 2017, before she collected the first of four hard-court majors, Naomi Osaka begins her sixth campaign intent on flipping the script when she takes on 27th seed Amanda Anisimova first up.

The former world No.1 let two match points slip in a loss to the American in the third round at Melbourne Park as defending champion in 2022 and after a slide down the rankings to No.85 as recently as February, she has returned to the top 40.

Naomi Osaka, Roland Garros 2022, practiceCorinne Dubreuil/FFT

Anisimova has been one of the form players leading in with a semi-final and two quarter-finals from three clay-court events.

Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina has struck form on clay in recent months, reaching the quarter-finals in Charleston and Madrid and defeating the likes of Rybakina and three major champions in succession, Sloane Stephens, Garbine Muguruza and Raducanu.

The 25-year-old opens her second Roland-Garros campaign against a qualifier and could pose a thorn in the side of 11th seed Pegula in the second round.