Capping off day 3 on Philippe Chatrier will be the favourite to win the women’s event. The absence of Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams leaves Simona Halep with her best chance of winning a slam yet. Whether she can live up to expectations will be an interesting story to follow, especially with the world No.1 Angelique Kerber already out of the tournament. Halep’s round one opponent will be Jana Cepelova.
Watch the Halep vs Cepelova Live Stream Here.
There had been some uncertainty over Halep after she picked up an injury in the Rome final. It seemed like she was sailing towards a straight sets victory over Elena Svitolina before that, only to falter and lose 6-1 in the decider. The level that Halep showcased in her run to the final in 2014 and on a number of occasions since has people pegging her as the favourite alongside previous champions Garbine Muguruza and Svetlana Kuznetsova. She went 12-2 on the clay swing prior to this tournament, with a semi final in Stuttgart going alongside her aforementioned Rome loss and the title in Madrid. While her loss to Svitolina was the only match against one of the top contenders, she did pick up wins against some of the secondary challengers in the tournament in Kiki Mladenovic and Samantha Stosur.
Cepelova moved back into the top 90 after a semi final in Istanbul but hasn’t made much of a splash on the tour otherwise, going just 5-8 altogether. It’s the kind of match Halep should be cruising through on her way to tougher opponents but she will have to be early, having lost to the Slovakian in the first round of a grand slam before – at Wimbledon in 2015.
Prediction – Simona Halep in straight sets