French Open 2017 womens form guide: the players to watch at Roland Garros

With Serena Williams absent and other top contenders for the French womens singles title wet-nurse injuries the rivalry inspects wide open

Top five

1) Angelique Kerber

The German has regained her distinguish at the opening of the rankings simply because of the absence of the pregnant Serena Williams. Kerber originated the year by resigning her Australian Open crown in the fourth round and the US Open champion has struggled to raise her play since then, fuelling the debate that her No1 status is deceitful. Clay has never been her favourite face she has not reached the last eight at Roland Garros since 2012 and her floundering renditions in the build-up to Paris means that she will be prone during the first week. Kerber was trailing 6-3, 5-0 when she withdrew from her Madrid quarter-final against Eugenie Bouchard with a thigh harm and a 6-4, 6-0 rout to Anna Kontaveit in Rome increased the sense of crisis.

2) Karolina Pliskova

The Czech shot up the rankings last year, reaching her first grand slam final in New York she lost 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to Kerber and her large-scale suffice determines her an tricky proposition. At the same hour, however, it is debatable whether she moves with enough fluency to flourish on clay. The 25 -year-old has never been past the second round at Roland Garros and she still inspects unpleasant on the surface. Pliskovas four earns on the surface this year have come against participates graded outside the top 20, while early demolishes in Madrid, Prague, Rome and Stuttgart have prevented her from improving momentum.

Karolina Pliskova has accepted a frustrating clay-court season until now this year. Photograph: Gregorio Borgia/ AP

3) Simona Halep

Three years since the Romanian reached the final at Roland Garros, losing a thrilling equal to Maria Sharapova, Halep knew herself on the erroneous dissolve of some rotten luck when she suffered an ankle harm in the final of the Italian Open that has left her with a 50 -5 0 chance of materializing at all in Paris. This could be a big missed the possibilities for a likeable and arousing actor which continued to trying her first grand slam claim. In the fact that there is Williams and Sharapova, and with many of her adversaries grasping for the most appropriate shape, Halep was considered the favourite this year. She sent out a strong send by claiming the claim in Madrid, simply for disaster to disturb when she slithered over what looked like a small flaw on the Campo Centrale court in Rome, compelling her ankle to swell up. A precede scan has divulged a tear, but she is determined to recover in time.

4) Garbie Muguruza

The Spaniard appeared ready to dominate the womens play when she outwitted and out-hit Williams in last years final, glamour the French followers on her action to claiming her first grand slam final with a wonderfully one-sided win over the American immense. But the 23 -year-old has failed to push on since then. Her causes in majors have been underwhelming and she arrives at Roland Garros wet-nurse a neck harm that coerced her to retire from her Italian Open semi-final. She has also had to deal with an achilles question this year, meaning that the defence of her claim could be short. That said, Muguruza will be tough to flog if she amplifications confidence and fitness during the course of its first week.

5) Elina Svitolina

True, Halep was injured when the Ukrainian vanquish her in the final of the Italian Open. Nonetheless it was a fine accomplishment from Svitolina, a gifted 22 -year-old who is improving all the time. Up to sixth in the rankings after an encouraging run on clay that has featured earns over Kerber, Halep, Muguruza and Pliskova, she will be full of hope about moving far. Joining her quarter-final appearance in 2015 must be the least of her ambitions.

Three to watch

Johanna Konta

The British No1 is capable of overpowering anyone on her day unless shes playing on clay, that is. It remains her weakest face and although Konta insists that she is slowly adjusting to its affectations, disappointments in Madrid, Rome and Stuttgart suggest otherwise. She is yet to make it past the first round in Paris and might require a kind draw to better that meagre record.

Kristina Mladenovic

The world No1 4 was get into a solid flute before losing her first equal at the Italian Open to the unheralded German, Julia Grges. Before that dejection in Rome, however, the 24 -year-old from France was a losing finalist in Stuttgart and Madrid. She experienced overpowering Sharapova in Stuttgart and will believe that this is the year when she finally contacts the second week at her residence tournament.

World No14 Kristina Mladenovic is Frances excellent chance of a first female champion in Paris since Mary Pierce in 2000. Photograph: Susana Vera/ Reuters

Svetlana Kuznetsova

The veteran Russian has an affecting preserve on clay, having won the French Open in 2009, but her causes ought to have mixed this year. At the age of 31, hour is running out for her to add to her two grand slam titles.

Others to watch

Her sister isnt around this time, but Venus Williams flattened back its first year in Melbourne and will enjoy the chance to educate a situation or two to the younger generation. And though she has rarely fared well in Paris, this is an open realm. The improving Eugenie Bouchard was a semi-finalist in 2015, Dominika Cibulkova is a scrapper with admirable staman and Daria Kasatkina , the 20 -year-old Russian, could effect a provoke. The normal fronts are primarily still around as well, although Caroline Wozniacki might be held back by an ankle harm. Most interesting of all is the possibility of an image from Petra Kvitova , the two-time Wimbledon champion who is back in training less than seven months after abiding a career-threatening hand injury in a knife attack at her residence. The Czech is targeting a reappearance at SW19, but could feature in Paris.