France is a bit short of players in this Roland Garros women’s singles main draw. They were nine at the start, but most of the Tricolores fell out of the race in the opening round: 22-year-old Fiona Ferro was eliminated 6-3 7-6(3) by countrywoman Kristina Mladenovic on Sunday; Pauline Parmentier, World No.
66 at the age of 33, was ousted 6-3 6-4 by fourth seed Kiki Bertens; and Alize Cornet, who achieved with this participation the personal record of 50 Grand Slams played consecutively, bowed 6-4 6-3 to Viktoria Kuzmova. Apart from Chloe Paquet who armed a 6-3 1-6 2-6 fight against Magda Linette, the French wildcards were dusted in two sets: Harmony Tan by Amanda Anisimova (6-3 6-1), Selena Janicijevic by Iga Swiatek (6-3 6-0), and Jessika Ponchet by Belinda Bencic (6-1 6-4).
Roland Garros has not had a home female winner since Mary Pierce lifted the trophy in 2000, and the probabilities that this year should be the change are thinning: deprived of its charming and powerful Kristina Mladenovic and of its revelation Diane Parry since the second phase, the bleu-blanc-rouge flag rests its hopes on World No.
22 Caroline Garcia, who will battle Anna Blinkova to remain in the run. Already shining because of its fresh renovations, the Tournament of the Musketeers would still like to boast the presence of a Frenchwoman on the highest rank of its podium.
“The crowd was amazing,” confessed Chloe Paquet after her loss in the opener, testifying of the public’s will to propel one of their favourites forward. “With the French on Court 14, it's always a good court for us.
Yesterday we saw Pierre-Hugues and the atmosphere was amazing. And today also there were a lot supporting me, but unfortunately, it was not my day”. To achieve a feat not managed in almost two decades, Caroline Garcia would hence have to get past Russian Anna Blinkova (1-0 victories for Garcia, scored in Doha 2018), making a beeline for a possible encounter with fourteenth seed Madison Keys (with whom she has a head-to-head score of 1-2, and no match registered this year or on clay), if the American gets rid of Australia’s wildcard Priscilla Hon.
Garcia’s path could then cross with that of first seed and popular favourite Naomi Osaka (against whom she has never played) in the fourth round. While there seems to be a drought for the women, on the men’s side Gilles Simon, Elliot Benchetrit, Antoine Hoang, Adrian Mannarino, Gael Monfils, Gregoire Barrere, Lucas Pouille, Nicolas Mahut, Benoit Paire and Corentin Moutet are still alive in the draw, with the three latter already safely in the third round.