You are here

It's anybody's game in the women's event

BT_20190529_BENCIC_3794188.jpg
Rolex Testimonee Belinda Bencic at the Australian Open 2019.

TEN different winners in the last 11 years, with American Serena Williams claiming the coveted French Open twice (2013 and 2015).

That being the backdrop, it is anybody's game in the women's singles of the tennis Major staged at Roland Garros.

And the women's game has moved away from the modest corsets and mere courtcraft to fashionable colourful skirts and shorts and a power game.

And so the players' marketability has risen tremendously through branding, sponsorship and a prize fund that equals that of the men.

sentifi.com

Market voices on:

Sentimentalists would want sensational Serena to do it at least one more time so that she can equal Margaret Court's record 24 singles Major titles.

But, already 37 and a mother, her game has lost some of the lustre and speed. She dropped a bomb recently when, slated to play her sister Venus in the second round, she withdrew from the Italian Open with a lingering knee injury.

So with precious little clay-court competition, having completed only one match (6-4, 6-2 win over Rebecca Peterson in the first round) in three tournaments, Serena, a two-time winner at the French Open, has a monumental task ahead of her. In fact, wearing a new designer, super-hero outfit on Monday, she came from behind to beat Russia's Vitalia Diatchenko 2-6, 6-1, 6-0.

Serena's conqueror at the Australian Open final in January, Naomi Osaka, must obviously rate her chances highly with youth and exuberance on her side.

Born to a Haitian father and Japanese mother, Osaka schooled her game in the United States as she has been in the sports-mad country since three years old.

She is shy and candid, but contrastingly her playing style is built on aggression and a powerful serve that has befuddled opponents.

The 21-year-old Japanese could follow in the footsteps of Rolex Testimonee Li Na of China, winner of the French Open in 2011 and Australian Open in 2014, and give Asia yet another Major triumph.

No doubt, she slumped to a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7 defeat at the hands of Rolex Testimonee Belinda Bencic of Switzerland in the quarter-finals of the recent Madrid Open, but she retained her numero uno women's ranking.

It came about because world No 3 Simona Halep, an overwhelming favourite, suffered a shock 4-6, 4-6 defeat against Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens, who moved up to fourth.

One player who could stand in Osaka's way is seasoned warrior Halep of Rumania.

Halep will relish her comeback triumph last year when, down one set to US Open champion and Rolex Testimonee Sloane Stephens, she turned on her magic to win the prestigious crown.

Elaborating on the lack of a dominant woman player, ESPN.com recently did a commentary stating that more than 12 weeks into the new year, 14 tournaments produced 14 different winners

And Ashleigh Barty, the Australian world No. 8 and recent winner of the Miami Open, said: "It's amazing, isn't it. I think particularly on the women's side, I think the level has evened out a lot, and the depth has grown over the last few years."

So there seems to be no clear favourite among tennis' "Next Gen".