Sabalenka, Osaka and Others: Serena Williams and Her Uphill Path to French Open 2021 Finals

Published 05/28/2021, 6:18 AM EDT
Serena Williams of the United States in action against Kristie Ahn of the United States in the first round of the Women’s Singles competition on Court Philippe-Chatrier during the French Open Tennis Tournament at Roland Garros on September 28th 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)


23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams first appeared at Roland-Garros in 1998. More than two decades later, she will now make her 19th tournament appearance at the French Open 2021.

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Unquestionably, the three-time champion of the premier clay-court event enjoys playing on clay. However, Serena has managed to play only four matches there in the last two years.

But this time around, the 39-year-old started her preparations for the tournament a month in advance. So even though she lacks match experience, she will be ready to go all the way on the Parisian clay.

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Still, the lineup of players between her and the title is massively talented. Who all could Serena face on her road to Roland-Garros 2021 final?

Read More: Iga Swiatek, Coco Gauff Figure Highly Among Women Stars With Most Wins on Clay, Serena Williams Tops List

Serena Williams and her projected path to the French Open 2021 final

The French Open 2021 has announced the draw, and the path to the final is looking troublesome for Serena. She is the eighth seed and will begin her campaign against Romanian World No. 74 Irina-Camelia Begu.

In the next round, the American can either meet Dutch professional Arantxa Rus or Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu. Once she clears that test, Serena might face compatriot Danielle Rose Collins or former World No. 1 Angelique Kerber in the third round.

Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 12, 2021 Serena Williams of the U.S. in action during her second round match against Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Things could go uphill for Serena if she steers past her third-round opponent. She could face two-time semifinalist Petra Kvitova or 21-year-old Elena Rybakina in the pre-quarters.

Furthermore, the American professional’s projected quarterfinal could happen against Belarusian stars Victoria Azarenka or Aryna Sabalenka. It might seem challenging on paper, but Serena did overthrow Sabalenka in the Australian Open 2021 fourth-round.

Nearing the end, Serena could lock horns with either Canadian Bianca Andreescu or Japanese Naomi Osaka in the semifinal. Surprisingly, she has lost a US Open final to both of them.

Moreover, Osaka won against Serena in this year’s Happy Slam semifinal. Thus, it might inarguably be Serena’s most intricate match on the revered clay court.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 18, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka with Serena Williams of the U.S. after winning their semi final match REUTERS/Kelly Defina

Finally, in case the American crosses that hurdle, she will play her 5th French Open final. In the final, Serena could play for the title against the 2019 champion Ashleigh Barty or the reigning champion Iga Swiatek.

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What’s at stake for Serena at Roland-Garros?

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Since the 2017 Australian Open triumph, Serena is waiting for her 24th Grand Slam title. In her quest for the same, she has lost in four finals. Although she aims to enjoy tennis, she would mean strict business when she steps on the Roland-Garros courts. Hence, she does not have to lose anything but only stands to gain another otherworldly milestone in her career. 

The main event will begin on May 30, and on June 13, the world will see one player lifting the Roland-Garros 2021 trophy. Do you think it will be Serena Williams this year?

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WATCH: Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams Begin Their Preparations on Philippe Chatrier For French Open 2021

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Purav Joshi

825 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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