Serena Williams is still on the lookout for her first Grand Slam win since the 2017 Australian Open. Williams has seemed rather vulnerable at the Slams in the last couple of years and has lost in four finals, all in straight sets. However, she still remains a definite favorite in every tournament she participates in.
Anything less than the title is considered an upset by many fans and tennis pundits around the world when it comes to Serena Williams. Although a rare sight, Williams’ absence from a Grand Slam as early as the third round changes the permutations and combinations and turns the women’s draw on its head.
This is exactly what happened after Williams’ withdrawal from the French Open 2020 on Wednesday due to an injury.
Unseeded Tsvetana Pironkova is now directly into the third round after Williams gave her a walkover. Given her recent form and the fact that she doesn’t to face Williams anymore, Pironkova should reach the fourth round. She will face Barbora Krejcikova in the next round.
In the same quarter of the draw is Anna-Karolina Schmiedlova, who is in the midst of a dream run. She has defeated two Grand Slam winners – Venus Williams and Victoria Azarenka – in straight sets so far. Schmiedlova will face Nadia Podoroska in the next round.
With Williams’s withdrawal, one of these four unseeded players is a certainty in the quarter-finals.
Whoever prevails from this part of the draw could face third seed Elina Svitolina in the quarter-final. Svitolina could face Elise Mertens in Round 4, and given her recent form, Svitolina could prevail should this match happen.
On the back of 13 wins in her last 14 matches, Svitolina has the bonus of not worrying about a potential quarter-final clash with Williams.
A semi-final clash between Simona Halep and Serena Williams was highly anticipated, despite Svitolina technically being the favorite to feature in the match. Now, Svitolina is the favorite to make that semi-final match.
Halep has a few more challenges to endure before making it through. But she should do so without much fuss. Eugenie Bouchard has found her touch in recent weeks and could face Halep in the fourth round. Halep will face Amanda Anisimova next, but her biggest challenge en route to the semi-final could be Kiki Bertens in the quarter-final.
Bertens survived a marathon three-setter in Round 2. After the match, she cramped quite badly and officials then carried her out in a wheelchair. So there is high uncertainty about her fitness going ahead.
Despite the challenge posed by Svitolina, the French Open 2018 winner Halep is a favorite to reach the final.
In the bottom half of the draw, it is still early days. Second seed Karolina Pliskova and fourth seed Sofia Kenin are technically the favorites to make it through. But the challenge of former Grand Slam winners Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova, Jelena Ostapenko, and Sloane Stephens looms large on them.
Among all the favorites left in the draw, only Halep, Ostapenko, and Muguruza are French Open champions.