May 25, 2018 / 5:55 PM / 10 months ago

Tennis: Penpix of the top women's contenders for the French Open

(Reuters) - Penpix of the top women’s contenders at the 2018 French Open:

FILE PHOTO: The Musketeers' Trophy and the Suzanne Lenglen trophy are pictured during the draw ceremony for the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, May 20, 2016. Picture taken May 20, 2016. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

Simona Halep (Romania)

World ranking: 1

Born: Sept. 27, 1991 (Age 26)

Grand Slam titles: 0

Best Roland Garros performance: Runner-up (2014, 2017)

2018 WTA match record: 28-6

2018 WTA titles: 1

Biggest weapons: Precise shot-making, sharp tactics and fantastic defensive qualities make her a strong contender on clay.

Biggest weakness: Halep shoulders a heavy reputation for folding at key moments in big matches, which is sure to weigh on her if she reaches the business end of the tournament. Also lacks the firepower of some of her rivals.

Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia)

World ranking: 5

Born: June 8, 1997 (Age 20)

Grand Slam titles: 1

Best Roland Garros performance: Winner (2017)

2018 WTA match record: 12-11

2018 WTA titles: 0

Biggest weapon: Her fearlessness. The Latvian’s groundstrokes scorch the court and she generates tremendous power with her forehand and backhand.

Biggest weakness: Inconsistency. Her go-for-broke attitude on every point means she often racks up as many unforced errors as she does winners.

Garbine Muguruza (Spain)

World ranking: 3

Born: Oct. 8, 1993 (Age 24)

Grand Slam titles: 2

Best Roland Garros performance: Winner (2016)

2018 WTA match record: 15-9

2018 WTA titles: 1

Biggest weapon: Muguruza’s height enables her to clobber huge groundstrokes and take the ball early. Has already proven herself a Grand Slam champion.

Biggest weakness: Sometimes lacks a Plan B when things do not go her way.

Maria Sharapova (Russia)

World ranking: 29

Born: April 19, 1987 (Age 31)

Grand Slam titles: 5

Best Roland Garros performance: Winner (2012, 2014)

2018 WTA match record: 12-7

2018 WTA titles: 0

Biggest weapon: Her ferocious fighting spirit makes her one of the toughest opponents to finish off. Powerful groundstrokes help her to control matches from the baseline.

Biggest weakness: Poor court coverage and a lack of variation in her game. It will also be interesting to see how the famously fickle French crowd reacts to the Russian on her first return to Roland Garros since her doping ban.

Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark)

World ranking: 2

Born: July 11, 1990 (Age 27)

Grand Slam titles: 1

Best Roland Garros performance: Quarter-finals (2010, 2017)

2018 WTA match record: 23-8

2018 WTA titles: 1

Biggest weapon: Wozniacki’s tenacity, rather than searing power, can wear down opponents. Has a cool head under pressure.

Biggest weakness: Lacks a killer shot and has a tendency to get drawn into long rallies at the baseline. Has never looked completely comfortable on the Roland Garros clay.

Serena Williams (U.S.)

World ranking: 453

Born: Sept. 26, 1981 (Age 36)

Grand Slam titles: 23 (Australian Open 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017; French Open 2002, 2013, 2015; Wimbledon 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016; U.S. Open 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014)

Best Roland Garros performance: Winner (2002, 2013, 2015)

2018 WTA match record: 2-2

2018 WTA titles: 0

Biggest weapon: One of the best serves in the history of women’s tennis combined with heavy, punishing groundstrokes. An on-court demeanour that can intimidate opponents.

Biggest weakness: A question mark hangs over her fitness level ahead of her first Grand Slam since the birth of her daughter.

Compiled by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Martyn Herman and Ken Ferris

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