The second Grand Slam tournament of the year begins on Monday, with the French Open at Roland Garros.
Here news.bwin.com take the temperature of the leading lights ahead of the first round for your punting edification and the sickly form of the five at the top of the outright betting suggests this could be the year of the dark horse in Paris.
It’s the women’s draw form-o-meter…
By her own seldom-beatable standards, Serena looks vulnerable ahead of the year’s second Slam.
The reigning French Open champion has contested just three tournaments in 2016 prior to the Rome WTA event that will serve as her sole clay-court tune up prior to Roland Garros.
Having taken in Charleston and the Madrid Open prior to the Italian capital en route to Paris in recent years, hers cannot but strike as an unorthodox preparation.
Previous to the beginning of her dirt jag Vika was flying, smashing consecutive hard-court tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami.
Things have faltered a fair bit since switching surface, with a back injury ruling out of the round of 16 in Madrid after two routine wins.
Bounced in the first round in Rome by Irina-Camelia Begu, the Belarusian left reporters in little doubt she was stilling struggling with the ailment:
“The back’s not good right now. We’ll see what happens. I don’t know what to tell you. I’m very disappointed, obviously, with that. I thought I was OK and was ready to play, and came back, so I’m just disappointed.”
The Romanian was brought swiftly back to earth after winning the Madrid Open in fine style, falling at the first hurdle in Rome to Daria Gavrilova.
Having lost her first outing at Stuttgart prior to her triumph in the Spanish capital, consistency remains a problem for the world number five.
Muguruza-Blanco has been in less than authoritative form ahead of the Grand Slam where she first announced herself to the world by beating Serena in 2014.
Yet to go four rounds deep in any tournament she’s contested so far this season, the Spaniard was another of Begu’s victims, falling to the Romanian in Madrid.
The Czech’s pre-Roland Garros form is a pale imitation of last year’s, when she won the Madrid WTA, beating subsequent Paris winner Williams in the final.
She’s lost three of her last five outings on dirt.