The men's and women's singles draws for the 2014 French Open have been announced. World Nos. 1 Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams will be favored to defend the titles they won at Roland Garros a year ago, though perphaps not easily. That's the case in particular for Nadal, the clay maestro who suspiciously fell in the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters to David Ferrer in April, and in the final of the Rome Masters to Novak Djokovic a week ago.
Nadal's path to another Grand Slam will include bouts against Ferrer and Djokovic should no upset occur. Ferrer would meet Nadal in the quarterfinals as the No. 5 seed. Djokovic, as the world No. 2, would naturally have to meet Nadal in the French Open final. Nadal has never lost to Djokovic in five matches at Roland Garros.
Playing styles in women's tennis
Clay courters seem to be in a world of their own on the men's side. Is there a similar class of player on the women's side?
Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka is the No. 3 seed in the French Open. The 29-year-old has turned in mixed results since winning his first-ever Grand Slam. He was able to defeat No. 4 Roger Federer in four sets for a title in Monte Carlo, but then lost in the second round in Madrid and third round in Rome. He could face No. 7 Andy Murray in the quarters before taking on Nadal in the semis.
On the women's side, Williams is healthy and thus perhaps the most dangerous player on the draw. She has a difficult path to winning her third title at Roland Garros, however, starting in the third round where she could potentially face her sister, Venus, who is the No. 29 seed. From there, Williams could face 2013 Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki in the Round of 16, and No. 7 Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals.
Australian Open winner and world No. 2 Li Na will also be challenged if she hopes to meet Williams in the final and win her second-ever French Open title. No. 11 Ana Ivanovic took Williams to three sets in the semifinals last week in Rome, and looms as a potential semifinal matchup. Williams' opponent in the Rome final, No. 10 Sara Errani, could play Na in the quarters.