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Top women's contenders at the 2017 French Open

Last updated on: May 26, 2017 21:21 IST
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Penpix of the top women's contenders at the 2017 French Open:

1. Angelique Kerber (Germany)

Angelique Kerber

IMAGE: Angelique Kerber of Germany reacts. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty Images

Born: Jan. 18, 1988 (Age 29)

Height: 1.73 metres

Plays: Lefthanded

World ranking: 1

Grand Slam titles: 2 (Australian Open 2016, U.S. Open 2016)

ATP match record in 2017 (won-lost): 19-12

Clay has never been the world number one's preferred surface. The German made an opening round exit in Paris last year and has only once made it as far as the quarter-finals. Kerber has struggled this season, and she withdrew from the Madrid Open with a thigh injury and was beaten in straight sets by qualifier Anna Kontaveit in Rome last week.

2. Garbine Muguruza (Spain)

Garbine Muguruza

IMAGE:  Spain’s Garbine Muguruza celebrates. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images.

Born: Oct 8, 1993

Age: 23

Height: 1.82 metres

Plays: Righthanded

World ranking: 5

Grand Slam titles: 1 (French Open 2016)

Win-loss record in 2017: 17-10

The defending champion returns to the French Open after a mixed start to the season. She showed flashes of her best at last week's Italian Open, but retired hurt during the semi-finals -- her fourth injury of the year. Muguruza's sharp movement and strong serve are well suited to Roland Garros, where she has played some of the best tennis of her career.

3. Simona Halep (Romania)

Simona Halep

IMAGE:  Simona Halep of Romania. Photograph: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters .

Born: Sept. 27, 1991

Age: 25

Height: 1.68 metres

Plays: Righthanded

World ranking: 4

Grand Slam titles: 0

Win-loss record in 2017: 18-6

The Romanian is a favourite to win her first grand slam trophy in Paris this year to cap what is her most successful season on clay. Halep came close to lifting the Suzanne Lenglen Cup in 2014, but was beaten by Maria Sharapova in the final. She enters Roland Garros having successfully defended her title in Madrid and reached the Italian Open final, but is nursing a torn ligament that may hamper her chances.

4. Elina Svitolina (Ukraine)

 Elina Svitolina

IMAGE:  Elina Svitolina of Ukraine. Photograph: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images.

Born: Sept. 12, 1994

Age: 22

Height: 1.74 metres

Plays: Righthanded

World ranking: 6

Grand Slam titles: 0

Win-loss record in 2017: 31-6

The Ukrainian enters the French Open as the tour's most successful player of 2017, and stormed back into the top 10 after winning her fourth title of the year in Rome last week. Svitolina, who reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros two years ago, leads the WTA's 2017 Race to Singapore with 2,845 points.

5. Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic)

Karolina Pliskova

IMAGE:  Karolina Pliskova returns a shot. Photograph: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images.

Born: March 21, 1992

Age: 25

Height: 1.86 metres

Plays: Righthanded

World ranking: 3

Grand Slam titles: 0

Win-loss record in 2017: 27-8

Pliskova's movement may not be good enough to match the best players on clay but her strong serve and record this season put her in contention ahead of the French Open. The Czech reached the quarter-finals in both Stuttgart and Rome.

6. Kristina Mladenovic (France)

Kristina Mladenovic

IMAGE:  Kristina Mladenovic celebrates a point. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images.

Born: May 24, 1993 (Age 24)

Height: 1.84 metres

Plays: Righthanded

World ranking: 14

Grand Slam titles: 0

ATP match record in 2017 (won-lost): 27-10

French hopes rest on the shoulders of Mladenovic, who has soared up to 14th in the world ranking with a series of impressive performances on clay. The 24-year-old beat Maria Sharapova on her way to the final in Stuttgart before claiming another runners-up finish in Madrid. With only one quarter-final appearance so far at the majors, Mladenovic will hope to put on a better show for her home crowd next week.

7. Petra Kvitova

Petra Kvitova

IMAGE: Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova in action.  Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images.

Born: March 8, 1990

Age: 27

Height: 1.82 metres

Plays: Lefthanded

World ranking: 16

Grand Slam titles: 2 (Wimbledon 2011, 2014)

Win-loss record in 2017: -- No matches this year

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova is returning to action five months after being stabbed in a burglary. The 27-year-old required four hours of surgery in December after protecting herself from a man who gained access to her apartment block by posing as a utilities worker. The hard-hitting lefthander and former world number two has two Madrid Open titles under her belt.

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