Who will win the French Open women's title?
Who will win the French Open women's title? Our experts give their predictions.
Justine Henin's stunning retirement last week left a discernable gap in the women's field -- particularly on clay where she was the three-time defending French Open champion. But who benefits from her absence is still to be determined.
So who steps up? Our experts make their predictions.
French Open women's predictions Bonnie D. Ford
ESPN.com tennis writer
ESPN.com tennis writer
Florida-based tennis writer
London-based tennis writer
ESPN.com tennis editor
Early ExitAna Ivanovic has played very sparingly on clay in 2008 -- just two tournaments, including an early loss in Rome. Center court might be a bit haunted for her as well.Like Richard Gasquet, Marion Bartoli is also ranked No. 9 and will have to deal with a French crowd hoping for a French champion. She has showed little during the clay-court season.Check out Ana Ivanovic's draw when she reached the 2007 French Open final and the 2008 Australian Open final. Cushy, but she has struggled since winning Indian Wells in March.Venus Williams' prolonged recess during the clay season, coupled with her ambivalence toward her professional priorities may all add up to an early exit for the American. SleeperVictoria Azarenka of Belarus has logged lots of quality time on clay this season. She recently made the finals in Prague and semis in Berlin, losing to quality opponents in both events.Russia's Dinara Safina is coming off her best career tournament, knocking off three top-10s in Hamburg -- Serena, Henin and Dementieva -- en route to her first career Tier I title.With a title at the French in the past, Serena Williams arrives with fire in her belly, determination in her eyes and positive results, as she embarks on a journey toward Grand Slam number nine.Once upon a time, Elena Dementieva was a French Open finalist. The Russian, who makes up for her lack of serve with thunderous groundstrokes, has been sharp since March.The French contingent has been clamoring for one of their own to rise to the occasion. Teenager and Rome finalist Alize Cornet appears to be ready for the grand stage. WinnerSerena Williams is fit, rested, an excellent opportunist and ready to fill the vacuum left by three-time defending champion Henin's absence.Smart money says Serena Williams or Ana Ivanovic, but this is Maria Sharapova's chance to break through at Roland Garros and complete the career Grand Slam.The fact that Jelena Jankovic just won Rome, beating Maria Sharapova in the semifinals, makes her stand out more than new world No. 1, who is not a natural on clay.No Henin means Serena Williams should have an easier time getting past the quarterfinals. The French is the only major Williams has failed to win at least twice.With nagging injuries a central theme on the women's tour, this title may come down to who can circumvent these afflictions best. Who's better at playing in distress than Jelena Jankovic?
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MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
2008 FRENCH OPEN
French Open Video
May 25-June 8
Women: Justine Henin
Men: Rafael Nadal
Day 15 • Men
• Ford: Nadal simply too good against Federer
• Garber: Federer resolute in confidence, ability
• Harwitt: Rafael Nadal the best clay-courter ever?
• Photo gallery: Best of Week 2 from Paris
• Ubha: French Open men's final instant analysis
Day 14 • Women
• South Americans take men's doubles
• Garber: Maturation, confidence help Ivanovic
• Ford: Zen-like calm elevating Ivanovic
• Harwitt: Can Ivanovic hang on to No. 1 ranking?
• Ubha: French Open women's final instant analysis
Day 13 • Men
• Bob Bryan, Azarenka win French mixed doubles
• Garber: Federer in need of a monumental effort
• Ford: Nadal handles Djokovic with relative ease
• Harwitt: Borg spends birthday extolling Nadal
• Who will win the French Open women's final?
Day 12 • Women
• Garber: Ivanovic, Safina set to duke it out
• Ivanovic to take over No. 1 ranking
• Ford: Djokovic ready to reshuffle world order
• Latest Dirt: Men's semifinal preview
• The big three: Federer looking past Monfils?
• Harwitt: Safina's mom has reason to extol virtue
Day 11 • Men | Women
• Latest Dirt: Women's semifinal preview
• The big three: Federer semifinal streak lives on
• Harwitt: Rolling out the red carpet
• Tennis.com: Federer's time right now
Day 10 • Men | Women
• Garber: Serbs thriving because of each other
• Chip and Charge: Assessing the French
• The big three: Nadal-Djokovic ready to battle
• Sharapova to fall from top spot after French Open
Day 9 • Men | Women
• Garber: Sharapova sent packing by Safina
• Latest Dirt: Americans officially done
• Garber: Ranking the sweet 16 players
• The big three: Federer and Gonzo to clash
Day 8 • Men | Women
• Garber: Ferrer worthy of being in top five
• Latest Dirt: Evaluating the top-five players
• The big three: Humdrum day for Nadal, Djokovic
• ITF to probe player's claim she was told to lose
• Ex-French Open winner Pierce hoping for return
See all stories from Week 1