Serena Williams will be ‘dangerous’ for the French Open favourites if the American can make it through the first week, according to Eurosport expert Chris Evert.
The former world number one is on the comeback trail at Roland Garros and the likes of Iga Swiatek and Ash Barty are hot favourites for the clay tournament.
Evert is tipping the in-form Barty and reigning champion Swiatek to produce the goods in Paris, but believes Williams is a dangerous prospect.
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Asked which players to look out for, Evert said: “Barty, Swiatek and (Aryna) Sabalenka.
Serena Williams, if she gets into the second week, will be dangerous and I also think Coco Gauff is playing very well, so those are my other two.
“Ash Barty has looked very good, she won a few tournaments,” Evert continued.
“Sabalenka before has won tournaments and has surprised me, she has to be one of the favourites with her results and the fact that now she is harnessing her power now and being more consistent, which is great.
“Ash Barty is special to me, I think she can just do it all – she has power, she has finesse, she can come to the net, she has got good weapons but has got good defence as well.
Ash, Iga and Sabalenka – those are my top three.
Swiatek is fresh off an impressive victory at the Italian Open while Barty sits number one in the world rankings with Sabalenka not far behind her in fourth.
While Evert thinks Williams could be a wildcard, fellow Eurosport expert Barbara Schett is not convinced the American – or Naomi Osaka – can produce their best on clay.
“The big favourites to me are Ash Barty and Iga Swiatek,” she said.
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I don’t see Naomi Osaka winning the title because she doesn’t feel comfortable on clay. Same with Serena Williams – I think for her it’s just important for her to play matches.
"I don’t think she is counting on winning the title in Paris, if she makes it through the first week then it’s been a success.
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“Barty and Swiatek are my favourites. Iga has peaked in her form, Ash Barty has won a couple of titles, including one on clay – I’d love to see the two competing against each other in the later stages of the Grand Slam, maybe even the final."
Schett added: “I don’t want to rule out someone like Sabalenka as well because she has actually had a pretty solid clay-court season – she was a finalist in Stuttgart, she won in Madrid and she is dangerous.
“Over the course of two weeks, I am not sure Sabalenka has the stability, she gets carried away sometimes and has lots of ups and downs. She can cause some damage though."
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