World No 1 Simona Halep will have to fight away competition from five other players if she is to retain her World No 1 WTA ranking at the end of the French Open that begins on Sunday, May 27. Halep, who still has to win a grand slam title, has twice reached the final at Roland Garros but failed to go all the way.
The Romanian will need to reach the semifinals or better if she is to keep hold of her top ranking. Five players – Caroline Wozniacki, Garbine Muguruza, Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova and Caroline Garcia – are in contention to take over if Halep doesn’t make the semis or better. Halep has been the World No 1 for the past 31 weeks and has fought off challenge posed by Australian Open champion Wozniacki.
Simona Halep (World No. 1)
By reaching the final last year, Halep has the most points to defend among the six women. She will enter the competition with 1300 points to defend.
Halep needs to reach the semifinals to have a chance of retaining her top spot.
If World No. 2 Wozniacki advances to the quarterfinals, then Halep would need to reach the final to keep her shot at World No 1 alive.
If Halep does go all the way in winning her first major title in Paris, she would definitely remain World No 1.
Caroline Wozniacki (World No. 2)
Wozniacki has been close on Halep’s heels for the World No 1 spot. She took the pinnacle spot after winning her first slam in Melbourne earlier this year but relinquished it to Halep in February. With quarterfinal run at the 2017 French Open, the Dane is defending 430 points where she lost in three sets to eventual champion Jelena Ostapenko. Wozniacki hasn’t gone past the quarters in Paris (2010, 2017) and is looking to reach semis or better for the first time.
A second consecutive slam for Wozniacki would secure the No.1 ranking for her irrespective of any other results.
If Halep and Muguruza fail to make the semifinals AND Svitolina, Garcia, or Pliskova do not win the title, Wozniacki would regain the No.1 spot.
Garbine Muguruza (World No. 3)
The 2016 champion reached the Round of 16 last year losing to France’s Kristina Mladenovic in three sets. The Spaniard has been quite consistent when playing on the red clay having made the second week in her last four appearance. She will be defending 240 points coming into Paris. Muguruza is looking to recapture the No.1 ranking since Halep overtook her after the China Open last year.
Muguruza has to at least reach the semifinals to have a go at the No.1 spot.
If Wozniacki does not falter in the first round itself, then Muguruza would need to reach the final for a chance at No.1.
If Muruguza makes the final and Wozniacki doesn’t, the Spaniard will be the new World No 1.
Elina Svitolina (World No. 4)
Svitolina comes into French Open with a successful title defence in Rome, the Ukranian is looking to better her record from a quarterfinal finish last year when she lost to Halep.
She would need to win her maiden slam and hope other results go her way to become the next and first World No 1 from Ukraine. Svitolina would need Wozniacki to lose before the semifinals AND Halep to fail to reach the final.
Karolina Pliskova (World No. 6)
Pliskova is already having her best clay season with title in Stuttgart and making the semifinals of Madrid, the Czech woman is looking to return to the top of the charts since the US Open last year.
The 24-year-old would need to win the title with Wozniacki losing in the opening round, Halep failing to reach the semifinal, and Muguruza falling short of the final. Tough odds!
Caroline Garcia (World No. 7)
No Frenchwoman has gone on to lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen since Mary Pierce did back in 2000 and none have held the top spot in the rankings since Amelie Mauresmo in 2004. Garcia has continued from where she left off last season with titles in Wuhan and Beijing to qualify for the WTA Finals. She has made giant strides this year too with semifinal appearances in Stuttgart and Madrid and quarters in Rome.
Garcia would need to win the title with Wozniacki falling before the Round of 16, Halep failing to reach the semifinals, and Muguruza not reaching the final if she is to become the next World No 1.