Maria Sakkari
Maria Sakkari enters the French Open as the sixth seed. | @rolandgarros
Iga Swiatek awaits everyone's best shot as she sets her sights on her fourth French Open title. An upset might be lurking deep in the draw.

It’s Iga Swiatek against the field.

She’s so good right now she might as well be hosting the tournament: The Iga Swiatek French Open.

Can she be toppled this year or is she out of everyone’s league?

Welcome Your Host, Iga Swiatek

Make no mistake, this is Iga’s tournament to lose. Everyone else will need her to have an off day if they hope to stand a chance.

She’s playing at the very top of her game, and no one has been able to make inroads against her in the last month.

In other words, she’s peaking at the right time.

Iga Swiatek has entrenched herself atop the world rankings, now carrying a 3500-point lead over second-ranked Aryna Sabalenka.

To wit, she defeated Sabalenka in the finals of Madrid and Rome, becoming the fifth player, man or woman, to win the Madrid-Rome double, a.k.a. the “Dirtball Double.”

She has only lost two sets in her last twelve matches, and has two additional titles on the year so far, Indian Wells and Qatar.

All four of her titles were 1000-series events, a string of victories that has precluded any other players from racking up meaningful ranking points.

Clay is Swiatek’s best surface. She won three of the last four French Opens and is a two-time defending champ this year.

It’s hard to imagine anyone tripping her up. She’s assembling a resume of dominance at Roland Garros similar to that of—dare we say it—her idol Rafael Nadal.

A career record of 28-2 at the event certainly deserves that type of recognition.

Don’t hand her the trophy quite yet, but the safe money is on that record moving to 35-2 in the next two weeks.

The Field

Who among the field might be able to disrupt Swiatek?

Not many.

Start with the emerging Big 4.

Elena Rybakina was the last to defeat her, four weeks ago in Stuttgart in three sets. The significance of that win is that it came on clay.

Coco Gauff and Sabalenka (twice) each had shots as well, but Swiatek handled them easily in Madrid and Rome.

Maria Sakkari is playing well, but may have some scar tissue from a 6-4, 6-0 drubbing from Iga in the finals of Indian Wells.

Danielle Collins can’t be ignored. Nay, won’t be ignored.

She has been on a tear during this farewell tour, rising to the top ten from outside the top fifty to start the year. Don’t count her out.

So can anyone out there find a way to upend Swiatek? Maybe. She does appear to have an Achilles heel, and it comes from a surprise location.

Analyzing Swiatek’s results reveals an interesting pattern—she tends to lose to lower-ranked opponents, those outside the top twenty.

Unexpected names like Ekaterina Alexandrova, Anna Kalinskaya, and Linda Noskova have all beaten her this year. All capable players, yes. Also all unexpected, unheralded, and even unseeded players who snuck up on her.

So if Swiatek doesn’t take the title for a fourth time, it might be because an overlooked player seizes the moment against Iga before she can fully troubleshoot the situation.

Alizé Cornet Says Goodbye

Thirty-four-year-old French veteran Alizé Cornet has announced that she will retire at the end of this year’s French Open.

She played her first Grand Slam here at age fifteen, and now, twenty years later, she’ll complete the circle in her twentieth appearance at her home tournament.

She has been steady as a rock, imminently likable and consistent, proven by her WTA record 68 consecutive major appearances.

Cornet drew a tough first-round opponent in Australian Open finalist and seventh seed Qinwen Zheng. She’ll have the home crowd behind her, though, and that may be enough to carry her to at least one last win.

Thanks for all the great performances, Alizé, and good luck with your novels.

Best First-Round Matchups

(7) Qinwen Zheng vs. Alizé Cornet

(15) Elina Svitolina vs. Karolina Pliskova

(6) Maria Sakkari vs. Varvara Gracheva

(26) Katie Boulter vs. Paula Badosa

Anhelina Kalinina vs. Camila Osorio

Extra Topspin’s Prediction

Iga Swiatek, true to form, three-peats without losing a set. Everyone else plays for second place.