French Open preview: Can Serena Williams go all the way?

Maria Sharapova For Cole Haan

The 2014 Roland Garros starts on Sunday, and it promises to be a very exciting event.

With the French Open kicking off on Sunday, we take a look at the major contenders to lift the trophy this year.

Ana Ivanovic

Currently 12th in the WTA rankings, the 2008 champion has seen a return to form this season. The 26-year-old has won tournaments in Auckland and Monterrey. On clay, the Serb reached the final of the Premier tournament in Stuttgart and the semi-finals in Rome. With clay her favourite surface, Ivanovic is absolutely capable of causing a few surprises this time around.

Simona Halep

Halep has been causing a stir on the WTA tour this year. Seeded fourth, the Romanian achieved victory for the first time in a Premier Tour event at Qatar this year and also advanced to the final in Madrid. A skilled operator on clay, the 22-year-old will fancy her chances of reaching the semi-finals in Paris.

Sara Errani

Having reached the 2012 final and the 2013 semi-final, Errani is considered a clay-court expert. Although she often struggles against the big-hitters, the Italian is a consistent performer on the red surface. While she will be disappointed with her results so far this season, Errani did succeed in reaching the finals in her native Italy at the event in Rome last week.

Li Na

The 2011 champion a rose to a career-high number two in WTA rankings following her victory at the Australian Open in January. Results have somewhat deteriorated during the clay-court season, but on her day she is capable of beating anybody. What’s more, the 32-year-old has been placed in the kind half of the draw and will be expecting to make it to the final.

Maria Sharapova

After coming back from a shoulder injury, the 27-year-old struggled with form at the beginning of the season. An early departure from the Australian Open dropped her to seventh in the WTA rankings. However, the Russian has performed well on clay, winning titles in Stuttgart and Madrid. She is in the same quarter of the draw as Serena Williams, though, and winning a second French Open looks a tall order for her.

Serena Williams

The 17-time Grand Slam champion will be heading into Roland Garros looking to defend her title from last year. After injury hampered her progress in the first few months of the season, Williams went on to win the Premier Event in Miami. Last week in the warm-up event to the French Open in Rome, the American comfortably dispatched Errani in the final. While clay is Williams’ least favoured surface, victory this year would represent her third French Open and 18th Grand Slam overall. While she could face her sister Venus in the third round and Sharapova in the quarter-finals, it’s difficult to see anyone else lifting the trophy in two weeks’ time.