The European clay season is in full swing, and the second Grand Slam of the year is upon us: Roland-Garros.
With the first round littered with upsets, it’s safe to say it’s delivered so far.
In the women’s draw, Maria Sakkari, Belinda Bencic, Petra Kvitová, and Veronika Kudermetova all suffered shock eliminations. On the men’s side, second seed Daniil Medvedev was ousted by qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild, while Felix Auger-Aliassime, Dan Evans, and Jan-Lennard Struff also fell by the wayside.
But the big guns still remain. Iga Świątek and Carlos Alcaraz are through.
With seeds crashing out around them, how have the probabilities of each of them winning the title changed? And who are the main challengers and dark horses who could still threaten?
We turn to the Opta supercomputer to find out its tournament win probabilities as well as its ranking predictions come the end of the tournament.
Who Wins the French Open? The Quick Hits
- There’s a chance we could see a new world number one on both the women’s and men’s side of the game after the tournament.
- Świątek and Aryna Sabalenka will contest for that spot, while Alacaraz, Novak Djokovic, and Stefanos Tsitsipas could finish the competition as world number one.
- Świątek the favourite to win her third Roland Garros title (13.5% chance).
- Alcaraz favourite to win in the men’s draw (14.4% chance).
- Top three American players on the women’s draw all expected to drop in the rankings.
Don’t forget, you can follow our French Open tournament predictions live throughout the course of the tournament.
The Favorites to Win Roland Garros 2023
The beginning of this season has been marked by the dominance of three players on the women’s tour: Świątek, Sabalenka, and Elena Rybakina. All of them have won a tournament on both clay and hard court this season, and all three of them have won a grand slam over the past year.
Given her strength on clay, the supercomputer has Świątek as the tournament favourite (13.5%) followed closely by Sabalenka at 12.1% and then Rybakina at 7.0%. The Pole comes into the tournament as the defending champion and boasts an absurdly good record at Roland-Garros. She is one of only three players in the Open Era (alongside Margaret Court and Chris Evert) to have a win percentage above 90% (min. 20 wins).
She’s won the most matches on clay this year and will take some beating on this surface. Should she repeat her triumph from 2022, she’ll become just the sixth player in the Open Era to win consecutive French Open titles.
Rybakina is the only player who has beaten Świątek more than once this year and could meet the world number one in the semi-finals. Even though it’ll be on clay, where the ball moves through slower, Rybakina’s serve is still a powerful weapon. She has sent down 277 aces this year in the WTA, and is the only player to have registered over 200 aces in 2023.
Flying under the radar is 2017 Roland Garros champion, Jelena Ostapenko. The Latvian is currently the sixth most likely player to win the tournament (3%) according to our tournament simulation.
The world number 17 made the semi-finals of Rome just a few days ago, beating a couple of top 20 players on her way there. She’d have to fight through Daria Kasatkina, Caroline Garcia, and Sabalenka on her way to the semi-finals in Paris – with the Opta supercomputer giving her a 10% chance of doing so. That’s far from an easy route, but Ostapenko has pedigree at the tournament and is a destructive player when things click.
The absence of Rafael Nadal from this year’s tournament blows the men’s draw wide open.
Without the 14-time Roland-Garros champion at the top of the market, world number one Alcaraz is our favourite to win the French Open (14.4%), followed by Holger Rune (12.6%). Djokovic (12.3%) lurks menacingly in third.
Alcaraz has been the form player of the year so far. He holds the highest win percentage of any player in 2023, at 90.9%, and 20 of his 30 match wins this year have been on clay – the most of any player on the surface.
He could set up a mouthwatering semi-final against Djokovic should they both progress through the draw. The Spaniard has a 36% chance of getting that far, slightly higher than the Serb’s 32% probability.
On the bottom side of the draw, Rune is the main beneficiary of Medvedev’s shock exit. So much so, that the Dane is now the favourite to reach the final (19%). Looking to stop him will be world number four Casper Ruud and world number eight Jannik Sinner.
Tour Ranking Predictions
Prize money and a slice of history isn’t the only thing these players are competing for, however, with rankings points also up for grabs.
Predicting each players’ rankings points from the tournament, as well as how that corresponds to their tour rank after the competition, is something the supercomputer can also do.
Here’s what it says for the top 20 players in the world on the WTA and ATP tours (we’ll ignore players not participating in this year’s tournament).
For the first time since April of last year, there could be a new world number one on the WTA Tour.
While Świątek is looking to defend her title and her points, world number two Sabalenka has never made it past the third round of this major. But the model likes her chances of improving that record this year and gives the Belarusian a 76% chance of emerging as world number one after all is said and done.
The top three Americans Coco Gauff (86.8%), Jessica Pegula (80.9%) and Madison Keys (78.6%) are each likely to drop in the rankings after this tournament. That’s because they all enjoyed deep runs in 2022 that they’re unlikely to emulate this year.
Caroline Garcia didn’t make it past the second round at Roland-Garros last year. She is almost guaranteed to at least maintain her current ranking and has a 26% likelihood of reaching her career-best ranking of number three as the dust settles in Paris. Can she go the distance in her home country?
On the men’s tour, three players could end the tournament as world number one.
Alcaraz is the strong favourite to remain world number one (81.2%) – he’s our favourite to win the whole thing after all. That’s followed by Djokovic (17%), and Tsitsipas (1.8%).
Last year’s finalist, Casper Ruud, has a 95% probability of dropping in the rankings. His expected ranking is world number seven come the end of the tournament. Similarly, Auger-Aliassime, who lost in the first round, is also expected to fall out of the top 10 (68.1% chance).
On the other hand, Tsitsipas, Rune, Andrey Rublev, and Taylor Fritz – all of whom are currently in the top 10 – are each expected to increase their world rankings during the tournament.
How Our Tournament Simulator Works:
Our tournament projection model simulates the outcome of the tournament 10,000 times, estimating every player’s likelihood to get through each round of the draw based on their skill strength, where they are in the draw and the skill of the potential opponents they could face.