PARIS — L’Orangerie, a beige stone hall with large windows, can be found on the way to Court Simonne-Mathieu, tucked into a lovely, leafy corner of Roland Garros.

On Thursday afternoon, it was the scene of a sparkling presentation — the eagerly awaited Tirage Au Sort — the pre-tournament draw. It will serve as the map for the French Open’s two-week journey that begins Sunday.

It was a lively show, and live, too, streaming online and on French television. There were several hundred in attendance — one of them World No.1 Iga Swiatek.

“Honestly, I love this place and I’m always excited to come back,” Swiatek said. “It feels like home.”

The 22-year-old was making the customary appearance of the defending champion. She’s actually defending two straight titles. She’s looking for a three-peat. The last one to do it: Justine Henin (2005-07).

It was, of course, a hometown crowd. There was an audible groan when it was revealed that No.7 seed Zheng Qinwen would be the first-round opponent of the retiring French favorite Alize Cornet. A tough draw.

Roland Garros

Aside from the positioning of the players, there was a bit of news when it was announced World No.5 Jessica Pegula had withdrawn with a lingering injury.

Consider the four quarters of the 128-player draw as four separate, 32-player tournaments. With that in mind, here’s a look at how the Hologic WTA Tour draw shakes out with some insights from 18-time Grand Slam singles champion Martina Navratilova:

First quarter: A tough road for Swiatek

Notable storylines: Swiatek opens with one of the 18 qualifiers/lucky losers, but then the path gets a little rockier. Naomi Osaka, whose game has revived on European clay, could be the second-round opponent if she can get by Lucia Bronzetti. No.29 seed Veronika Kudermetova could be looming in the third round and, get your popcorn ready for Barbora Krejcikova, the 2021 champion here, might be sitting there in the fourth. Krejcikova and Swiatek have split four previous matches.

Key first-round matchup: No.29 Veronika Kudermetova vs. Maria Bouzkova

If the seeds hold, potential quarterfinal matchup: No.1 Iga Swiatek vs. No.5 Marketa Vondrousova

Navratilova’s take: “Four [titles] in five years. Iga’s on Rafa’s heels, isn’t she? She has the perfect game for clay. The hard backhand, the spinny forehand. The combination works to keep them moving, pull them off the court — and the point is over. People aren’t confident enough to take [the forehand] on the rise. Movement-wise, it’s hard to get an opening because she’s hitting bombs from the baseline — with a ton of safety.

“If the ball is high, she rips the backhand down line, if not she goes crosscourt. With that forehand, opponents can’t tell where she’s going to hit it. You can guess right once, but when it gets to two or three, you can only guess right so many times.

“In the end? I think it’s Iga versus the field — a 50-50 proposition. But I like Vondrousova to surprise us. She’s ranked No.6, and she can’t really be considered a dark horse. She won’t like the heavy conditions in Paris, but you never know. The quarters, to me, are wide open.”

Second quarter: Watch out for Kenin

Notable storylines: Her ranking is No.41, but there are signs that Sofia Kenin is coming back around on clay. Four years ago, she was a finalist here, losing to Swiatek. A few weeks ago, Kenin took out Ons Jabeur in the second round at Rome. Kenin’s first match is against Laura Siegemund, and if she gets past her, Caroline Garcia — the highest-ranked French woman — could be waiting.

Key first-round matchup: No.9 Jelena Ostapenko vs. Jacqueline Cristian

If the seeds hold, potential quarterfinal matchup: No.3 Coco Gauff vs. No.8 Ons Jabeur

Navratilova’s take: “I think the biggest thing to keep an eye overall is the weather. When it’s wet, that helps the other players, because that checks Iga’s topspin forehand — players like Coco Gauff, who plays great D. Conditions at Roland Garros are very unpredictable and they really affect play. Coco’s movement is phenomenal.

“That keeps her in points when others can’t sustain it. She wants the points to go longer because she knows you’re going to eventually miss. If she can get that serve figured out [45 double faults in Rome]she can go deep in Paris.”

Third quarter: Big hitters abound

Notable storylines: Not only do you have Zheng Qinwen and Elena Rybakina as potential quarterfinalists, but there are a few more heavy hitters in this quarter. Ashlyn Krueger, the 20-year-old American is 6-foot-1 and packs some power. She could meet Zheng in the second round. Karolina Pliskova is likewise unseeded but could do some damage.

Key first-round matchups: No.7 Zheng Qinwen vs. Alize Cornet, No.15 Elina Svitolina vs. Karolina Pliskova

If the seeds hold, potential quarterfinal matchup: No.4 Elena Rybakina vs. No.7 Zheng

Navratilova’s take: “If somebody’s going to beat Iga, I think you have to go with the big hitters — [Elena] Rybakina, [Aryna] Sabalenka. They’re the two that can match her with power. When Rybakina’s healthy and committed, she’s very dangerous.

“With that serve, clay is probably her worst surface — and yet, she won Stuttgart and was the champion a year ago in Rome. Most of the time, her serve keeps points shorter. When it doesn’t, she has difficulty stringing rallies together.”

Fourth quarter: Sisters, Americans and marquee quality

Notable storylines: Six qualifier/lucky losers landed in this section, but there’s some serious marquee quality here, starting with World No.2 Aryna Sabalenka. She opens with 19-year-old Erika Andreeva, older sister of 17-year-old Mirra, who is also in this section. In theory, they could meet in the quarters. Throw in No.6 seed Maria Sakkari, No. 14 Madison Keys and No.19 Victoria Azarenka and you have danger lurking everywhere. Additionally, there are six Americans here, with more possible from the qualifying pool.

Key first-round matchup: No.26 Katie Boulter vs. Paula Badosa, Sloane Stephens vs. Yulia Putintseva

If the seeds hold, potential quarterfinal matchup: No.2 Aryna Sabalenka vs. No.6 Maria Sakkari

Navratilova’s take: “All the great ones take time away from their opponents. That’s what Swiatek did to Sabalenka in the Rome final. You think you always have to hit a great shot. That’s the common mistake: ‘Hey, Aryna, just hit another one.’

“It’s a bit of a panic when you try to hit too much. You still have to make them play. Be prepared to hit more shots. I know she has the tools, physically and mentally, to pull this off. You don’t have to redline, just amp it up maybe five percent and live to fight another day. Sabalenka’s played Iga in two straight red-clay finals, I can see it happening a third time.”


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