By Sally Milano
The 2017 French Open is just days away, and the world's top players are in Paris ready to vie for the trophy on the red clay of Roland Garros. Among the stars competing this year are the winners of the US Open Series tournaments in 2016.
Let's take a closer look at the Series champions' history in Paris and how they could fare at the second Grand Slam event of the year:
The winner of last year's BB&T Atlanta Open will be playing in his fifth French Open this year, with his best performances to date in Paris coming in both 2015 and 2016, when he reached the third round. The 22-year-old Australian, currently No. 19 in the ATP rankings, has posted some big wins in 2017, defeating Novak Djokovic at consecutive tournaments in Acapulco and Indian Wells and losing a nail-biter to Roger Federer, 7-6 (9), 6-7 (9), 7-6 (5), in the semifinals of Miami. Kyrgios has played in two clay-court events leading up to Roland Garros. He advanced to the round of 16 at Madrid the week of May 8 and is currently competing at the ATP event in Lyon, France.
The 2016 Rogers Cup champion captured the French Open men's title last year to become the eighth man to achieve the career Grand Slam and the third to hold all four major titles at once. The 30-year-old Serb, who has also reached three French finals (2012, 2014-15), has been in a slump of late but last week showed signs of returning to form by reaching the final of the Masters 1000 Italian Open in Rome. Djokovic, second in the ATP rankings, also reached the Monte Carlo quarterfinals and the Madrid semifinals earlier this month and announced last weekend that he will be working with Hall of Famer Andre Agassi during this year's French Open.
The world No. 8, last year's Cincinnati winner, has reached the fourth round at Roland Garros three times in his career – in 2009, 2010 and 2015. The 2014 US Open champion is coming off a title run at Istanbul – his first title on clay in five years – and quarterfinal appearances in Monte Carlo and Rome.
Pablo Carreno Busta
The 2016 Winston-Salem Open champion from Spain picked up his first ATP title on clay and his first title of 2017 at the Estoril Open in Portugal earlier this month. Currently ranked No. 21, Carreno Busta is looking to move past the second round of the French Open for the first time in his career.
Konta, who won her maiden title in 2016 at the US Open Series event in Stanford, broke into the world's Top 10 last October and is currently ranked No. 8. The 26-year-old has captured two hard-court titles in 2017 (Sydney, Miami) and also reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open. Clay has not been her strongest surface – she has not won a match in her two previous appearances at the French Open – but the Brit is having a big year in 2017 and could be a threat in Paris.
Currently ranked fourth in the world, the 25-year-old Romanian, last year's Rogers Cup champion, was a finalist at the French Open in 2014, and she will enter the year's second Grand Slam as a favorite, having compiling a 14-2 record and reaching the semifinals or better in her last three tournaments. Over the last few weeks, Halep, who has listed Paris as her favorite city and Roland Garros as her favorite tournament, won the Madrid title, finished runner-up in Rome and reached the Stuttgart semifinals.
Last year's Cincinnati winner will be looking to advance past the second round of the French Open for the first time. The 25-year-old Czech, ranked third in the world, comes into the tournament with a quarterfinal showing at Rome and two titles to her name in 2017 (Brisbane, Doha).
The world No. 10, who won the 2016 New Haven championship, has claimed 20 WTA titles during her career, with her top result this year coming in January, when she reached the Sydney final. Radwanska's best French Open result to date is a quarterfinal finish in 2013. She is questionable for this year's tournament, however, after a right foot injury forced her to withdraw from the Madrid Open and the Italian Open. "Hopefully, it's going to be fine," the 28-year-old Pole said on her website, regarding whether she would be recovered to play at Roland Garros. "I didn't miss a Slam for the last 10 years. It's hard to think that I'm going to miss that. For the moment, I'm preparing to play and hope that I will be ready to play. But, of course, you can't predict everything."