Here my top 10 French Open occurrences, in ascending order (and an honorable mention to Alina Korneeva for winning consecutive junior titles):
10. Remember Her Name: By now, fans who follow tennis seriously know who Mirra Andreeva is, and there's every reason to believe that others will know soon enough. The 16-year-old Russian reached the final of the Australian Open junior competition. And when she was 15, she became the third youngest player to win a main draw match (def. Leylah Fernandez) at a WTA 1000 tournament (Madrid). She has also defeated Beatriz Haddd Maia and Magda Linette. Playing as a qualifier in Paris, Andreeva defeated Alison Riske-Amritraj and Diane Parry, and she took a set off of 6th seed Coco Gauff before losing to her in the third round.
9: More Than Lucky: Elina Avanesyan is just the fifth women's player in the open era to make it to the round of 16 as a lucky loser in a major, and the first one to do so in 30 years. The 20-year-old Russian got everyone's attention immediately when she upset 12th seed Belinda Bencic in the first round. She also defeated notable young player Clara Tauson before falling to eventual finalist Karolina Muchova.
8: 10. Wheels On Fire!: While she was in Paris, Diede de Groot won her hundredth consecutive match, making her an even more stunning reflection of her mentor, the great Esther Vergeer. She also won the French Open in singles for the fourth time. de Groot missed winning the doubles title, though she and her partner, Maria Florencia Marino, made it to the final (de Groot's regular partner, Aniek Van Koot, is out with an injury). Unfortunately, the women's final was played on court 14, which one might think indicates a lack of respect for wheelchair tennis; however, the men's final was played on Court Philippe-Chatrier. Of course it was.
7. Oh Happy Ending!: Miyu Kato and her partner, Aldila Sutjiadi, who were seeded 16th in women's doubles, had to default their third round match when Kato inadvertently hit a ballgirl with a tennis ball. But Kato and her partner, Tim Puetz, went on to win the mixed doubles title, defeating Bianca Andreescu and Michael Venus in the final. (Kato's women's doubles prize money and points were taken away, and she is appealing this decision.)
6. Now You See Her, Now You Don't: Last year, 2021 French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova lost in the first round of the tournament, but that was no surprise; she had been absent from the tour for some time because of an elbow injury. This year, her clay season hasn't been anything special, but it was nevertheless a shock to see her go out again in the first round. (Unfortunately, the popular narrative is that Krejcikova lost in the first round two years in a row, without any mention of her injury.) We may never know what happened,* but we can expect to see better results on hard courts, where the Czech star really shines.
Miyu Kato's winner speech (2/2) pic.twitter.com/oi08eCOUra— Rio 🟦👍 | grass szn 🌱🍀 (@impetigorx) June 8, 2023
5. A Comeback to Remember: The past several months have been deeply significant for Elina Svitolina, symbolizing the epitome of both sorrow and joy. The sorrow, of course, is that her country remains under invasion; the joy is that she gave birth to a daughter in October. Svitolina returned to the tour in April, and in May, she won her 17th title, in Strasbourg. That was impressive enough, but the Ukrainian star went on to reach the quarterfinals at Roland Garros.
4. "Upset" Doesn't Begin to Describe It: They were the top seeds, and they had won the French Open twice. Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova have been utterly dominant in doubles for some time. However, the upset of the 2023 French Open occurred in the first round of doubles, when the Czech team *fell in straight sets to the unseeded team of Ulrikke Eikeri and Eri Hozumi.
3. How to Make a Comeback: Because of injury, Hsieh Su-Wei hadn't played in a major since 2021. She and Wang Xinyu had played together only once before. But they defeated five seeded teams to reach the Roland Garros final, in which they defeated 10th seeds Taylor Townsend and Leylah Fernandez 1-6, 7-6, 6-1.
2. The Marvelous Ms. Muchova: Karolina Muchova is a player of such talent and atheticism, a casual observer would probably wonder why she isn't in the top 10, and why she has won only one WTA tournament, despite doing well at some majors. The answer is sad: Muchova has been injured throughout her career, and between the injuries and the surgeries (in 2021, she was told that she might not ever play again), she has had next to no momentum.
But Muchova arrived in Paris in good physical condition, and proceeded to show the world her considerable wealth of tennis skiils. Muchova can serve, she can volley, she can move beautifully, and she can think fast. The Czech player began her campaign by upsetting 8th seed Maria Sakkari, then went on to take out the likes of 2021 finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and 2nd seed and Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka.
Muchova, down and almost out, turned the final around and became the first player in the tournament to take top seed Iga Swiatek to three sets. Toward the end of the match, she had a chance to go for an upset, but a combination of the occasion (her usual nerves of steel were visibly a bit shaken) and the mighty force known as Iga prevented that from happening. Nevertheless, it was a stunning run. I join many in hoping that Muchova remains healthy for the rest of her career; if she can do that, she can finally reach the heights that have eluded her for so long.
1. She Loves Paris in the Spring: Top seed and defending champion Iga Swiatek won Stuttgart, but withdrew from Rome because of injury. There was some concern about how fit she would be for the French Open, but she took her usual romp through the red clay, not dropping a set, until she reached the final and had to deal with a resurgent Muchova. But the world number 1 found a way to win, which is what champions often do, and she defeated her opponent 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 in the final. This is Swiatek's third French Open championship--she also won the tournament in 2020 and 2022--and her fourth major (she won the U.S. Open last year).
Swiatek now has a couple of players chasing her, notably Elina Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka, as well as Barbora Krejcikova, who has defeated her in two hard court finals. One has to believe that the Polish star would like to dominate on grass. During the second week of Roland Garros, she wore an all-white kit; I, for one, am looking forward to seeing her wear it in July.