Johanna Konta of Britain / AFP PHOTO / PAUL CROCK /

Johanna Konta returns to the French Open a year on from her surge to the semi-finals and will begin her quest for a first Grand Slam title against talented American teenager Coco Gauff, reports

Britain’s Konta, who recently split from coach Thomas Hogstedt after a trial period at the US Open, had never been beyond the first round prior to last year but enjoyed a surprising run to the final four before being stopped by Marketa Vondrousova.

Gauff burst onto the scenes by becoming the youngest qualifer in Wimbledon’s history a year ago and this will be the 16-year-old’s first appearance in the main draw of the French Open.

There is no women’s champion on site at Roland Garros to defend the title, with world No. 1 Ash Barry opting to skip the tournament, while recently re-crowned U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka has also decided against playing.

But 2018 winner Simona Halep, who is the reigning Wimbledon champion, will be involved and enters the tournament as the favourite.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Halep, who begins against Sara Sorribes Tormo, has been in scintillating form since the tennis tours were shutdown due to the coronvirus pandemic, winning titles in Prague and, most recently, Rome.

Halep, the 28-year-old from Romania, was among the top-10 players who decided against travelling to New York for the US Open and looks as if she will be tough to stop as she targets a third major title.

This will be the latest attempt for Serena Williams, who was a beaten semi-finalist at Flushing Meadows, to equal Margaret Court’s all-time Grand Slam record but this is statistically her worst major tournament.

She has still won the title at Roland Garros on three occasions, however, last reacing the final in 2016.

Williams will start against Kristie Ahn, while her sister Venus will take on Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

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