The French Open is fast approaching and it can’t some soon enough for two people.

This year’s tournament at Roland Garros has been called the most open for a long time, especially in the men’s singles, but that early optimism for the neutral looks to be fading fast.

It is hard to look past Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams for the title when the tournament commences on Sunday, if the recent Italian Open is anything to go by.

Many commentators believed Rafael Nadal’s long injury lay-off would leave him a little off colour and with not enough time to get back to full sharpness to defend his title.

The Spaniard has been runner-up twice in the eight tournaments he has played since returning from injury and won the other six.

The latest victory, over Roger Federer in Rome, was such a devastating masterclass of clay court play that anybody that still has misgivings over his chances at Roland Garros needs to have their head checked.

Nadal only dropped four games on the way to dismantling his great rival 6-1 6-3 and, with Andy Murray a doubt through injury, world number one Novak Djokovic looks the only man that could possibly stop Nadal taking his record-equalling eighth French title.

Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova goes into the defence of her title hoping Serena Williams has an off day before their likely meeting in the final.

The world number one has looked imperious in storming to wins in Madrid and Rome, the first of which was a one-sided victory over Sharapova.

World number three Victoria Azarenka was brushed aside 6-1 6-3 on Sunday as Williams made the Italian Open her fourth title in a row.

Seeing Williams so dominant on clay, it is surprising to hear she has only ever triumphed at Roland Garros once before – over ten years ago when she defeated sister Venus in 2002.

Unless she has one of those rare days of implosion, which have been known to occur when concentration is out early in tournaments, Williams is almost certain to double her French Open tally.

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