Defending champion Simona Halep insists she is not concerned by a crowded field of contenders as she concentrates on herself at the French Open.

Former world number one Halep ended her wait for a first grand slam title at Roland Garros last year, but she has won only one WTA Tour event since.

Meanwhile, Naomi Osaka has won consecutive grand slams in New York and Melbourne, with Kiki Bertens and Karolina Pliskova excelling in recent clay-court tournaments.

But Halep's focus is on her own improvement as the third seed prepares for a maiden major defence.

"All of them are very tough opponents, but I don't see my opponents as rivals," the Romanian told Omnisport, speaking courtesy of Hublot.

"I just try to learn from every match I play against them. I lost to Kiki in the final of Madrid, so if I play next time, I just want to be better than that match.

"I see all of my opponents the same so, for me, it's important to focus on myself every time."

Osaka is the world number one coming into the tournament, yet Halep believes rankings count for little at a grand slam.

"It matters to have some good matches before, along the road," she said. "But you never know. Every day you can play good tennis, even if you didn't have good matches before.

"For me, the ranking doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if you are two, three, one, five. At this tournament, every match is difficult and every opponent is working hard.

"You just have to be focused, be prepared for everything, and try to give your best – that's the most important thing."

Halep is yet to win a Tour event this year and has suffered with hip and leg injuries, but the 27-year-old insists she is primed and ready for Roland Garros.

"I feel better, I feel ready to start the tournament," she said. "I had two finals this year, good finals, so I'm not disappointed about the start of the year.

"It's not always been the best year, so I'm trying more to enjoy my life, which I did, and I'm happier."

Halep had twice suffered defeat in the French Open final before last year's triumph over Sloane Stephens, and also lost the 2018 Australian Open final. 

Two-time Geneva Open champion Stan Wawrinka was upset in the last 16 on Wednesday, while 2018 winner Marton Fucsovics also came unstuck.

Swiss star Wawrinka won in both 2016 and 2017 before losing to eventual champion Fucsovics in the quarter-finals last time out.

But the duo suffered an earlier exit this year as second seed Wawrinka was stunned by Damir Dzumhur and Fucsovics, seeded fourth, fell well short against Federico Delbonis.

Wawrinka won the opening set against Dzumhur before going down 3-6 6-3 6-4, with the Bosnian now set to face Radu Albot.

Elsewhere in the draw, third seed Cristian Garin lost in three sets to Taro Daniel.

The favourites fared much better in Lyon, where Nikoloz Basilashvili, Roberto Bautista Agut and Denis Shapovalov all advanced.

Although Richard Gasquet retired, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Benoit Paire at least ensured there was some French representation in the last eight.

Tsonga was taken the distance in a 3-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 win over Steven Diez, while Paire enjoyed a much more straightforward 6-4 6-3 triumph over Pablo Cuevas.

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka set up an Internationaux de Strasbourg quarter-final against Monica Puig after cruising through the round of 16.

Sabalenka, the highest seed in the tournament following Ashleigh Barty's withdrawal, defeated Laura Siegemund 6-4 6-3 on Wednesday to advance in France. Puig saw off Astra Sharma and is up next.

Daria Gavrilova had enjoyed a relaxed day on Tuesday as compatriot Barty withdrew and rain intervened before a match with lucky loser Diana Marcinkevica.

But Gavrilova was required to make up for lost time as the action resumed, playing two matches in one day.

Marcinkevica was beaten in straight sets, before a trickier test against Amandine Hesse saw Gavrilova battle back to reach the last eight with a 4-6 6-2 7-5 win.

Meanwhile, fourth seed Caroline Garcia was required to finish her match with Shelby Rogers – winning the decider 6-3 - before facing Rebecca Peterson, a match she won in straight sets.

Dayana Yastremska raced through, thrashing two-time champion Sam Stosur, while Wang Qiang and Zheng Saisai crashed out.

At the Nuremberg Cup, defending champion Johanna Larsson let an early lead slip to go out to second seed Katerina Siniakova, as both also played twice in a day.

Yulia Putintseva won in straight sets, yet Ajla Tomljanovic was among four seeds to lose.

Ashleigh Barty has withdrawn from the Internationaux de Strasbourg through injury, with under a week to go before the French Open.

Barty, the highest ranked WTA player taking part in a Tour event this week, has a right arm problem and pulled out of her first-round match against fellow Australian Daria Gavrilova.

Lucky loser Diana Marcinkevica will move into her spot at the tournament.

"I felt that it was back - I tested myself, but this morning, I knew that I will not be able to play," said Barty.

"Next week there is Roland Garros. Then it's the grass season. I will have two very busy months.

"For now, the only thing to do is to spend two or three days without touching the racket. I hope that I will be 100 per cent next week."

All of Tuesday's play in Strasbourg was heavily impacted by inclement weather, meaning no matches were finished and a packed card is in store for Wednesday.

But there was more action at the Nuremberg Cup, where eighth seed Andrea Petkovic won 6-3 6-2 against Cagla Buyukakcay.

Anna-Lena Friedsam was another German player to win on home soil against Irina-Camelia Begu, while Laura Ioana Paar and Tamara Zidansek also progressed.

Alexander Zverev cruised into the quarter-finals of the Geneva Open with a 6-2 6-1 win over Ernests Gulbis, while there was a first-round exit for Grigor Dimitrov.

Dimitrov, who was ranked number four in the world 12 months ago but has now sunk to 47, accepted a wildcard to appear in qualifying for the first time in a tournament since the 2012 Paris Masters in order to reach the main draw.

But that was as far as the Bulgarian got, as Federico Delbonis recovered to earn a 1-6 6-4 6-2 win and move into the last 16.

There were no such problems for top seed Zverev in his match, with Gulbis offering little resistance and going down to defeat in one hour and six minutes.

Gulbis was not without his chances, but Zverev saved eight of the Latvian's nine break-point opportunities and took five of his own to end a two-match losing streak.

"It was a good win, obviously [Gulbis] is someone that plays very aggressive and hits the ball very hard at times," Zverev said.

"In the first few games I thought it was going to be a very difficult match and then I picked up my level a little bit."

Zverev will face Hugo Dellien in the last eight after the Bolivian defeated Janko Tipsarevic in Tuesday's final match.

Other round-of-32 clashes saw Joao Sousa edge a tight encounter against Leonardo Mayer, Albert Ramos-Vinolas get the better of sixth seed Adrian Mannarino and Damir Dzumhur beat Feliciano Lopez.

In the Lyon Open, number four seed Felix Auger-Aliassime defeated John Millman in straight sets, while Steve Johnson knocked out home favourite Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

There was some cause for celebration for the French fans, though, as Benoit Paire and Corentin Moutet booked places in the last 16, as did Uruguayan veteran Pablo Cuevas.

Internationaux de Strasbourg sixth seed Dayana Yastremska cruised past Pauline Parmentier to set up a second-round tie with Samantha Stosur.

Yastremska has struggled with illness and injury since winning the Thailand Open earlier in the season, but showed no signs of fatigue on Monday, 20 May 2019.

The 19-year-old made light work of Parmentier - a former Strasbourg semi-finalist - in the first set, though the Frenchwoman rallied in the second before Yastremska prevailed on her third match point.

Next up will be Stosur, who the Ukrainian defeated in straight sets at this year's Australian Open, after the 2011 US Open champion defeated Jessica Pegula 6-3 6-1.

Top seed Ashleigh Barty starts her tournament against Daria Gavrilova on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, there were surprise defeats for eighth seed Zhang Shuai, who lost 6-4 6-1 to Astra Sharma, and fifth seed Sofia Kenin, beaten in straight sets by Chloe Paquet.

Rain prevented play in all but one match at the Nuremberg Cup, with Mona Barthel overcoming Paula Ormaechea 6-3 3-6 6-2.

Seeds Matthew Ebden and Andreas Seppi both suffered surprise defeats at the Geneva Open on Monday.

Nicolas Jarry upset Australian Ebden 6-2 7-6 (7-4), while Seppi suffered a similar fate at the hands of Hugo Dellien, who won 6-1 3-6 6-4.

Their exits have opened up a potentially easier route to the latter stages for Grigor Dimitrov, whose match with Federico Delbonis was postponed due to rain.

Dimitrov accepted a wild card into qualifying and has looked sharp ahead of the French Open, with top seed and world number five Alexander Zverev also in action on Tuesday, against Ernests Gulbis.

Ugo Humbert was a standout performer at the Lyon Open, ending a three-match losing streak as he beat Cameron Norrie 6-1 6-3, hitting eight aces and converting six of nine break points.

There were no surprises elsewhere, though sixth seed Richard Gasquet had to come from behind to beat qualifier Maxime Janvier 6-7(5-7) 6-2 7-6 (7-2).

Meanwhile, Tristan Lamasine beat Jannik Sinner to set up a second-round clash with top seed Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Justine Henin believes Simona Halep has a "little advantage" over her rivals on clay as the Romanian prepares to defend her French Open title in Paris.

Halep claimed her maiden grand slam in the 2018 edition but has not won a tournament so far this year, including losing in the final of the Madrid Open to Kiki Bertens.

But Henin, who lifted the trophy on four occasions at Roland Garros in her playing career, believes that Halep's knowledge of how to play on the surface may prove to be crucial, despite the high level of competition.

"In the women's draw, so many players have won tournaments in the last two years, it's pretty amazing," Henin told Omnisport.

"But I'm interested in seeing how Halep defends her title. I still think that with all of the players I know on the tour, on the clay she has a little advantage, she knows how to use the surface, she is physically strong, she has these qualities. But a lot of other players push, a lot of young players.

"It's going to be interesting because [Naomi] Osaka has won the last two [slams]."

Among the rivals looking to claim Halep's crown will be Serena Williams, who has returned to training after recovering from a knee problem that forced her out of the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome.

Williams is looking to win a slam for the first time since becoming a mother in September 2017, and Henin believes that is serving as extra motivation for the 37-year-old.

"I think it's to keep the passion and motivation. You need to keep sense to what you do, and to stay healthy also," Henin said of Williams.

"Because physically it [giving birth] is a big, big issue, you pushed your body a lot and you need to do a lot of rest and sometimes you need some breaks and Serena has done that already in the past.

"I admire her a lot that she still has the motivation, the passion. I think that now she has a daughter she wants to win grand slams being a mum.

"It's going to be hard because the time goes on and the young players are physically putting on a lot of pressure.

"In another way, when Serena wants something it is very hard to stop her, so we will see."

Rafael Nadal has now occupied a place in the world's top 10 for 735 consecutive weeks, passing Roger Federer for the second-longest streak in the history of the ATP rankings.

Nadal made a statement on Sunday ahead of defending his French Open title in Paris, despatching Novak Djokovic 6-0 4-6 6-1 in the Internazionali d'Italia final.

The victory ended his wait for a first tournament win in 2019, the Spaniard having underwhelmed on clay so far this year, losing semi-finals in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid.

But the 11-time Roland Garros champion made light work of the current world number one in Rome, even though he was taken to three sets.

There was further good news on Monday for Nadal, who has been ensconced inside the top 10 since April 25, 2005.

He has overtaken Federer on the all-time list when it comes to appearances in consecutive weeks, with only Jimmy Connors (789) left ahead of him on the all-time list.

Novak Djokovic believes Rafael Nadal is the clear favourite to win yet another French Open.

Nadal finally claimed his first title of the year on Sunday, crushing Djokovic 6-0 4-6 6-1 in the Internazionali d'Italia final.

The Spaniard is a record 11-time champion at Roland Garros and Djokovic feels Nadal will be hard to stop as he bids for three in a row in Paris.

"Nadal [is the] number one favourite, without a doubt," the Serbian told a news conference.

"And then everyone else."

Nadal secured his ninth Rome crown with an impressive performance against Djokovic, who was blown away early.

Djokovic was happy to push Nadal to a third set as he lamented some fatigue after his run to the final.

"I'm really glad I managed to get into the third set considering in the first set I was blown away from the court and obviously third set wasn't much different from the first," he said.

"But actually the first three or four games in the third set were quite close and maybe that's where I had a slight chance to build on the momentum that I had from winning the second set.

"I was running out of fuel a little bit, just kind of missed that half a step, especially on the backhand side, and he used it.

"He used it very well, he's been playing some terrific tennis throughout the entire week and he was just too strong."

The French Open begins on Sunday.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga began his bid for a second Lyon Open title with a gutsy win over fifth seed Dusan Lajovic.

The 2017 champion has played his way back into the world's top 100 after an injury-hit 2018 saw him drop as low as 259 in the rankings.

In a tricky opener in France, Tsonga came through 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in a match lasting one hour and 44 minutes.

A break apiece in the first set meant a tie-break was required, which Tsonga dominated, and a solitary dropped service game from Lajovic in the second proved costly.

Sunday's other match at the tournament saw John Millman hammer Pablo Andujar 6-1 6-3.

At the Geneva Open, Ernests Gulbis and Juan Ignacio Londero defeated Yoshihito Nishioka and 2017 runner-up Mischa Zverev respectively in straight sets to progress.

Aryna Sabalenka enjoyed a welcome confidence boost on clay ahead of the French Open, thrashing Zhu Lin 6-0 6-1 in round one of the Internationaux de Strasbourg.

Sabalenka came into Sunday's match having not won on the red dirt for more than a year, after respective first-round losses in Madrid and Rome to Svetlana Kuznetsova and Alize Cornet.

However, the Belarusian needed just 47 minutes to prevail against China's Zhu, who was totally outclassed and won only 17 points.

Next up for Sabalenka - the second seed in Strasbourg - is a meeting with Laura Siegemund or Renata Zarazua.

Wang Qiang, Rebecca Peterson, Fiona Ferro and Zheng Saisai also progressed to round two on Sunday, the latter needing two tie-breaks to beat French wildcard Harmony Tan.

There were two retirements on day one of the Nuremberg Cup, with Vera Lapko and Dalila Jakupovic unable to complete their respective matches against Sara Sorribes Tormo and top seed Yulia Putintseva.

Evgeniya Rodina was the other player to bow out, the seventh seed losing 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 to Madison Brengle.

Rafael Nadal made a major statement ahead of his French Open defence, thumping world number one Novak Djokovic 6-0 4-6 6-1 in the Internazionali d'Italia final to claim his ninth title in Rome.

The winner of an astonishing 11 men's singles crowns at Roland Garros, which will host the year's second grand slam from next Sunday, Nadal had endured an unusually underwhelming clay-court season prior to facing Djokovic, losing semi-finals in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid.

Djokovic, a four-time champion in Rome, has won each of the last three slams and dominated Nadal in the Australian Open final in January.

However, the boot was on the other foot on this occasion as the Spaniard registered the first bagel in 54 meetings between the illustrious pair and secured his first trophy of 2019 with a degree of comfort, despite a gutsy fightback from his rival.

Nadal now has 34 Masters 1000 titles to Djokovic's 33, having edged clear once again in their long-running battle for supremacy.

While the former cruised into the final, Djokovic had been forced to come through a series of demanding contests and that appeared to be a factor as he was clinically dismantled in a one-sided opening set.

The top seed appeared sluggish in his movement and had no answer to a series of sensational forehands from the other side of the net, most notably a winner down the line in the fifth game.

Although Djokovic raised his level after suffering the indignity of a bagel, Nadal still dictated play for the most part and looked likely to triumph in straight sets, only to then be surprisingly broken for only the second time in the tournament when he made back-to-back errors serving at 4-5.

Nadal quickly regained control with a break at the start of the decider, prompting a frustrated Djokovic to smash his racquet.

And there was to be no way back for the Serbian, who was guilty of a succession of poor drop shots throughout the match as he suffered a first defeat to a top-10 opponent this year.

Karolina Pliskova sealed her second title of the season by defeating Johanna Konta in straight sets in the final of the Internazionali d'Italia on Sunday.

Pliskova has been blighted by illness since she finished as runner-up at the Miami Open in March, but she was in fine form as she overcame Konta 6-3 6-4 to become the first Czech to win the women's singles in Rome since 1978.

The 27-year-old, who lost in the second round in Stuttgart and Madrid, will consequently move up to second in the rankings ahead of the French Open.

Pliskova dropped just two sets across the entire tournament, during which she did not have to face a single seed.

Konta was broken in her first service game when she found the net after a double fault and, although she saved a set point with a fine cross-court forehand, she missed a glorious chance to break back in the next.

The fourth seed held from there to take the opener and Konta - who reached the final in Rabat this month - managed to save a break point to avoid immediately falling behind in the second.

Pliskova threw her racket in frustration after failing to convert a third break point in game seven, but a brilliant forehand saw her get the job done at the fifth time of asking in the set.

Konta staved off a pair of match points to get to deuce but buried a forehand into the net to give Pliskova the trophy.

Top seed and four-time champion Novak Djokovic survived a scare from Diego Schwartzman to set up an Internazionali d'Italia final against Rafael Nadal in Rome.

Having overcome Juan Martin del Potro in a gripping quarter-final, Djokovic had to get through another epic encounter in the last four of the ATP Masters 1000 event – the world number one prevailing 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 on Saturday.

After cruising in the first set, 15-time grand slam champion Djokovic – who is aiming for his fifth Rome title and third ATP triumph of 2019 – was pegged back in the second, Schwartzman coming out on top in a tie-breaker.

But Schwartzman's resistance was finally ended when Djokovic's quality came to the fore in the final set, and world number two Nadal – who the Serbian beat in January's Australian Open final – awaits on Sunday.

With eight-time winner Nadal breezing past Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 6-4 to claim the first final spot, Djokovic started strongly, despatching some typically composed shots to wrap up the first set, capping it off with a wonderful drop-shot in the final game following a terrific rally.

Schwartzman – buoyed by his 6-4 6-2 victory over Kei Nishikori in the last eight – responded well, though, breaking serve twice to force, and subsequently win, the tie-break.

However, that second-set resilience took too much out of Schwartzman's sails, and Djokovic broke serve when the Argentinian sent a short hit into the net following a brilliant cross-court effort from the Serb.

And after an awkward moment when a stray shot hit a ball boy, Djokovic – through to back-to-back Masters finals – made sure to make no further mistakes, breaking serve once more before forcing another error from his opponent to secure a hard-fought victory.

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