First-seeded Steffi Graf was the defending champion and successfully defended her title, defeating Arantxa Sánchez Vicario 6–3, 6–7(4–7), 10–8 to win the Women's Singles tennis title at the 1996 French Open. By winning her 19th Grand Slam title, Graf surpassed Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova's all time record overall Grand Slam singles titles at the Open Era.

Stefanie Maria "Steffi" Graf (born 14 June 1969) is a German former professional tennis player. She was ranked world No. 1 and won 22 Grand Slam singles titles. Her 22 singles titles put her second on the list of major wins in the female competition since the introduction of the Open Era in 1968 and is third all-time behind Margaret Court (24) and Serena Williams (23). In 1988, she became the only tennis player to achieve the Golden Slam by winning all four Grand Slam singles titles and the Olympic gold medal in the same calendar year. Furthermore, she is the only tennis player to have won each Grand Slam tournament at least four times.

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