Mon, May 28, 1:45pm by Staff Writer
The French Open title is up for grabs for 128 of the world’s best female tennis players this fortnight at Roland-Garros.
World number one Simona Halep will be hoping to secure her maiden Grand Slam title and is an equal favourite at $7 at Sportsbet to do so.
Halep has had a number of cruel Grand Slam finals matches, losing last year to Jelena Ostapenko in the third set and also going to down to Caroline Wozniacki in Melbourne earlier this year.
The opening two rounds for Halep should pose no problems, with France’s Kristina Mladenovic ($51) waiting in the third round.
Halep’s half of the draw also includes the exciting 16th seed Elise Mertens ($51) and 12th seed and former world number on Angelique Kerber ($34).
Fourth-seed Elina Svitolina has never made it past the quarterfinals at Roland-Garros, but brings promising form into the tournament.
She was victorious in the Premier level event in Rome a fortnight ago, defeating Halep comprehensively in the final 6-0 6-4. She is a $7 chance to win her maiden Grand Slam title.
Petra Kvitova ($11) is a two-time Wimbledon champion, but is certainly not to be under-estimated on clay. Her best is unstopptable, but faces a stern test in Svitolina in the second week if she progresses past tricky opposition including 10th seed Sloane Stephens.
Czech Karolina Pliskova had a now famous meltdown in Rome a fortnight ago and is a $17 chance to win her maiden Grand Slam title.
She is certainly well credentialed on clay, but prefers hard courts, so her price of $17 is not tempting enough to wager on.
Defending champion Jelena Ostapenko from Latvia is also a $17 shot. The 21-year-old has had a poor 2018 season so far, being bounced out in the early stages of all three clay lead-in tournaments. She is not worth taking at such short odds.
Maria Sharapova is slowly making her way back to full strength after a ban from the tour. She is $13 and fourth favourite for the title, but the oddsmakers are again over-estimated Sharapova’s level at the moment.
She has not won a tournament since her return and has not even made the final of any of the seven events she has played this season. While Sharapova will beat those players she is expected to beat, she has struggled against the tour’s better players this season, with losses to Kerber, Bertens and Halep.
2016 champion Garbine Muguruza has had a difficult clay season to date, losing in her first matches at both Rome and Stuttgart, before losing in the round of 16 in Madrid.
She is certainly not at full fitness and is difficult to chance at $15.
One player who it is advised to steer clear from is Serena Williams. She is priced at an outrageous $15 to win the French Open despite her lengthy layoff due to the birth of her first child.
Despite being one of the best female players we have ever seen, Williams has managed only four matches in 2018 and 12 matches over the past two season.
She has not played a clay event in the lead up to the French Open and it would be diabolical to back her at such odds.
Looking at her draw, even her first round match against world number 70 Kristyna Pliskova will pose problems for Williams.
With the women’s Grand Slam events always throwing up a surprise packet, we have chosen Elise Mertens as an outsider for this year’s title.
The Belgian is $51 to win the title and has won two clay events in Rabat and Lugano this season. She made the semi finals of the Australian Open and is not afraid of the big stage.
She is certainly not without a chance at winning quarter 1 of the draw, with her biggest rivals Halep ($2.50) and Kiki Bertens ($6.50).
Best bet- Elina Svitolina to reach the final at $3.75
Value bet- Elina Svitolina to win the French Open at $7
Value bet- Elise Mertens to win quarter 1 at $12
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