Roland Garros 2017
The first major of the year at Australia was a surprising event with a hugely under-rated Roger Federer showing that the bookies got it all wrong by storming to his 18th Grand Slam. Have the bookies got it right this time by making Nadal a huge favourite, he who is chasing an unbelievable 10th French Open title? And with no Serena Williams to worry about, will we see a surprise package this year in the Women’s draw or will defending champ Muguruza continue to dominate in Paris?
Possible top half winners:-
Kerber, Stosur, Bertens, Kuznetsova, Mladenovic and Venus Williams
If Kerber can somehow reach the 4th round she may end up winning this title. But that’s a ‘big if’ as she has Ostapenko and Stosur to worry about in her quarter and then a possible quarter-final encounter against a tough Bertens or the very experienced former French Open champ, Kuznetsova.
I predict Muguruza struggling this year as her form has been quite inconsistent and a first round clash with Schiavone who won the French in 2010 could end up as a shock upset! If the Italian manages to achieve it, her good run could end in the hands of the home favourite Kristina Mladenovic who in my opinion is one of the best bets for this championship.
Possible bottom half winners:-
Halep, Svitolina, Sevastova, Vondrousova, Garcia, Pavlyuchenkova and Parmentier
With her injury worries, Halep may not be the best option to back early on as every round on Clay will test your fitness levels. If she remains fit however, the Romanian is indeed the right favourite to win this title. If not, Svitolina has to be the 2nd best bet as priced by the bookies @odds of around 9. With Halep’s injury worries, perhaps backing Svito early looks more logical.
The surprise package of this year could come from the 17 yr old Czech, Marketa Vondrousova. Priced around 80 on Unibet currently, this could indeed be one of the best punts of the tournament.
Also good is Caroline Garcia who didn’t look too bad recently on Clay. A possible quarter-final clash between Garcia and Pavlyuchenkova is on the cards this year.
However, one of the best high outright odds candidate in my opinion would be Parmentier who is a natural clay courter and has historically not played too bad in front of her home crowd. I don’t believe she will win the title but a small risk on her @ odds of 1000 is a calculated investment.
Kerber/Stosur vs Mladenovic & Svitolina/Vondrousova vs Garcia/Pavlyuchenkova
My best outright bet for this tournament is Kristina Mladenovic for her incredible form throughout the past few months on Clay. Worth also pointing out that she lost last year only to Serena Williams in a very competitive match. With her current form, I believe backing Kristina early with a good sized stake and cashing out after a few rounds is very much a good strategy.
Whoever wins in the top half of the draw will end up winning the French Open for my money. That would be either Kerber or Mladenovic.
And for me, Mladenovic could end up doing exactly that to reign as the Queen of Roland Garros this year!
Possible Top Half Winners:-
Murray, Zverev, Nishikori, Gasquet, Tsonga, Cilic and Dolgopolov
I am really concerned about Andy Murray’s form and definitely do NOT find any value in backing the Scot for this tournament. He has a very tough 1st round match against an in-form Kuznetsov and then another possible tricky encounter against Pella. His follow up match could be against Isner, who is very much a challenge on Clay. Even if he passes all those tests, he has to worry about a quarter-final with either Zverev or Nishikori. All in all, ignoring Murray for the outrights definitely the right option for me.
Zverev’s form is amazing and is rightly priced close to around 20 on the outrights as the 6th favourite. But in my humble opinion, if anyone can turn around his form and win it all as a huge underdog it is perhaps Kei Nishikori, who is a natural clay courter. The reason why I think Kei is a decent option is because he has a ton of experience and his age is right to put on a show this year.
An all French quarter-final showdown between Gasquet and Tsonga is also possible this year but Cilic and Dolgopolov can spoil those parties. Cilic is priced at over 100 on Betfair outrights but it is possible that Dolgo may indeed be the best overpriced player in the entire outright @odds of 1000!
Why I think Dolgo is a great bet is that even though his form isn’t great, he did play an amazing tournament earlier in the year at Buenos Aires where he didn’t lose a set. Some of his victims were all clay court experts such as Cuevas, Carreno-Busta and even Nishikori! Therefore Dolgo cannot be ignored completely this year as he has all the firepower to beat some top quality players.
Possible Bottom Half Winners:-
Dimitrov, Nadal, Thiem, Djokovic and Ramos
Defending champ Djokovic is the 2nd favourite but has been going through a spell of low confidence in recent months. I suggest avoiding the Serbian for this year.
Perhaps the better option is Thiem who has already beaten Nadal this year and priced at around 18 on Betfair. Also worth point out is that Albert Ramos has had an exceptional Clay court season. The Spaniard is priced around 500 which is an incredibly good price for me.
In the top half of this draw lies a very tough Dimitrov who played a very good Australian Open. If the Bulgarian can catch fire, perhaps he will end up as a major threat for the one and only Rafael Nadal.
As mentioned, Rafa is going for an incredible 10th title here at Roland Garros which is truly an amazing achievement. He has to be the right favourite but if you are backing him, I suggest waiting for a match or even 2 to see how he is performing as there is not much value on him at the moment.
Nishikori vs Dolgopolov/Tsonga/Cilic & Nadal vs Thiem
A Nishikori vs Nadal final looks a decent possibility this year. And perhaps going against Rafa isn’t the worst of decisions even if that happens as he would have likely had some tough matches against both Dmitrov and Thiem.
If you ask me, while I think Nishi has a slight chance, let us not forget that he is also facing the ultimate competitor in Rafa Nadal who has ruled these courts for so many years. Some how, I feel the one and only ‘el matador’ Rafael Nadal will eventually end up being crowned this year to reach his 10th Grandslam here in Paris!
Nadal to defeat Nishikori in a tough 4 or 5 set match..
Good luck and thanks for reading!