THIS YEAR AT ROLAND GARROS:
Can you crack the code? It’s a tennis stat. Take a minute!! While it may look a bit tricky to figure out at the start, in time, you’ll be able to crack it.
This is the number of Grand Slam titles Roger Federer has won descending order, i.e. 7 titles at Wimbledon, 5 at US, 4 in Australia and 1 in France.
That’s 17 titles in the great man’s career and yet just one title on the toughest surface of them all, Clay! The corresponding number for Serena Williams who is considered by many as possibly the greatest Women’s Champion is 6-6-5-2. Yet again the least favourite Grandslam unsurprisingly, is the French Open.
While many predict Novak Djokovic (+ Federer in my opinion) and Serena Williams to shine at this year’s French, let’s have an overall look at this year’s stars and their chances!
The 3 Queens:
No doubt the 3 Queens -Serena, Sharapova and Simona are the most likely candidates to win this year’s French due to their talent and form in the last year or so.
While Serena Williams has been pretty unbeatable throughout this season, Maria Sharapova has had her good times as well, with her most recent win coming at Rome on Clay.
Simona Halep, on the other hand, has had a brilliant hard court season winning consecutive tournaments in Dubai and Indian Wells. Her clay court run though, hasn’t been too impressive losing to Wozniacki at Stuttgart, Cornet in Madrid and Suarez Navarro in Rome. Still, I do feel she is rightly priced as the 3rd favourite on Betfair due to her genuine talent.
There are 5 HOT Stars in this year’s French for me. They are Azarenka, Suarez Navarro, Muguruza, Bacsinszky and Kerber.
Azarenka’s performance against Serena at Madrid deserve a lot of credit as she had match points in that match and ended up losing in the tie-break. Physically, she looks pretty fit and motivated to win more Grand Slams. Unfortunately for her, she is in the same draw as Serena. If she can somehow battle past her nemesis, she is a major candidate to win this year.
Suarez Navarro has generally performed pretty solidly this year, losing only to Serena at the Miami Open Final. Her clay court losses were to Wozniacki (eventual finalist) in Stuttgart, Serena in Madrid and Sharapova (in 3 sets) at Rome. No doubt she has to be in the category of HOT BETS for me!
Mugu lost to Serena in 3 sets at the Australian Open. Since then, she hasn’t done a lot in any big tournaments and her form on Clay hasn’t been too impressive either.
Nevertheless, she is in my list here due to her very aggressive nature of play, especially on Clay.
She played superbly at last year’s French Open giving Serena Williams one of her worst losses. I really feel she is good enough to repeat that sort of performance..
Timea Bacsinszky has had an incredible run this year on hard courts. She wasn’t able to repeat that sort of magic on Clay and this could indeed turn out to be a very tough tournament for her.
Having said that, she is at the bottom half of Serena’s draw and if somehow Serena doesn’t get past Azarenka, Timea may end up as a huge contender as I think she is good enough to beat players like Kvitova and Bouchard. With odds of over 100 on Betfair Exchange, this looks like a pretty good bet for me.
Just like Bacsinszky, Kerber also had a decent run this year but this time on Clay, as she won consecutive tournaments at Charleston and Stuttgart which included a win over Sharapova. If she can stay focussed, the German could be up to something this year in Paris!
A few good outsiders to bet are as follows:
Jankovic, Petkovic, Errani, Kuznetsova, Stosur and Pennetta. These players can all play well on clay and have enough experience. Won’t be too surprised if at least two amongst this list reach the quarter finals.
The following players are good dark-horse bets in my opinion since they have the ‘unpredictable’ factor in them and may end up causing some upsets.
They are: Hradecka, Keys, Begu, Karolina Pliskova and the home favourite, Caroline Garcia.
For me, the best bet out of these players for me would be Garcia who is priced at around 150 on the Exchange!!
‘NOT SO HOT’ BETS:
While the following players may have the experience and the talent, I would advise to avoid them, especially on Clay.
Kvitova, Bouchard, Venus Williams, Ivanovic, Aga Radwanska and Sabine Lisicki.
In fact, if any of these players end up winning a quick first set, I would suggest laying them immediately as a choking display is likely to follow!
Unlike the Women’s, I don’t find good value on a lot of male players this year, simply due to the fact that beating Djokovic is looking almost impossible now. Also, we are talking about best of 5 sets in the Men’s game.
Still, a few thoughts as follows:
Djokovic and Nadal
While Rafa has had one of his worst ever performances on Clay this year, Djokovic has looked better and better.
If and when these two meet, my money would be on Djokovic as he looks physically spot on!
I only wished Rafa was on the other side of the draw as the match between these two would have been a fitting end to this year’s finale.
HOT BETS :
Normally I wouldn’t think tipping Roger on Clay, but this year, especially his last couple of tournaments, impressed me a lot about his very aggressive game plan. It is possible that the great man may have one more chance to win a 2nd French Open this year. The only obstacle looks like Djokovic in the Final. Odds of around 15 looks great! For me, this could be one of the best bets!
While Kei is simply an amazing talent on any surface, consistency is still a question in his game. I would still make him my 2nd best bet here.
Even if Murray battles past David Ferrer in the Quarter Finals, he still has the mammoth task of beating Djokovic / Nadal in the Semi’s. I just think that could be too much for the Scot, who has actually played pretty well on Clay this year.
A decent bet, considering he has had an amazing year on Clay so far.
No doubt Ferrer is an exceptional Clay courter and also a previous finalist in Paris.
Still, getting past Djokovic or Rafa in the Semi’s is going to be really tough for the Spaniard in my opinion.
Sadly for Dimitrov, he is in the 1st quarter of the draw that includes both Rafa and Djokovic. Even if he is to get past Nadal, I wouldn’t bet on him to repeat that shock upset against Djokovic.
Gael has already beaten Roger this year at Monte Carlo. Just for that reason, I am giving the Frenchman some credit and making him my 2nd dark horse here. Worth noting that he is also one of the home favourites to have a decent chance this year.
Berdych is seeded 4th here at Roland Garros and happens to be in the same draw as Kei Nishikori. Since there is no Rafa or Djokovic in this section, his 2 main threats to the final are Kei and Roger.
This could after all be his best chance to reach the French Open Final. Odds of over 60 on him looks very juicy I must say!
Guillermo Garcia Lopez:
I don’t think Garcia Lopez will be able to beat Roger or Kei, but still feel that he has played well enough to get past a few rounds.
Considering, Kohli has always been a decent clay courter, I think he should be in this list. Odds of 600 on him look a bit high!
Wawrinka definitely has the talent but I must admit, he hasn’t been too impressive since his run at Australian Open and Rotterdam.
I can’t see him getting too far this year but if somehow he manages to knock out Federer, the doors may be wide open for a Final against Rafa or Djokovic.
‘NOT SO HOT’ BETS:
Personally, I would advise avoiding the following players for their lack of consistency.
Tsonga, Verdasco, Anderson and Robredo.
Thanks for reading!