This is possibly the most open Grand Slam in recent memory. With the exciting news of Serena Williams’ pregnancy, a couple of injuries in the lead up tournaments and the long awaited return of Petra Kvitova, it really will be an interesting fortnight ahead.
As I said above, this is an exceptionally open Grand Slam, with all the top players able to beat the other top players on their day. Here are the players that appeal at their current prices:
- Elena Svitolina – $8.50 – Crownbet – Nobody should really trouble her until Sevastova in the 4th round, however on form it would take a mental collapse for her to not be in the final 4 at least.
- Svetlana Kuznetsova – $15 – Crownbet – has more 3 set matches than I am sure she would like, however she has proven in the past she has what it takes here, and is one of the form players who is currently fit to tackle the Grand Slam with no concerns.
- Kiki Bertens — $41 – Bet365 – Last years semi finalist, won Nurnberg again this week. In very solid form and hard to confidently oppose in any capacity at the moment.
- Sam Stosur – $67 – Crownbet – Proven at Grand Slam level, one of the fittest players in the WTA. Confidence player, and nothing screams confidence like a title win overnight from a set down to Gavrilova.
- Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova – $67 – Crownbet – Great value to come out of the bottom quarter considering the clay court form of the other players in the section. Great price from a trading perspective.
Svetlana Kuznetsova ($5 Sportsbet / $5 Bet365) – A very stacked Quarter 1 has caused some decent prices if you can pick out the right players. Kuznetsova is the shortest listed player at $5. When you consider there to be around 4 standout players in the quarter, having the shortest odds player at $5 isn’t the worst. Has a 17-5 record on clay over the last 3 years as a favourite, and when you consider she is the favourite for this quarter, this seems a nice price to incorporate into a multiple player bet.
Angelique Kerber ($7 Bet365 / $6.50 Sportsbet) – Hasn’t shown enough for mine during her claycourt season. It also doesn’t help that she has one of the toughest opening round matches for a seeded player, coming up against Ekaterina Makarova, who always plays a touch better in the big tournaments. Something will need to change significantly for her to be a threat in France. Cannot see her beating Kuznetsova, Bertens or Stosur if she needs to play any of them.
Kiki Bertens ($7 Sportsbet / $8.50 Bet365) – One of the form players on clay over the last 12 months. Made the semi final here last year, beating Angelique Kerber in the first round to get the ball rolling. Has all the shots to trouble the best players, and is one of the three players I believe can come out of this section.
Sam Stosur ($8.50 Bet365 / $8 Sportsbet) – Has proven herself at Roland Garros in the past. Is one of the fittest players on tour, and I believe she can make it out of this quarter if she brings her A-game to France. In my opinion she faces one of Bertens and Kuznetsova in the Quarter Final. One of the proven players on the women’s tour that isn’t afraid of the big moments and going deep in Grand Slams (outside of Australia)
BEST OF THE REST
Caroline Wozniacki is always a serviceable player at Grand Slam level, but there is a slight cause for concern as she pulled out of her tournament this week down a set against Shelby Rogers. She looked great early in the clay season, however she is have the occasional uncharacteristic loss, which is unsettling for those considering her in any futures markets. I was to make sure her back is okay before making a play on her in any capacity.
Jelena Ostapenko is another interesting prospect, however watching her live at the Australian Open, it still appears that she can become overawed by the occasion at times. This isn’t a great sign for the French Open, so I would like to see her stamp her authority on a Grand Slam fortnight before I seriously consider her going forward. Did beat Wozniacki recently.
Petra Kvitova is the great unknown, having not played competitive tennis this year due to her shocking injury during a home invasion. I want to see her play before I call her as a contender, as she will no doubt be rusty and lacking in match practice.
As you can see from my trading suggestions at the top of the article, I am pretty strong on one of Kuznetsova, Bertens or Stosur making their way out of this quarter and pushing for an appearance in the final. I think they are the three form players, but this is a very loaded quarter. Whoever escapes this quarter will well and truly deserve it, whoever that may be.
Garbine Muguruza ($4.50 Sportsbet / $5 Bet365) Defending champion, who didn’t drop a set from the second round onwards last year. She had an aura of invincibility last year as she powered through the field, but it just doesn’t feel like that is the case this year. Hasn’t been given the best draw, with former champ Francesca Schiavone in round one, who has turned back the clock over the last few weeks with a 9 match win streak including a title and a finals appearance. Struggle to see her getting past Schiavone, Kontaveit, Putintseva and Mladenovic to reach the quarter finals, so will need a bit of luck on her current form to be able to go deep here.
Kiki Mladenovic ($5.50 Sportsbet / $6 Bet365) – One of the form players of 2017, Mladenovic will be looking for a very solid fortnight here. Her form includes reaching the final in Stuttgart (lost to Siegemund in a 3rd set tiebreak), followed by reaching the final in Madrid (lost to Halep in 3 sets), before falling to Goerges in Rome trying to back up from the long week in Madrid. Has the ability to dictate play with her own shots, and seems to have improved her movement and fitness this year. Very decent chance to go reasonably deep this fortnight. Wouldn’t meet one of the other two best chances of progressing out of the quarter until the fourth round (Muguruza/Kontaveit)
Anett Kontaveit (Bet365 $17 / Sportsbet $10) – Wins over Muguruza, Konjuh, Petkovic, Kerber (dropping 4 games) and Lucic-Baroni (dropping 2 games) in the last month is pretty solid form. Her biggest issue? Backing up and beating Muguruza again if the two end up meeting in the second round. Can throw up a poor performance on occasion, but with the $17 on offer, I still think the value is care considering the risks.
BEST OF THE REST
The big thing to note about the players listed above is that only one of those players can reach the quarter final, as they are all stacked in the same section. The players below are all part of the other half of the quarter (if that makes sense).
Former finalist Bacsinszky can be a giant killer at times, however she has been too up and down of late to feel like she can confidently get through 5 matches and win the quarter ($8 Sportsbet / $15 Bet365)
We were shown at the Australian Open that we cannot rule out Venus Williams ($11 Bet365 / $11 Sportsbet), but I would be wanting more than the price currently offered considering this is her weakest surface of the big three. Did make the 4th round last year, but doesn’t match up very well against a number of players in her quarter.
The next level down has the likes of Cibulkova ($10 Sportsbet / $15 Bet365) and Gavrilova ($17 Bet365 / $12 Sportsbet), as well as Lucic-Baroni ($12 Sportsbet / $26 Bet365) and Yulia Putintseva ($26 Bet365 / $13 Sportsbet). As you can see from the odds at both Sportsbet and Bet365, there is a bit of value around if you want a particular player. Cibulkova hasn’t shown enough in my opinion to be considered a strong chance here. Gavrilova has had a very big fortnight of tennis, which is good in terms of form, she may struggle a touch physically, which when you consider her style of play, she needs to be at her absolute best physically to challenge the bigger, stronger players in the field. Lucic-Baroni isn’t the best clay courter going around, and Putintseva is not quite proven at Grand Slam level, so you would want a slightly longer price to be confident to back her.
If we scroll a little further down the markets, we can find a little bit of value. Elise Mertens is $26 at Bet365, however that is stretched out considerably to $67 at Sportsbet. She meets Gavrilova in the first round, who could be vulnerable if fatigue is an issue. Shelby Rogers could surprise at $51 at Sportsbet, however she is in the tougher section of the draw with the top 3, but if you are a believer of “winning form is good form” then we need to scroll a lot further down the list.
Dating back to the 25th of April, Richel Hogenkamp has won 13 matches on clay in a row. Granted this is at ITF level, she has only dropped 2 sets through those matches, including a 6-0 6-3 demolition of Heather Watson in the final round. She may be one to shock, and the $276 at Sportsbet ($67 at Bet365) is certainly worth a little nibble for trading perspectives.
Tricky quarter when you consider the shortest odds players listed above are all in the same eighth of the draw, so I would be inclined to select one (or two) of those players and one or two at longer odds from the weaker eighth. The $267 at Sportsbet has to be taken for Hogenkamp, even if she loses to Jankovic in round 1. From the rest of the players in the bottom section, I’d look at maybe the $67 for Mertens or $17 for Gavrilova, as if she gets through Mertens she should be feeling close to 100%.
From the top section, I would look at Mladenovic as the best price and value, closely followed by Kontaveit. Muguruza may recapture that form, but at the price on offer I prefer to oppose her at present.