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Tennis Picks: WTA French Open Draw

SerenaWilliams begins title defence campaign
Serena Williams leads the French Openbetting markets as the +120 favourite to win outright, a price tag that issomewhat uncharacteristic where she’s concerned. Typically, she is theprohibitive favourite at a Grand Slam with futures odds on the favourite sideof even money. It’s the French Open, however, which is her least successful of the fourslams and, perhaps that explains why her odds aren’t higher than +120, or ashigh as they would be if she were going into any of the other three slams. 

Two French Open titles (2002 and 2013)presents a strange anomaly in her record of 17 titles. Still, she is the defendingchampion, coming off a big win in Rome. It’s also interesting to note she waspriced at +125 futures odds at Bet365 to win the title last year and camethrough successfully. 

TopHalf of the draw: Serena, Sharapova and Radwanska
Serena is set to begin her title defencecampaign in Paris on Monday against Alize Lim, an unheralded player who hasn’t a prayer, if match-betting markets were any indication. Serena should get hertitle defence campaign off to a solid start with outrageous -20000 odds on thematch win. The next few rounds don’t appear as straightforward though, withup-and coming Gabriela Muguruza potentially looming next, and sister VenusWilliams in the third round. While neither player is considered a crediblethreat to win the title, they could pose tricky obstacles for Serena nonetheless.

Image previewMaria Sharapova, tipped as the thirdfavourite to win the French Open title, looms in Serena’s quarter, which forthe Russian constitutes the worst possible kind of draw. Sharapova is enjoyingbrilliant form, recently coming off a win in Madrid. Her record against Serena, however, leaves much to be desired. As such, it’s rather difficult to recommendher on your French Open tennis picks knowing that her path dissects with Serena’s in the quarterfinals, and theimprobable win over the American is slim at best. The best-case scenario (onethat would enhance Sharapova’s tennis value as the third favourite), would be if Serena somehow drops out beforethen. Of course, there’s no way of knowing whether that will actually happen, ornot, without the benefit of a crystal ball.

Agnieszka Radwanska is also drawn into thetop-half of the draw, but odds makers aren’t putting much stock in her chances.She’s listed at rather large +3300 future odds to win outright in the Women’s French Open. Her immediatesection contains several tricky obstacles, namely Francesca Schiavone, AlizeCornet and Carla Suarez Navarro (+8000) – players that could shake things up inthis section.

Inthe quarterfinals, the Polish No.1 could come up against a whole slew ofcredible threats, including Flavia Pennetta, Daniela Hantuchova, MariaKirilenko or Angelique Kerber, to name a few. Any one of these players or those unmentioned here would fancy herchances against Radwanska. In any event, whoever emerges from the secondquarter, more likely, than not, will have to solve the Serena question in thesemis. A tall ask, indeed.

Bottomhalf of the draw: Li Na, Halep and Kvitova
For all intents and purposes, the bottomhalf of the draw looks wide open, and for that reason, many tennis experts feelthe value tennis picks are containedhere.

Image previewLi Na, Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova arethree top five seeds who have fallen into this section. In their midst lurk theSerbian tandem of Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic, as well as dangerousfloaters Sara Errani, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ekaterina Makarova and AndreaPetkovic, to name a few.

Halep and Kvitova flank the third quarterand, arguably, their quarter is the tougher of the two in the bottom half, astwo former French Open champions are contained within – Ivanovic andKuznetsova. The former is enjoying brilliant form this season, on the back ofwhich she is poised to potentially break back into the Top 10.

Ivanovic has shown she can beat SerenaWilliams, doing so this season at the Australian Open. Last week, she also tooka set off the American in Rome before losing in three. Ivanovic strikes anattractive + 1600 pose to win the French Open title, making her a temptingoutsider to consider for your tennis betting thrills.

Former French Open champion Li Na (+500) andSerbia’s No.1 Jelena Jankovic (+4000) share the fourth quarter, a section thatappears to be quite negotiable. Jankovic’s immediate path looks ratherunambiguous, so much so one would expect her to get through without too muchfuss to the fourth round for a potential clash with Sara Errani (+3300). TheItalian finished runner-up in Rome last week and was a finalist in Paris twoyears ago (l. to Sharapova).

Aside from a potentially tough openingmatch against France’s Kristina Mladenovic, Li Na’s path to the quarterfinalsappears to be straightforward. Andrea Petkovic looms as a potential third roundopponent, but the German is still struggling to find her top form and anysemblance of consistency. Caroline Wozniacki or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova couldemerge in the fourth round, but the former is dealing with personal issues (Golfer Rory McIlroy called off his weddingto the Danish star) while the latter is inconsistent.

Free Tennis Picks: When betting on women’s tennis,smart money is invariably on Serena. Call it a practice that is tried, testedand true. Nevertheless, if there were a Grand Slam where Serena is mostvulnerable, it would be the French Open. After all, the American has but twotitles to her name, which should serves as a helpful reminder that she’s notexactly a lock to win it all. 

Li Na is as good an alternative on yourtennis picks at +500 futures odds, as is Sharapova at +600, which wouldactually be an extremely savvy tennis pick in hindsight, especially if Serenafalters in the early rounds. Contenders who are outsiders (but still probable) include Ana Ivanovic at+1600 and Agnieszka Radwanska at +3300.