-350 vs. Bouchard +275
Maria Sharapova enters her semi-final clash with Eugenie Bouchard as the hot favourite at -300 to win outright, a market stance that is underscored by a 2-0 head-to-head edge over the Canadian starlet. In 2013, Sharapova won both their meetings: in Miami, and at (ironically) Roland Garros. Both matches were convincing victories, with Sharapova dropping just a few games.
Sharapova reaches the semi-finals following a three-set victory over Garbine Muguruza: another WTA rising star, and player to watch this year, and in the coming years. What stood out most in her quarterfinal victory was her trademark fight: she dropped the first set (rather badly), only to storm back and win in three, and even saved a match point at the tail end of the second set.
Eugenie Bouchard, listed at +275 to win outright, has made her run into the semis look rather easy. Then again, she’s not had to face many top opponents, certainly, no player of Sharapova’s ilk. She beat Peer, Goerges, Larsson, Kerber and Carla Suarez-Navarro, dropping just two sets along the way. Still, it’s quite impressive for a newbie.
Eugenie Bouchard will have to do something she’s never done before: beat Maria Sharapova to reach her first-ever Grand Slam final. She was a semi-finalist earlier this year at the Australian Open, an experience that should serve her well in her second-straight Grand Slam semi, but beating Sharapova is a big ask, indeed.
Tennis Betting Verdict: By all accounts, this is Sharapova’s tournament to win or lose, now that it’s certain at least one finalist is going to be a first-time ever Grand Slam finalist at the 2014 French Open. Sharapova couldn’t have asked for a kinder scenario to win her fifth Grand Slam title. Of course, this doesn’t mean Eugenie Bouchard is going to just give it to her. If there is anything the Canadian starlet has proven, it’s she’s a serious contender. She’ll bring it to Sharapova surely when they collide. It remains to be seen whether she can do it, thereby, ensuring both finalists will be first-timers and a new WTA darling emerges.
Tennis Free Picks: Sharapova in three sets
Petkovic vs. Halep
Andrea Petkovic defied the odds today to beat Sara Errani in the quarterfinals. Petkovic, matched at +240 to win outright, beat Errani 6-2, 6-2 to book her spot in the semi-finals, marking her first-ever Grand Slam semi-final. Joining her in the semis is the rising-star Simona Halep, who backed up her favourable -250 odds against Svetlana Kuznetsova with a 6-2, 6-2 win. For Halep, this is also a first-ever semi-final at a Grand Slam event.
No. 27 Andrea Petkovic, a former top ten player at a career-high ranking of No.9, is enjoying a standout French Open, beyond established expectations. Although the German did win the title in Charleston, an American clay-court event that spills forth into the European clay-court swing, she suffered several setbacks in subsequent events. First round losses in Stuttgart and Madrid, and a second round loss in Rome, certainly didn’t put her on anybody’s French Open betting radar.
In the week prior to the French Open, she did reach the quarterfinals in Strasbourg. Once again, however, defeat to a lower-ranked Monica Puig in straight sets wasn’t going to shine the spotlight on her as a potential player to spot in Paris.
Yet here she is, in the last four. On the verge of a potential berth in the final with only a diminutive Romanian standing in her way – a damn good clay-courter, though, the mademoiselle is, and a French Open favourite to win the title at +225 odds after top fave Maria Sharapova at +125.
Simona Halep is the real deal according to many experts and pundits alike. After a breakout 2013, she is backing it up with another solid season, proving she isn’t a seasonal novelty. On the contrary, she’s become one of the WTA’s true contenders, a player ready to embrace the limelight. Indeed, some would actually have Halep as their top tennis pick to win it all over Sharapova.
Halep is still plagued with inconsistency from tournament to tournament, doing well at one, and then immediately falling in the early rounds at the next tournament. As luck would have it, her oscillating form – runner-up in Madrid followed by a second round exit (withdrawal albeit) in Rome – pointed towards a good run in Paris. So it is, as she reaches the semi-finals of the French Open. (Earlier this year, she reached the quarters of the Australian Open where she lost to Dominika Cibulkova in straight sets 6-3, 6-0.)
Tennis Betting Verdict: Although Halep is the popular tennis pick, Petkovic has shown she’s more than worthy of consideration. As such, both players have a legitimate shot to reach the final, making it tough to handicap.
Halep leads the head-to-head series with a 2-1 edge, having won both their encounters on 2013. However, on clay the pair are level 1-1 lifetime, with Petkovic winning their first-ever encounter in Bucharest 6-2, 7-6(2). That victory, though, is five years old. A moot point really as both players are completely different, especially Halep, who has reinvented herself since her standout 2013 season.
On the merit of their quarterfinals, however, Petkovic would appear to be the value tennis pick. Petkovic was very convincing in her win over Errani, really taking to the Italian. Halep, who won her quarter by the same score line, faced a wounded Kuznetsova. The Russian really had very little in the tank after an arduous run into the quarters. Not to take anything away from Halep, therefore, but if Petkovic plays with similar intensity, she has a good chance to go the distance.
Free Tennis Picks: Petkovic to win outright in three sets