Now that we are deep into the clay-court swing, on the verge of the Madrid Open, the first of the last two premier events in the lead up to the French Open (also known as Roland Garros), it’s a good time to start contemplating the French Open Odds and who the best bet to win the coveted title is in the women’s game. Find out where the value lies in the early tennis futures market on the top five favourites.
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You’ll find five women singled out as the short-odds on favorites to win the tournament. What you’ll also find is that none has the market cornered entirely. To put a finer point on it: there isn’t a runaway favourite in the quintet, which makes betting on the women’s French Open a wide open affair.
The usual suspects have been assembled and served up on a tray of delicious odds, with Serena Williams tipped at an attractive +275 leading the pack. Both defending champion, Maria Sharapova, and Victoria Azarenka are delicately poised second in line to the Parisian throne, dead even at +350, followed by 2011 champion, Li Na, at +700. Rounding out the serving of favourites is Petra Kvitova at +1000 to win outright at William Hill
Who’s the best bet of the Top Five Favorites
That Serena Williams leads the pack in Paris is to be expected given that she is on form right now, the current World No.1 and 15-time Grand Slam champion. She is the ultimate competitor in the women’s game, a cut above the rest. As long as Serena Williams is competing, the big question is always going to be: is there a player that believes she can beat Serena to the prize.
Last year, such a player did emerge in the unlikely form of Virginie Razzano. The Frenchwoman dumped Serena in a three-set marathon that rocked the tournament and sent seismic shockwaves throughout the tennis world as it marked the first time ever that Serena lost in the first round of a Grand Slam.
The likelihood of that happening again is slim to none; the memory of that loss alone will surely propel Serena to greater heights in Paris this year. That said she has only ever won this event once and not since 2002. In fact, since that lone French Open title, Serena’s clay-court resume leaves something to be desired (by her lofty standards) with only a handful of titles in Charleston (2008 and 2012-13) and Madrid (2012).
Sharapova is a tempting tennis bet. After all, she is the defending champion. Moreover, she is enjoying impressive form (23-3 ahead of Madrid with two titles) and she is closing in on Serena Williams’ No.1 ranking (the changing of the guard depends on the output of both players in Madrid and onwards).
For Sharapova to win the French Open however she would have to do something she’s never done: successfully defend a major title in back-to-back years. Furthermore, to do so, on her least favourite surface – where she once compared her movement to that of a “cow on ice” – is a bit of a stretch. Still one can never underestimate Sharapova. After Serena Williams, she is the most dangerous and she is one of the best players in the world today.
Although Victoria Azarenka is tipped as the co-second favourite with Sharapova in the tennis betting markets, there are many question marks that hang over her head, not the least of which is form. She hasn’t played since withdrawing at Indian Wells. She is competing this week in Madrid but it remains to be seen what she can accomplish there and in the lead up to the French Open. Note to tennis bettors: keep in mind that her ascendancy in the women’s ranking is built almost exclusively on hard court prowess.
Li Na won her first and only Grand Slam in Paris two years ago, somewhat against all expectations. Most had tipped her to win the Australian Open, if she was ever going to win a slam. Well, she won the French Open instead. And the tennis world was impressed. Given Li Na’s form this season, which includes a runner-up finish in Melbourne and a recent runner-up finish in Stuttgart (indoor clay), she’s definitely a potential threat in Paris.
Finally, Petra Kvitova who brings up the rear at +1000 to win outright is a delicious tennis bet that promises the biggest bang for your buck. The quintessential power player that can blow the likes of Serena and Sharapova off the court, she’s already bagged a slam (Wimbledon 2011). The downside though is the mental aspect of her game and, to an extent, her fitness. Mixed results and an inability to deal with the pressure of expectation and to take her game to the next level have held her back. That said she could light up at any given moment and play the kind of lights out tennis we saw her play during her winning campaign at Wimbledon.
Tennis betting Verdict
In lieu of a draw, and an idea of where each of these players might fall and what obstacles they might face, it’s hard to make a resounding pick. Nevertheless, here are some thoughts to consider. Serena Williams is always going to be a value bet and at an attractive +275 to win outright, tennis bettors could do no worse than to jump on that price before it shortens, which it will if she successfully defends her Madrid title this week. Sharapova and Azarenka aren’t solid bets right now – the former has never defended back-to-back slams while the latter has only ever reached the French Open quarters. Li Na seems to save her best tennis for the slams these days and at tempting tennis odds of +700 she could prove to be a shrewd move for tennis fans looking to pocket a nice payout. The boldest bet though would have to be Kvitova at +1000. She has the skills but does she have the tenacity? It remains to be seen but when a player with that kind of talent and ability is floating dangerously, quite rightly they are considered the dark horse play of the top five favourites.