The French Open moves towards the R16 this week and moving along with it many expect will be Serena Williams, who is after commanding performances in her first two rounds.
Review our opening French Open Odds & Predictions
Sharapova, Li Na and Azarenka look to book a spot in the third round
Second round matches are on the day’s card in the bottom half of the draw, several of which tennis bettors should spot. Maria Sharapova looks to book her place in the third round at the expense of Eugenie Bouchard of Canada and, by all accounts, she should do so without too much fuss. Granted, tipped as the overwhelming tennis odds favorite at -3300, betting on Sharapova promises little return on your investment. It is a value play nonetheless in that it’s an almost sure thing – maybe a good one to throw into a carefully crafted parlay ticket perhaps?
Another match in Sharapova’s quarter features Petra Kvitova versus Shuai Peng. Kvitova is a firm favourite at -275 and Peng is a modest puppy at +200. While sportsbooks are quite decisive with the market on this matchup, it could prove to be more difficult for Kvitova to win than her odds would suggest. She does have a 3-0 record over Peng but twice the current world No.23 has forced the issue, taking Kvitova to a third set and as recently as Miami this year when Kvitova had to come back from a set down to win in three. Placing a tennis bet on this match going the distance can be done at +138 odds with William Hill as well betting on Kvitova to lose the first set but win the match can be found at tempting +450 odds.
Other marquee matchups include Samantha Stosur vs. Kristina Mladenovic and former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone vs. Kristen Flipkens.
Stosur takes on a home favourite in Mladenovic, something that is never easy to do at a Grand Slam. It’s also their first-ever meeting at any tournament. Bookies appear to be confident nevertheless, installing Stosur at a healthy -450 betting odds for the match win. For those inclined towards the upset by Mladenovic given that she’ll have crowd support entirely onside can find her striking an attractive pose at +300 at William Hill.
As far as the clash between Schiavone and Flipkens is concerned, bookies are being rather coy by installing both at -120 to win outright. One would think Schiavone is the better play given that she plays some of her best tennis in Paris –winner in 2010 and runner-up in 2011 to Li Na. But last year, she went out to Lepchenko in the third round and going into this year’s installment of the French Open she’s sporting both a discouraging world No. 50 ranking and questionable form. Moreover, Flipkens beat her earlier this year in Hobart. All this has conspired against Schiavone being installed as the firm favourite to win outright. That being said, she has the slight edge on surface over Flipkens and, thus, should win.
Serena Williams leads the charge into the fourth round
Serena Williams is set to book a berth in the R16 when she takes on Sorana Cirstea on Friday and if tennis odds were any indication, she’s as good as a “sure thing” at a whopping -10000 at William Hill. By that same token, Cirstea is the quintessential long shot at +1600. The money is to be had on Cirstea obviously as Williams’ price tag promises peanuts in return. But few would place their sports picks against Serena Williams at this point and in this match.
Other savory matchups in Serena’s quarter include Bojana Jovanovski vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova and Angelique Kerber vs. Varvara Lepchenko.
Bojana Jovanovski belongs to that wave of up-and-comers that is looking to possibly steal some of the limelight at a major event with a significant win (such as a win over Kuznetsova would be). Thus, she could give Kuznetsova a real run for her money. Definitely she has the firepower to do so. It remains to be seen whether she can however mastermind such a win.
In spite of taking a solid 4-0 head-to-head record over the eighth seed Angelique Kerber, Varvara Lepchenko is dubbed the underdog at +150. Can she turn the market on its head? One would think she could when she must be confident playing Kerber. Then again, the last time they played was two years ago, before Kerber burst into the top ten and became the player we know today.
Finally, two other matches worth taking note of are the clashes between Errani and Lisicki and Ivanovic and Razzano. Errani is on form and as such is the smart play but Lisicki is a dangerous floater that could surprise. Meanwhile, Ivanovic, an overwhelming favourite at -2000 (shockingly so?), takes on Virginie Razzano, the Frenchwoman who beat Serena Williams last year in the first round. Razzano is a tempting +800 for the upset, almost too good to ignore given she has home court advantage.