As the Women’s French Open enters the quarterfinal round all the attention is on the upcoming clash between Serena Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova. Will this match live up to the hype? What about the other quarterfinal matchups? Find out as we breakdown the odds and deliver our tennis picks.
Review our 2nd & 3rd Round French Open Picks.
Serena set to face stiffest test in Paris
From the day the draw was revealed, the matchup between Serena Williams and Svetlana Kuznetsova was earmarked by tennis experts as a potential stumbling block for the American, despite her convincing form and ever increasing odds to win outright that are now up to -250. Kuznetsova, a former French Open champion, is one of a few players still alive in the draw that has the talent and quality to beat Serena. Indeed, everybody is looking to this match. Win it and Serena will be an almost “sure bet” to win the French Open title.
It should be pointed out here that while the tennis community is hyped up for this clash, the bookies seem rather unimpressed, installing Serena as the heavy weight at -2500 and Kuznetsova as the lightweight at +1200. A market cast that’s enough to put off many from making a play on this match especially those favouring Serena. Those that are inclined towards Kuznetsova though might be tempted.
Granted, common wisdom says Kuznetsova’s heyday is a distant memory. What’s more she’s struggled in recent seasons with injuries, form and the like. Nevertheless, she’s a veteran player, not unlike Tommy Robredo and Tommy Haas, and that counts for something. Who is to say Kuznetsova is not on the verge of a comeback in her own right. Keep in mind she’s beaten Serena at the French Open before, ironically in the quarters.
Agnieszka Radwanska and Sara Errani (both listed at +3300 to win the French Open title) are set to battle for a spot in the semi-finals and, arguably, this match could go either way. Bookies say as much by the delicate manner in which they’ve priced this match – Radwanska is the slight favourite at -163 while Errani is the mere puppy at +130 at Bet 365.
Radwanska has had the easier run into the quarters. Well, at least she’s made it look relatively easy, not the least her win over former French Open Ivanovic in the R16. Because she’s yet to be tested her favourite odds, playable though they are, lose some of their shine. Errani should press the issue with Radwanska. The Italian is coming into the quarters on good form and – let’s not forget – she was the runner-up here last year. So you could say she knows a thing or two about clay-court tennis. In fact, Errani would appear to be the value play here altogether.
Predictions: Serena over Kuznetsova in three sets; Errani over Radwanska in three sets
Sharapova and Azarenka on collision course
Maria Sharapova (+500 to win a second straight French Open title) has been all business during her title defence campaign in Paris, not dropping a set to reach the quarterfinals. And now that her corner of the draw has been shaken down, dropping heavyweights Samantha Stosur and Petra Kvitova prematurely advancing to the semis seems an almost foregone conclusion.
The Russian starlet next takes on Jelena Jankovic, a former slamless World No.1 who’s fallen off the radar as far as grand slams go in the past few seasons. Sharapova practically owns Jankovic with a 7-1 head-to-head record; the only victory Jankovic managed was in Birmingham (grass) in 2007. This doesn’t mean that Jankovic hasn’t a prayer against Sharapova. She didn’t get this far purely by chance but rather by playing some exceptional tennis, especially in her win over Stosur. So one can’t discount her completely from the proceedings but it has to be said Sharapova’s form and confidence look unshakeable.
Finally, Victoria Azarenka (tipped at Tennis odds of +550 to win the French Open title) takes on Maria Kirilenko in the quarterfinals. Azarenka is installed as the hot favourite at -600 at Bet365 to win the match while Kirilenko is a significant underdog at +400.
Of all the quarterfinals, this is perhaps the most straightforward of the lot. Going one step further, betting on Azarenka holds more sports betting value than it does on Kirilenko simply because few actually believe Kirilenko can pull off the upset. Risking a play on an underdog is only a value play if the possibility of an upset is real otherwise it’s wasted money, like throwing water into the ocean. The last time Kirilenko beat Azarenka was in 2007. Since then Azarenka has reeled off three straight victories to improve to a 3-2 head-to-head record.Predictions: Sharapova over Jankovic in straight sets; Azarenka over Kirilenko in straight sets