At the start of the European clay-court swing, Serena Williams led the field of favourites in the futures market to win the 2013 French Open title. That remains the case just a mere few days ahead of the event itself that gets underway on Sunday May 26. Is Serena Williams therefore the best tennis pick or is there a value pick hidden in the mix that tennis fans should spot?
Before placing your bets, let SBR's 'French Open Betting Odds & Preview' help you find the best tennis odds on offer.
Serena Williams reigns supreme
A trimmer and fitter World No.1 Serena Williams presides over the French Open futures market as the hot favourite to win outright and with her price tag hovering just over even money at +125 at William Hill she is a value play as well.
Serena cornered the French Open market by depositing her most convincing European clay-court swing in recent memory, winning back-to-back events in Madrid and Rome. Prior to those, she also picked up a clay-court title stateside, in Charleston.
Her run of form, in a word: convincing. Over the course of her last three tournaments, Serena dropped a set only twice – in the final at Charleston to Jelena Jankovic and in the quarterfinals of Madrid to Anabel Medina Garrigues. For the most part, she remained unchallenged and as such, she is the correct favourite to win the French Open 2013 and where many believe she’ll remain similarly unchallenged on her way to the title.
Sharapova, Azarenka and Li Na the only players deemed with a real shot
Since the European clay-court swing got underway bookies singled out several players that have a perceivable shot to win the French Open title this season. They are (in order of their prices from shortest to largest) the defending champion Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and Li Na.
Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka are deemed the players with the best shot at the title by the bookies. William Hill delicately sets the pair at a tempting at tennis odds of +350 each while Pinnacle offers better odds, with 5.760 on Sharapova and a tempter 8.360 on Azarenka, if you are so inclined that is. Li Na is a far flung +700 at William Hill and an even larger 11.4 bet at Pinnacle.
Of the triplet, Azarenka has the best shot based purely on her record against Serena this season should it come down a matchup between the pair in either the penultimate or ultimate round at the French Open. They split two meetings this season both of which were in the finals. Azarenka beat Serena in a three set final in Doha earlier this year. Serena avenged that loss with a convincing straight set win in Rome. (Lifetime, Azarenka trails 2-12 against Serena.)
Going against Sharapova is a debilitating record against Serena that stands at 2-13 and is marked by a 12-game losing streak to the American. As good as Sharapova is. As great a fighter she is. Serena is just dialled into her game so, that few believe she’ll have the answers if push comes to shove in the final. Of course, this presupposes Serena reaching the final. What if she doesn’t? What if somebody masterminds the biggest upset and takes Serena out of the equation? In such a case, you’d have to agree, Sharapova would be a value bet. (Crikey, where’s that crystal ball when you need it!)
Li Na as a former French Open champion holds some appeal as well. She came close to winning her second Grand Slam earlier this year in Melbourne but for a heartbreaking twist of fate (twisting both ankles during the match) she lost in three sets. Recently, she reached the Stuttgart final where she lost to Sharapova. Immediately afterwards she put forward disappointing Madrid and Rome accounts with early exits in both. But that could be a good thing for the 31-year-old as she’ll be fresh as a daisy in springtime Paris. Definitely, she’s a dark horse to watch.Tennis Betting Verdict: As things currently stand, the best tennis betting value can be found in the top three favourites to win the French Open simply because of their form and consistency. Li Na waffled a bit in the last few weeks but she’s still a solid dark horse play. Outside plays for those that like to hedge bets in the tourney have to be either Sara Errani, who was last year’s French Open runner-up and who’s coming off a strong showing in both Madrid and Rome (priced at +2200) or former Wimby champion Petra Kvitova (listed at +1000).