Does 1st time grand slam finalist Lucie Safarova stand a chance against the World No.1 & 19-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams? We breakdown the French Open final and serve up our tennis picks.
The French Open Final Matchup:
It's not exactly the matchup most tennis fans and bettors anticipated when the French Open draw came out, but we're thrilled about it nonetheless, especially because we'd spotted Lucie Safarova in our French Open draw analysis as a dark horse threat.
Now, Lucie Safarova stands in Serena Williams way to the French Open title, a 20th overall Grand Slam title no less. Can the Czech play above her head and mastermind the upset or will the odds-on-favourite Serena come through according to expectations?
Can Lucie Safarova Punch Above Her Weight Class?
The 28-year-old Czech is playing some of the best tennis of her career. This reinvention began when she hooked up with Canadian coach Rob Steckley a couple of years ago, and she's finally reaping the rewards with a more consistent game, as well the maturity and experience that comes with spending years on the WTA Tour.
Last year, she reached a milestone on the Grand Slam level when she reached the Wimbledon semi-finals (l. to Kvtivova, the eventual champion). This week, at the 2015 French Open, she goes one better to reach her first-ever major final after beating former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic in straight sets in the semi-finals. The win over Ivanovic marked her second win over a French Open champion in this tournament; earlier, she beat defending champion Sharapova in straight sets.
In fact, Safarova enters the French Open final without dropping a set through six rounds. Managing to do so at the expense of some of the biggest hitters in the game, including Pavlyuchenkova, Lisicki, Sharapova and Muguruza. To say Safarova had an easy run of it would be misleading. She was made to work for it and emerges out of a tough corner of the draw.
That said, her biggest challenge awaits her in the final: the great Serena Williams, a sure-fire future Hall of Fame player, who at 33 years of age is playing the best tennis in the women's game and tearing down milestone after milestone. She recently surpassed Martina Navratilova and Christ Evret in the record books by winning her 19th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. Now, she's one win away from a 20th Grand Slam title.
Genuine sports competitors covet great matchups, to take the measure of the best in the game in a title deciding match on the biggest of all stages is an honour as much as it is a challenge. Although the odds may be stacked against them, it makes it that much better and more meaningful if actually they actually pull off the win. The question is whether Lucie Safarova is up for the challenge and whether she can pull off the upset, which is trading generally at +275 tennis odds across most sports betting platforms, including Bet365 and William Hill to name a few.
Serena Williams Vying For 20th Grand Slam Title
Serena Williams enters the French Open final as the firm favourite to win outright, matched unanimously at -350 tennis odds at practically most sportsbooks, including Bet365 and William Hill. From the start of the tournament, the American starlet was the odds-on-favourite to win outright. In reaching the final of the French Open, she underscores those odds emphatically. However, it's not been an easy run to the final with Serena facing numerous challenges along the way.
Save for her straight forward wins over Andrea Hlavackova (opening round) and Sara Errani (quarterfinal). Serena has had to come from behind in each and every match, including her semi-final win over a plucky Timea Bacsinszky. Her cause has been made that much more difficult with battling the common cold. She visibly struggled in her semi-final clash with Bacsinszky, but somehow got fired up (as she's wont to) after losing the first set and stormed back to win the match.
Head-to-head, she leads the series with Safarova 8-0 lifetime. Last year, she won both their meetings in Montreal an Beijing. However, they were both close tight affairs, which could be a sign of what to expect in Saturday's final. Especially, if Serena isn't 100% fit. They met twice on clay in Charleston (2012 and 2013) and Serena won both quite convincingly.
Tennis Betting Verdict: By all accounts, Serena is the smart tennis pick at -350 tennis odds (which is available at most sportsbooks) to win outright. If she's not 100%, though, Safarova is in with a chance. She's in stellar form and hasn't dropped a set. She's a long shot tennis pick at +275 tennis odds considering it's Serena that stands across the net. But perhaps the French Open is going to have a Cinderella ending.
Tennis Pick: Safarova +275 at Bet365