French Open: Confident Kvitova Can Go All the Way6 min read
World Number 1 Simona Halep is the favourite to win her maiden Grand Slam at Roland Garros. She has been handed what looks like a relatively safe passage to the fourth round followed by a possible quarter final with former world number 1 Kerber. Her Semi Final opponent could be one of many including the likes of Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams and although she seems to have a relatively easy quarter, at 11/2 there is much better value in the draw considering she hasn’t gotten over the line in a grand slam thus far. Elise Mertens sits at number 7 in the race to Singapore after a fantastic start to the year and at may provide some value in a quarter dominated by Halep. Former Semi Finalist Kiki Bertens is also at home on the clay and worth a mention but at 18/1 she’s passed over.
The Second quarter is by far the densest in terms of quality, with no less than four former champions with Serena Williams (14/1), Muguruza (14/1), Sharapova (12/1) and Kuznetsova (80/1). Serena can’t be a bet even if this is the biggest price she will probably ever start for a grand slam having looked a shadow of her former self on returning to the tour. This is Serena Williams and she could well go and Blitz the field, but that’s probably more likely to happen at Wimbledon or the US Open than here so she is passed over. Sharapova hasn’t hit the heights of a decade ago after returning from her drugs ban, Muguruza is struggling for consistency and they are both also looked over. Julia Georges has had a stellar 12 months climbing back up the rankings, clay suits her and whilst her grand slam record isn’t the greatest she has the game to go deep at . Karolina Pliskova made semi’s last year pushing Halep all the way, she is in form and at I would be more confident backing her than the likes of Serena and Sharapova.
2017 Champion Jelena Ostapenko (16/1) has been handed a vicious draw with a second-round meeting with Victoria Azarenka likely. She would likely have to also pass Venus Williams (40/1) and Svitolina just to make it to the semi-finals. Svitolina (6/1) is hot off the back of a stunning victory over world number 1 and this could well be her year if she plays like that, but as a punter 6/1 offers no value at all in the wide open tournament. British number 1 Johanna Konta is also drawn in quarter 3. She opens against the feisty Putintseva with a possible 3rd round clash with Venus. Konta is not a clay specialist by any means and will be much more at home in a few weeks in Eastbourne and Wimbledon. I give a little squeak to Petra Martic at . It’s a pretty competitive quarter and I would not be surprised to see seeds crashing early which could pave the way for someone of Martic’s stature. She has made the 4th round at 3 of the last 4 grand slams and could raise a few eyebrows.
Rounding out the women’s draw in quarter 4 we have the main bet of the tournament in Petra Kvitova at . The 4th seed, who had to have emergency surgery on her hand after being stabbed by a burglar, has shown impressive form this year and carries a 30/6 win/loss record for the year into Roland Garros. The two-time Wimbeldon champion has shown she can play her hardcourt game on clay courts, and her power can simply blow opponents away. She is known to have the odd stinker however and could just as well win 6-0 6-0 as lose 6-0 6-0, but her confidence must be sky high as she enters her on an 11 match win streak. The quarter itself is weak, she will likely face the talented Kontaveit (33/1) in the 3rd round and the crafty Sevastova (66/1) in the 4th , but these should pose no problem. Awaiting her in the quarters would likely be either world number 2 Wozniacki (22/1) or the talented Russian Kasatkina . Wozniacki is a 2-time quarter finalist, but clay has also been her weakest surface and I don’t imagine she is about to go beyond that stage here. There is some value in Kasatkina however. A talented, athletic and crafty youngster tipped up as a potential Roland Garros winner a few years ago with her heavy topspin forehand and deft touch. At 22/1 I would also be having a small bet on her.