Welcome to our preview of the 2018 French Open Women's Draw. Our resident tipster 'Ace' breaks down all four quarters of the draw below and gives his few key players in each area.
A couple of the big names in women’s tennis are back in action, and again we have a Grand Slam that is wide open. Ostapenko will find herself in unfamiliar territory this week. This is the first time in her career she will be stepping onto court as the defending champion of a WTA tournament, and it is a Grand Slam.
So many players to consider – some with solid form, others with question marks around their ability to reach the peak of the Grand Slam summit. Can Serena Williams return to Grand Slam tennis with another title, and cement herself at the best tennis player in history? Only time will tell.
Below are my overall thoughts on each quarter, as well as some potential suggestions for Quarter betting and Outright betting. I hope my form matches up with yours, and hopefully there are a few nice value plays to be had in the coming 2 weeks.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with me on Twitter at @Ace_TheProfits.
Have a great fortnight.
Can anyone take out Halep? On first glimpse I see one, maybe two threats. Her biggest enemy is herself
- One of the top chances, and deservedly so. Playing great tennis.
- Match style you cannot fault – well suited on clay.
- Main thing you need to consider, is can she mentally get over that hurdle and become a Grand Slam Champ? It feels like it will happen sooner rather than later. She took a big step forward in Melbourne.
- If taking her, I would rather take her to win the Quarter than the whole thing, as those bigger nerves shouldn’t surface until the Semi Finals.
- Kiki stayed in Nuremberg probably a match too long for my liking, but her loss to Flipkens will hold her in good stead this week.
- Big threat to the top tier of players with her power and shot making on clay.
- Former semi finalist – knows what she needs to do to be able to go deep at Grand Slam level.
- Early rounds would see her against big hitters with less form on clay, before a potential 3rd round clash with Kerber, who she has beaten in Paris previously.
- Received one of the better draws of all the top players.
- I still have question marks over her serve in key moments, especially the second serve.
- Some players thrive on the home support, but as the pressure builds as the tournament progresses, it can become a hindrance as well.
- Reached the ¼ Final last year, but had a very soft draw (ended up losing in straight sets to Pliskova).
- Not sure the easy draw will help her here. Only major early threat is Krunic, otherwise should reach round 4, where it will become far more difficult.
- Prefer others at their prices.
- One of the hardest working players on tour, playing on her least favourite surface.
- Kerber is one of the great counterpunches, however she can struggle at times to generate enough pace herself to dictate points consistently.
- Struggles vs the bigger hitters who go for broke on clay at times – and to be honest I have genuine concerns about her getting out of the first round here. She needs her opponents to lose at times as opposed to her going out and winning the match with her own strength and power.
- One to watch in my opinion.
- Has that nice balance of decent movement on clay combined with controlled aggression and shot selection.
- Will take great confidence from her SF appearance at the Australian Open this year, where she was a point from forcing the 3rd set.
- Won 2 titles on clay this season. Noted big loss to Halep in Madrid, however that was backing up off a long week, which makes playing someone like Halep incredibly difficult.
- In her section, a player such as Gavrilova may catch her off guard on a bad day, otherwise should be quite a threat this fortnight.
Best of the rest
- You look at Vondrousova, Mladenovic, Gavrilova, Vesnina, Krunic and co and I just feel they may all find someone better along the way. I just cannot trust them for 5 matches to win a quarter on current form. I think all could perform a massive upset on their day, it is just more of a lottery than I’d like.
I would play a combination of Halep and Mertens on form, with Mertens an exceptional price. I am happy to take on Bertens on forward. Best value price appears to be Mertens.
Initial (and only) Thoughts
This quarter is just crazy. Williams, Sharapova, Pliskova, Muguruza, Goerges, Kuznetsova, Stosur, Barty, Pavlyuchenkova, Cibulkova and Siegemund all in the quarter.
Ultimately, it probably comes down to the fitness and form of Serena Williams. She wasn’t far away a few months ago so we can assume she is raring to go here. If not, then Sharapova was particularly impressive last week, however I find her vulnerable at times on the clay vs bigger hitters, of which this group has many.
So many factors that are hard to quantify – I think I will just focus on this quarter match by match to be honest.
It is very hard to look beyond Svitolina in this group that on paper and form is one of the weaker quarters. Osaka as third favourite in interesting – seems far too short for mine. There is a solid bunch of second tier players who on their best form could surprise, but can they overcome Svitolina and the defending champ in Ostapenko?
- Form player, and justifiably one of the favourites for the whole tournament.
- Main concern is ability to get past big hitters with solid court movement (ie. Mertens at Australian Open.
- Unfortunately based on the above dot point, she finds herself against some of the bigger hitters.
- Defending Champion
- First time defending a title – the hunter has become the hunted.
- One of the main players disadvantaged by the lack of on-court coaching at Grand Slam level.
- Can be caught out when a big favourite – not sure how she will handle the pressure of this occasion as she will rarely be the underdog.
- Very tough start – Kozlova a worthy opponent and Siniakova/Azarenka potential round 2 meeting.
- Not sure how she can be the price she is when you consider her form on clay.
- Gifted by the early draw, but at the same time could potentially struggle with Kenin if things don’t go her way.
- May surprise, but I would rather be on others, or attack her matches on a head to head basis.
- The big unknown in this section in my opinion.
- Could go deep, but could also easily lose round 1 to Putintseva, such is the evenness of WTA tennis at the moment.
- Slowly building in form. Saw glimpses of her best vs Ostapenko, but not sure I can trust her best to come 5 matches in a row to win her quarter.
- Based on her Grand Slam efforts over the last 18 months, you would be crazy to rule her out of contention. That being said, clay is definitely her weakest surface.
- One of the players who benefits from the no on-court coaching at Grand Slams. Knows what she has to do and is an incredibly smart, tactical player.
- May have a very tough round 1 if Wang plays as she did last week.
- If wins round 1, I have her making the second week.
Victoria Azarenka/Katerina Siniakova
- One of the best round 1 matches on offer.
- Winner plays Ostapenko, and you would have to say the winner out of that section has the ability to go a LONG way this tournament.
- If Siniakova can bring her best, she will be a big threat here.
Best of the Rest
- Madison Keys – Not sure we can trust her on current form on clay – unless she has a career week I cannot see it happening. Won’t get beyond a potential meeting with Svitolina if they meet.
I would be pretty happy to take Svitolina at the price to win this quarter (around $2.37 available at BET365 and Sportsbet) – Similar to Zverev on the men’s side. I am comfortable with her handling the pressure of reaching the Semi Finals. If I were to take something, I would be going with Svitolina.
Strange mix of players in this section – it is a combination of big hitters and smaller endurance players who can run all day.
- Her best can win this, so long as she keeps her early matches short to conserve energy.
- Strangely, I find this draw not to be so beneficial for her. Players like Cepede in round 1 can retrieve all day, meaning Kvitova will need to hit winners to get by tricky competition.
- Draw early can open up with a couple of upsets, but shouldn’t be an underdog on any occasion in this quarter.
- Not sure I trust her just yet on clay at Grand Slam level.
- At times she can become too passive for my liking, and when you need to trust and back yourself.
- Her saving grace is that she is unlikely to come up against a big hitter until a potential quarter final meeting with Kvitova. Within her first 4 round, the biggest challenge will likely be Wozniacki if they were to meet in the 4th round.
- The newest Grand Slam winner finds herself in a favourable draw for her game style.
- So long as she can crack Collins in a similar way to Wang’s effort last week, Wozniacki should have no trouble beating similar players until a potential 4th round with Kasatkina.
- Biggest thing to note is her self belief – she is now a Grand Slam champion and she has overcome that hurdle. I still think this may be too much for her on clay though.
- Very solid form lately, however seems very under the odds to win the section to be completely honest.
- Kontaveit is at that stage in her career where she is performing really well in lower level tournaments, but like when I opposed her at the Australian Open with Suarez Navarro, I just don’t think she has shown enough at big moments in big tournament against the best players to be able to justify making a play on her to win the quarter.
Best of the Rest
- Stephens – Hard to justify backing someone who has a 6-4 record on clay across the last 12 months to go on and win the quarter. Her only saving grace for Stephens backers is that she saves her best for the biggest tournaments. That being said, she would need to improve significantly here.
- Sevastova – Another along the lines of Kontaveit, in that I just don’t fully trust her in those big moments in big matches. She is due to have a real breakthrough tournament however, and if it were to be any tournament, it will be this one. She has one of the best chances to beat Kvitova, largely due to meeting her earlier in the tournament.
I have this funny feeling that Kvitova either wins the quarter or loses in round 1. As a result, the $3.75 available (Sportsbet/Crownbet) is pretty decent value in my opinion. For an outsider I would side with Sevastova, however she will be an underdog multiple times and I would rather take her match by match.
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