This year’s French Open is anyone’s tournament. Could it pay to back the outsiders?
As we predicted in our tournament preview, this year’s French Open was always likely to be wide open. Just two of the top 8 seeds have reached the quarter final stage with perhaps the biggest upset of the opening week being the elimination of Maria Sharapova who has reached the final in each of the last three years.
Keep reading for our preview of the French Open women’s quarter finals.
Serena still top of the French Open betting despite some scares
On paper, Serena Williams‘ record in 2015 looks superb. She has only lost one match so far this year, although that statistic doesn’t tell the whole story with the American having withdrawn from several tournaments. And, when she has won, these victories have been against low ranked players.
The world number one has reached the quarter final stage in Paris by the skin of her teeth. Anna-Lena Friedsam, Victoria Azarenka and Sloane Stephens have pushed her all the way this year and the two-time champion has had to come back from a set down in each of the last three rounds.
Williams has only faced one top ten player since the Australian Open and will find things really tough against the 17th seed Sara Errani.
The Italian is a clay-court specialist and has a terrific record at the French Open. A finalist in 2012 and semi-finalist in 2013, Errani has also reached the final of the ladies’ doubles at Roland Garros in each of the last three years. She loves the surface and is an excellent bet to end Williams’ bid for a third title.
If you’d wanted to back Alison van Utyvanck to win the French Open title after she’d lost the first set of her second round match 6-0 you would have got long, long odds. The Belgian had only won one Grand Slam match in her career before this year but now finds herself in the quarter-finals having beaten Andreea Mitu in straight sets.
The Belgian is ranked 93 in the world and generally has to qualify for the WTA tournaments she enters. The 21 year old has benefited from the early elimination of Eugenie Bouchard in her part of the draw but now faces the in-form Timea Bacsinszky for a place in the semi finals.
We’ve been following the Swiss player for a few months now after she won back-to-back WTA titles earlier in the year and the world number 24 went on a 15 match unbeaten run earlier in the season. Having beaten the talented American Madison Keys in round three she then came from a set down to demolish Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 2-6 6-0 6-3 and is certainly one of the most improved players in 2015.
Having reached a career-best third round in this year’s Australian Open Bacsinszky is in the form of her life and can reach the semi-finals with another win.
2008 champion the favourite to progress from the bottom half of the draw
Based on her form in the run-up to Roland Garros you’d have found it hard to make a case for Lucie Safarova to go far into the tournament. The 13th seed had lost on clay to players ranked 72, 29 and 65 in her previous three tournaments and she was pushed hard by Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in her opening match in Paris.
However, Safarova pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament so far when she defeated Maria Sharapova in round four, seeing off the two-time champion in straight sets. Her reward for an excellent win is a tie against the little known Garbine Muguruza. The 20 year old Spaniard is another who came into the tournament with little form to speak of but beat our outside tip for the title, Angelique Kerber, in round four.
Muguruza did reach the semi-finals of the doubles at Roland Garros last year and so is comfortable on the surface. With some excellent wins under her belt in Paris she could well be the surprise package of this year’s tournament and can win at 3/4.
Ana Ivanovic‘s win over Ekaterina Makarova in round four means it is the first time that the number seven seed has reached this stage of the tournament since she won the French Open title in 2008. The two-time finalist has found it tough at Roland Garros so far with three of her four matches going the distance but she must be the favourite to progress to the final from the bottom half of the draw.
Ivanovic plays the talented 20 year old Elina Svitolina in the quarter finals. The Ukrainian has won a WTA tournament on clay this year and is currently at a career-high ranking. It is her first Grand Slam quarter final appearance and she proved her fighting qualities by coming from 1-4 down in the final set to beat Yulia Putintseva in a round two match that lasted over three hours.
This could be a close match but Ivanovic has to be the slight favourite. She is 4/9 to win.