2012 Women’s French Open Tennis Betting Preview

2012 Women’s French Open Tennis Championship
Sunday, May 27-Sunday, June 10, 2012
TV Coverage: ESPN2, Tennis Channel, NBC
Roland Garros – Paris, France
Playing Surface: Clay
Defending Champion: Na Li
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker

Serena Williams is the favorite to win the 2012 Women's French Open.

The red clay of Roland Garros in Paris is always the most challenging of the 4 major championships each year. Because it is by far slower than grass or hard courts, clay rewards athleticism. It takes a certain type of player to do well on clay.

Three of the past four champions on the women’s side of the French Open won their first and so far only major title at Roland Garros. Ana Ivanovic (2008), Francesca Schiavone (2010), and Na Li (2011) all won their first grand slam events. Only 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova who won the 2004 US Open has another major title under her belt.

As has been the case, over the last few seasons, the Women’s side of the draw is wide open with as many as 15 women having a legitimate shot at winning.

Here is a look at the top contenders and their odds to win courtesy of Bookmaker.

Serena Williams (3/2)

At first glance, this might seem like the 30 year old Serena is only the heavy favorite because of sentimental reasons. However, she is 27-2 this season with titles at Charleston and Madrid, both on clay. She withdrew in the semifinals at Rome with a back injury, but is expected to be healthy for the French.

Williams missed almost a year from late 2010 to early 2011 with a serious cut in her foot. It also let to serious health problems like a blood clot that almost killed her. Despite that, she is playing tennis at a very high level. Williams has 13 major titles in her career including one French title in 2002. She hasn’t advanced past the quarters at Roland Garros since 2003.

Williams is seeded #5 at the French this season. She shouldn’t be challenged too much until a potential third round match-up with #25 Julia Goerges. She could potentially meet #9 Caroline Wozniacki in the 4th round, and #2 Maria Sharapova in the quarters. Either of those last two would be tough match-ups, and I don’t know if Serena could survive both. If she does, a semifinal showdown with Petra Kvitova, or perhaps Li, Schiavone, or Vera Zvonareva awaits. I think anything more than a quarterfinal birth would be a surprise.

Victoria Azarenka (3/1)

Azarenka is 35-3 this season. She has 4 titles this season, including the Australian Open, her first major tournament championship. The 22 year old from Belarus, also has titles at Sydney, Doha, and Indian Wells, all on hard courts. She made it to the finals at Stuttgart and Madrid both on clay, where she lost to Sharapova and Serena respectively. She withdrew before her round of 16 match at Rome with a  shoulder injury 2 weeks ago.

Azarenka has never advanced past the quarters at Roland Garros in six career starts at the French. She also has 3 first round exits. Her clay game is improving but it will be difficult to break through and win her second major.

Azarenka is the #1 seed in Paris. Her section of the draw isn’t very challenging with #31 Jie Zheng, #20 Lucie Safarova, #15 Dominika Cibulkova, #12 Sabine Lisicki, #24 Petra Cetkovska, #27 Nadia Petrova, and #6 Samantha Stosur. Lisicki or Stosur will be tough in the quarters, but Azarenka should get there with relative ease. I like Azarenka to break through to make her first semifinal appearance at the French. Azarenka would most likely play either Agnieszka Radawanska or Marion Bartoli in the semis. Those are both winnable matches, but it won’t be easy for the Belarusian.

Maria Sharapova (6/1)

Sharapova is 29-5 this year with titles at Stuttgart and Rome, both on clay. She also has 3 runner ups this season, including the Australian Open.

Last year, Sharapova advanced to the semifinals here for only the second time in her career. She has never won the French Open, but will complete the career Grand Slam if she does. She has one title each at the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open. However, the 25 year old Russian hasn’t won a major title since 2008.

Sharapova is the 2 seed at the French Open. She shouldn’t be tested until the 4th round when she will potentially face #16 Maria Kirilenko. She will most likely face either Serena Williams or Wozniacki in the quarters. If she survives that, she could face Kvitova in the semifinals.

Na Li (10/1)

Li is 21-8 this season with no titles. She does have runner ups at Sydney and Rome though.

She is the defending French Open Champion and was also the runner up at the Australian last year. Last year, Li advanced past the fourth round at Roland Garros  for the first time in her career.

Li is the #7 seed at the French this year. Her section of the draw is deadly, and has many quality players. The other seeded players are #30 Mona Barthel, #17 Roberta Vinci, #11 Zvonareva, #14 Schiavone, #19 Jelena Jankovic, #32 Monica Niculescu, and #4 Kvitova. She would most likely match-up with Zvonareva in the fourth round,  and Kvitova or Schiavone in the quarters.

Petra Kvitova (15/1)

Kvitova is 17-7 this season with no wins. She hasn’t made it past the semis in any event this season, but she lost to Sharapova in the Aussie semifinals.

Kvitova won Wimbledon last year. The 22 year old Czech has never advanced past the fourth round at Roland Garros in 3 previous appearances.

Kvitova is very talented but she hasn’t really adapted her game to clay yet. She is in the same section as Li, and I could see an early exit either in the third round by Jankovic or Schiavone in the fourth.

Samantha Stosur (15/1)

Stosur is 22-11 this season. She has one runner up at Doha. Stosur won the US Open last year, for her first major title. The 28 year old Australian made it to the semifinals in 2009 and was the runner up in 2010 at the French Open. However, in her other 6 appearances in Paris she has never made it past the third round, including last year.

Stosur is the #6 seed at the French Open. She is in the same section as Azarenka. I think she makes it to the fourth round before she loses to Lisicki.

Agnieszka Radwanska (45/2)

Radwanska is 32-7 this year with titles at Dubai, Miami, and Brussels. Dubai and Miami were both on hard courts, and she won at Brussels on the Saturday before the tournament on clay.

Radwanska has never advanced past the quarterfinals at any grand slam event. The 23 year old from Poland has never made it past the fourth round at Roland Garros.

Radwanska is the #3 seed in Paris. She has a very tough draw with a potential second round match-up against an unseeded but still dangerous Venus Williams, and a potential third round match-up against #26 Svetlana Kuznetsova. If she survives those, then she could face #13 Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round. Oh, yeah, then potentially #8 Marion Bartoli, #10 Angeliaque Kerber, or #18 Flavia Pennetta await in the quarters. I see an early exit for Radwanska with such a difficult draw.

Angelique Kerber (24/1)

Kerber is 32-10 this season, with titles in Paris and Copenhagen both on hard courts. The 24 year old German advanced to the semifinals at the US Open last year, the first time she ever advanced past the third round of any grand slam event. She has never made it past the second round at the French Open in four appearances.

Kerber is the #10 seed for the French Open. She could face a challenging third round match-up with Flavia Pennetta, and a fourth round match-up with Bartoli. I don’t see Kerber winning both those matches.

Caroline Wozniacki (37/1)

Wozniacki is 20-10 this season with no titles. The world’s former #1 player has dropped to #9 in the world. Wozniacki has made it to only one final, at Copenhagen in her home country of Denmark.

Wozniacki has never won a major title, and has only played in one major final in her career. The 21 year old made it to the quarterfinals at Roland Garros in 2010, but otherwise has never made it past the third round in 5 French appearances.

Wozniacki is the #9 seed for this year’s French Open. She could face a challenging third round match-up with #23 Kaia Kenepi. If she survives that, then she could face Serena Williams or Julia Goerges in the fourth round. As much as she has struggled this season, I don’t see her making past the fourth round.

Other potential contenders include Barthel and Venus Williams ( both42/1), Ivanovic and Kenepi (both 45/1), Schiavone (50/1), Bartoli (55/1), Jankovic, Kuznetsova, Zvonareva, and Lisicki (all 60/1), Lucie Safarova (62/1), and Pennetta (65/1).

In the semifinals I think Azarenka defeats Ivanovic, and Sharapova beats Li. Sharapova beats Azarenka in the final to complete the career Grand Slam.

 

 

 

 


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