2014 Women’s French Open Tennis Preview

2014 Women’s French Open
Roland Garros – Paris, France

Playing Surface: Red Clay
Sunday, May 25 – Saturday, June 7, 2014, TV: ESPN2, NBC
Defending Champion: Serena Williams
All odds courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbooks

Serena Williams is a heavy favorite to win her third French Open title.

Serena Williams is a heavy favorite to win her third French Open title.

The 2014 French Open tennis championship gets underway Sunday in Paris. There will be one glaring omission on the Women’s side of the draw as Victoria Azarenka will miss the French Open with a foot injury. She hasn’t played since early March, and has dropped to #5 in the world rankings. She had been #1 earlier in her career.

Here is a look at some of the contenders and their odds to win both their section of the draw (advance to the semifinals) and to win the Championship courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbooks.

Serena Williams (-350 section, +127 tournament)

Williams is 32, ancient by tennis standards where most players start in their mid-teens. Still, she is by far the best player in women’s tennis. Serena has 17 majors and will tie Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert for fourth all time with her next grand slam win. She won her second French Open title here last year. Serena was upset in the fourth round of the Australian Open in January. Serena is 23-3 this season with titles at Brisbane, Miami, and Rome two weeks ago on clay.

Serena is the #1 seed at Roland Garros. Other seeded players in her section of the draw include her sister #29 Venus Williams, #17 Roberta Vinci, #16 Sabine Lisicki, #9 Dominika Cibulkova, #19 Samantha  Stosur, #25 Kaia Kanepi, and #7 Maria Sharapova. Serena could face her sister in the third round. The section is challenging and has a few major winners like Lisicki, Stosur and Sharapova. Serena could face a showdown with Sharapova in the quarters. Still I think Serena is a great bet to win her third title at Roland Garros if she can stay healthy. Williams will likely face either Agnieszka Radwanska or Angelique Kerber in the semifinals.

Na Li (-150 section, +625 tournament)

Li is 32 from China. She has two major titles including the 2011 French and the Australian Open this year. Since her 2011 win, Li has not made it past the fourth round at Roland Garros. She lost in the second round last year.

Li is 26-5 this season with an additional title at Shenzhen. She lost to Serena in the Final at Miami. She missed some time with a knee injury in April, but played in both Rome and Madrid in May.

 

Li is the #2 seed at the French. Other seeded players in her section include #6 Jelena Jankovic, #26 Sorana Cirstea, #21 Kirsten Flipkens, #10 Sara Errani, #13 Caroline Wozniacki, #24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and #28 Andrea Petkovic. Li could face Wozniacki in the fourth round and either Errani or Jankovic in the quarters. Li has a good shot of making at least the semifinals. Potential semifinal opponents include Simona Halep or Petra Kvitova. I think Li can make it to the final against Serena.

Maria Sharapova (+450 section, +700 tournament)

Sharapova is 27 from Russia. She missed last few months of 2013 including the US Open with a shoulder injury. Sharapova has the career grand slam with one of each. She won here in 2012 and lost to Serena in the finals in 2013. She lost in the 4th round at the Australian Open this year. Sharapova is 24-6 this season with titles at Stuttgart and Madrid, both on clay.

Sharapova is the #7 seed and in Serena’s section of the draw. After missing so much time last year, Sharapova dropped in the rankings, hence her relatively high seed. Sharapova faces a challenging road to the quarters with Cibulkova, Stosur, and Kanepi in the bottom half of the section. If she survives, she has the talent to upset Serena. However, Serena has beaten her 16 of the 18 times they have played, including 15 straight times.

Simona Halep (+200 section, +1425 tournament) 

Halep is 22 from Romania. She advanced to the quarters at the Australian Open this year for the first time at a major. She has never made it past the second round in four previous appearances at Roland Garros. Halep is 19-7 this season with a title at Doha. She lost in the final to Sharapova at Madrid. She withdrew at Rome with an abdominal injury, but should be fine at Roland Garros.

Halep is the #4 seed in the French. Other seeded players in her section include #5 Petra Kvitova, #27 Svetlana Kuznetsova, #23 Lucie Safarova, #11 Ana Ivanovic, #15 Sloane Stephens, #22 Ekaterina Makarova, and #30 Klara Koukalova. Ivanovic, Stephens and Kvitova could provide tough challenges, but Halep has a good shot to advance to her first grand slam semi.

Ana Ivanovic (+300 section, +1800 tournament)

Ivanovic, 26 from Serbia, won at Roland Garros in 2008 for her only grand slam title. However, she hasn’t advanced past the fourth round here since. She advanced to the quarters at the Australian Open this year for only the second time at a major since that 2008 win in the French. Ivanovic is 30-8 this season with titles at Auckland and Monterrey.

Ivanovic is in Halep’s section of the draw. She could face Kvitova in the fourth round, and either Stephens or Halep in the quarters.

Agnieszka Radwanska (+200 section, +4000 tournament)

Radwanska is 25 from Poland. Radwanska is looking for her first major title. She lost in the quarterfinals here last year. It was the first time she advanced past teh fourth round in her career at Roland Garros. She lost in the semifinals at the Australian Open. Radwanska is 30-10 this season with no titles. She lost in the final at Indian Wells.

Radwanska is the #3 seed at Roland Garros.  Other seeded players in her section include #32 Elena Vesnina, #20 Alize Cornet, #14 Carla Suarez-Navarro, #12 Flavia Pennetta, #18 Eugenie Bouchard, and #31 Daniela Hantuchova. Radwanska’s section is tough, especially since clay isn’t her best surface. If she survives her section, she could face Serena Williams in the semifinals.

Jelena Jankovic (+650 section, +4500 tournament)

Jankovic is 29 from Serbia. She has never won a major, but has advanced to the semis here three times, the last in 2010. She lost in the quarters here last year. Jankovic lost in the fourth round at the Australian this year. Jankovic is 27-12 this season with no titles. She was the runner-up at Bogota.

Jankovic is the #6 seed and is in Li’s section of the draw. She could face Errani or Flipkens  in the fourth round, and either Li or Wozniacki in the quarters. I think Jankovic faces a tough road.

Sara Errani (+600 section, +5500 tournament)

Errani is 27 from Italy. Errani has never won a major. She was the runner up here in 2012 and lost in the semifinals last year. Errani lost in the first round at the Australian Open this year. She is 25-6 this season with no titles. She lost in the final at Rome to Serena Willams.

Errani is in the same section as Li and Jankovic. Errani has been doing better at doubles this season with her partner Roberta Vinci. They have three titles together including the Australian. However, Errani does well on the clay at Roland Garros, and I think she has a shot to make her third straight semifinal here.

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