Thursday, 30 May 2013

French Open - Third Round (I)

After a few days of play affected by the rain, forecasts suggest we might have seen the back of interruptions for the remainder of this year's French Open. The last match on Chatrier for Friday's order of play pits former French Open champion and world number one Ana Ivanovic against Virginie Razzano. You'll have heard Razzano's name mentioned around a million times in the past week because she was the last player to beat Serena Williams on clay at last year's French Open.

The Overrule doesn't expect her to beat Ivanovic but she can cover the +6.5 handicap and we're quite happy to take that at evens for a three point stake.

3* Virginie Razzano +6.5 beat Ana Ivanovic at EVS (Ladbrokes)

Monday, 27 May 2013

French Open - First Round (III)

Rain is expected to keep us waiting on day three of the French Open but hopefully there will at least be enough play to see our selection for Tuesday's action come to completion and fruition. Marion Bartoli has had a very difficult season and is currently on a 2-6 run in which one of those wins came by virtue of an Elena Vesnina retirement. However, despite her obvious struggles Bartoli now represents a good opportunity for The Overrule at 1/2 as opposed to her original starting price of 3/10.

Clay isn't a surface best suited for Bartoli but she did make a somewhat improbable run to the semi-finals at Roland Garros in 2011. Bartoli's coaching situation has been discussed far more this season than her actual performances and results and latest reports suggest she is now back working with her father.

Bartoli's first round opponent - Olga Govortsova - is in no great form herself, in fact she hasn't won consecutive matches at a tournament all season. Bartoli beat Govortova during her run to the last four in 2011 and first up on Chatrier gives her a chance to gain a much needed win and confidence boost on centre stage.

Incidentally Govortsova has never lost in the opening round at Roland Garros in five visits but The Overrule believes that run will end tomorrow and we like the price enough to place three points on Bartoli to come through.

3* Marion Bartoli to beat Olga Govortsova at 1/2 (Bet Victor)

Sunday, 26 May 2013

French Open - First Round (II)

Earlier in the season we benefited from an overreaction in pricing when Mona Barthel was made too short a favorite against Caroline Wozniacki and a similar but not as significant movement has occurred again in a match involving the former world number one. Most books had the marquee match-up of the women's first round between Laura Robson and Wozniacki at 5/6 or 10/11 a piece when prices were released but money came in on Robson.

That push has now eased Wozniacki out to 11/10 where The Overrule believes the Dane is overpriced. The original price was a fair reflection and I was inclined to believe Robson may sneak out the victory but the easing out of Wozniacki's price now offers us some value. Robson has a good track record of raising her game against high profile opponents but there is little justification for her to represent any value at 4/6.

Robson freely admits clay isn't best suited for her game and although she has a couple of notable scalps this season on the surface it's important to put those wins into context. After a 3 match losing streak on clay to Eugenie Bouchard, Lourdes Dominguez Lino and Ayumi Morita, Robson defeated an ailing Agnieszka Radwanska and pushed Ana Ivanovic to a deciding set tie-break in Madrid in the last sixteen. In fact Robson served for the match against the Serbian but failed to close it out. Robson also defeated Venus Williams in Rome but it's worth remembering that while sister Serena is playing as well as ever at the top of the women's game, Venus's best days are well and truly behind her and defeats of that nature are not unexpected.

While Robson has at least put some wins on the board in the build up to Roland Garros, Wozniacki's form is atrocious. She has lost 5 matches in a row on clay and confidence is understandably lacking as well as what looks to be a change in coaching set-up. That being said Wozniacki hasn't lost in the first round of the French Open since her debut in 2007 but history alone clearly won't be all she needs on her side tomorrow.

It's certainly hard to place much faith in Wozniacki producing a solid display tomorrow on current form but the price dictates that it's worth the shot despite her recent woes. At the very least the price offers the likelihood of in-play trade material.

The Overrule will back Wozniacki to win with a three point selection.

3* Caroline Wozniacki to beat Laura Robson at 11/10 (Paddy Power)

Saturday, 25 May 2013

French Open - First Round (I)

Play begins at the French Open on Sunday and The Overrule has one match betting selection for Sunday's play. Before we get to that it's worth reminding what The Overrule's policy is where it concerns void books and for you to make your own choice on the issue where it concerns your personal wagers.

Caroline Garcia's price has drifted since the opening line was released and she has now reached a price where The Overrule believes we'll be on the right side of the number. Opening at 4/6 against Yuliya Beygelzimer, Garcia has now been pushed out to 4/5. Beygelzimer has 10 years on Garcia - who Andy Murray once dubbed a future number one - but the home favorite certainly possesses more natural talent. 

Garcia won an ITF in her build-up to Roland Garros and had match points against Jelena Jankovic in Charleston back in April. Beygelzimer has some matches under her belt having come through qualifying and the winner will likely have the unenviable task of facing Serena Williams in the second round. 

The Overrule will be placing three points on Garcia to win. 

3* Caroline Garcia to beat Yuliya Beygelzimer at 4/5 (Boylesports) 

The Overrule will have a further look at first round action on Sunday for Monday's play. 

Friday, 24 May 2013

French Open - Women

Serena Williams (EVS) has unsurprisingly been cut to win her first French Open title since her lone success in Paris in 2002. The reason being a bottom-heavy draw in which a number of possible stumbling blocks for Williams have been avoided in her path towards the final.

Maria Sharapova (defending champion), Victoria Azarenka (2009 & 2011 quarter-finalist), Li Na (2011 champion), Sam Stosur (2010 finalist) and Petra Kvitova (2012 semi-finalist) are the bigger names in a loaded bottom half. Not to mention the likes of Jelena Jankovic, Maria Kirilenko and Dominika Cibulkova who will believe they can make the second week at Roland Garros. Jankovic has reached the last four in Paris on three occasions while Cibulkova also did the same in 2009.

The Overrule has previously backed Svetlana Kuznetsova (150/1) and Sam Stosur (20/1) for this year's French Open. Kuznetsova (125/1) was as short as 66/1 over recent weeks but has seen her price pushed back out after failing to make much impact during the European clay court season. Stosur's price has been eased out to 28/1 having been drawn in the more difficult bottom half.

On paper it's certainly hard to want to oppose Williams with a 33-1 record on clay dating back to last season. Her only loss in that time was in the first round of last year's French Open against Virginie Razzano in a bizarre and drama filled battle. If you felt Williams was a sure thing before the draw, your view will only have been cemented further given how the draw has played out.

Kuznetsova or Angelique Kerber (100/1) look like being the players most capable of giving Williams a stiff test before the final should one of them reach the last eight and be playing at the high levels they have been capable of in the past. Kuznetsova is a former French Open champion (2009) and although her best days are clearly behind her, she still has the ability to beat most players on her day.

The second quarter of the draw appears to be where some value can be extracted according to The Overrule. Agnieszka Radwanska (90/1) enters Roland Garros off the back of injury concerns over her shoulder and no form or confidence at all. How healthy she is will play a large role in determining how serious a challenge she can mount in Paris. If she is in good enough shape to play at her normal level her price is very appealing in the each-way market. 

Ana Ivanovic (80/1) - a former French Open winner in 2008 - will have her backers given the second quarter of the draw is there for the taking. Sara Errani (25/1) has been consistent all year on all surfaces and will have her sights set on at least a place in the last four having reached the final last year. 

It's in Errani's section where Nadia Petrova (500/1) seems massively overpriced to The Overrule. The world number 11 has had an ordinary year to say the least but has the ability to cause some damage if she can get a couple of wins and confidence under her belt. It's been eight years since Petrova made the last four in Paris and she faces the prospect of two very tricky early round encounters with Monica Puig and possibly Madison Keys. 

The Overrule backed Li (14/1) each-way at the Australian Open at the start of the year (22/1) and we are quite happy to do so again at the French Open. Li reached the final in Stuttgart a few weeks ago losing to Sharapova and put in a dreadful display in Rome in her last event before Roland Garros. Li has the capability to produce form from nowhere and she has no reason to fear anyone in her quarter. 

Azarenka (15/2) is always up against it on clay as the surface doesn't enable her to get the best out of her game but what the two-time Australian Open champion lacks in clay court pedigree she makes up for in will to win and desire. Li defeated Azarenka in the last eight the year she went on to win the title and it's quite possible that quarter-final match-up will occur again in 2013. 

Kvitova (40/1) and Stosur (28/1) met in Rome where the Australian prevailed in three sets and could be on a collision course in the fourth round. Both have some potentially awkward encounters to negotiate before that stage, so there is no guarantee a fourth round meeting will become a reality. Sharapova (9/2) had a wonderful run on clay ended by Williams in the Madrid final as she looks to defend the title she won last year to complete the career Grand Slam. A possible fourth round meeting with Cibulkova (250/1) would likely be the Russian's first real test of the tournament. 

The Overrule is going to add two each-way selections to the pending two each-way selections we already have running. The Overrule will place a quarter point each-way on Petrova at 500/1 and one point each-way on Li at 14/1. That means 0.25 on Petrova 500/1 to win the tournament and 0.25 on Petrova 250/1 to reach the final. It also means 1 on Li at 14/1 to win the tournament and 1 on Li at 7/1 to reach the final. 

0.25* Nadia Petrova win French Open (each-way) at 500/1 (Boylesports) (each-way terms 1/2 odds 1-2 places)

1* Li Na win French Open (each-way) at 14/1 (Boylesports) (each-way terms 1/2 odds 1-2 places) 

Below is a breakdown of the returns on the four women we have covered at the French Open on the various permutations. 

Li Na
Winner: +21
Runner-up: +6
Not to reach the final: -2 

Sam Stosur
Winner: +60
Runner-up: +18
Not to reach the final: -4

Svetlana Kuznetsova
Winner: +112.50
Runner-up: +37
Not to reach the final: -1

Nadia Petrova
Winner: +312.50
Runner-up: +62.25
Not to reach the final: -0.50

The Overrule will be back on Saturday with a further look at first round prices and possible specials. Like The Overrule on Facebook to receive the latest news and articles from The Overrule and/or follow @JayJarrahi on Twitter.

French Open - Men

The tennis world has been robbed of the "dream final" between the world number one Novak Djokovic (5/2) and King of Clay Rafael Nadal (8/11) as both were drawn in the top half of the draw. The Overrule deliberated before the draw whether to advise our outright selection for the men's event before the draw was made in the event Djokovic and Nadal were drawn in opposite halves. The decision not to do so has proven beneficial as Djokovic was best price 2/1 before the draw but has now been pushed out to 5/2.

Is Nadal a deserving favorite for his eighth French Open title? Absolutely. Is it hard to see why anyone would be reticent to back against a man who has lost once at Roland Garros in eight years? Certainly. However, the value lies with Djokovic this year at 5/2 as likely the only man who can realistically stop Nadal. Their anticipated semi-final is the de facto final and this year represents the best chance Djokovic has had of finally beating Nadal at Roland Garros where he has lost four times previously to the Spaniard.

Nadal beat Djokovic in last year's rain interrupted four set final in a match that at one point looked likely to end in straight sets and yet could quite easily have ended up going the distance. Djokovic could meet Grigor Dimitrov (100/1) - who beat him in Madrid - in the third round and a possible fourth round encounter with Philipp Kohlschreiber (750/1) who beat the Serbian in the third round back in 2009.

Djokovic's quarter-final opponent could be anyone since the bottom half of the first quarter of the draw is there for the taking for any player able to put some form together at the right time. There is little reason to suggest Janko Tipsarevic (500/1) will make good on his seeding to reach the last eight and so opportunity knocks for a number of players.

Almost any draw on clay for Nadal should be considered routine given the gulf in class between himself and the rest of the tour on the surface and it would be a surprise if he didn't reach the last eight without having dropped a set. Richard Gasquet (200/1) has a negotiable draw and an ailing Stanislas Wawrinka (125/1) in his section which could give the home crowd something to shout about going into the second week of the event.

In the bottom half of the draw many will pencil in Roger Federer (12/1) for an appearance in the final where he may well meet three French challenges in a row from the third round to the quarter-final in the form of Julien Benneteau (1000/1), Gilles Simon (500/1) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (66/1).

David Ferrer (20/1) should reach the last eight and is tempting as an each-way prospect but his record with Federer is so overwhelmingly bad (0-14 with 5 of those meetings on clay) that it will put many off. However, if you're of the belief Federer might fall before the semi-final then Ferrer becomes a great selection at 20/1 with 1/3 of the odds for a place in the each-way market.

Who Ferrer might face in the last eight is harder to call - Tomas Berdych (50/1), Ernests Gulbis (100/1) and Nicolas Almagro (125/1) will all fancy their chances to one extent or another of making it that deep into the tournament. Almagro appealed to The Overrule at such a price in the each-way market but belief in his own ability to beat Ferrer and/or Federer is a major stumbling block for the Spaniard. He's 0-18 combined against the two which includes an 0-11 record on clay. Almagro outplayed Ferrer in Melbourne during this year's Australian Open and still found a way to lose a match he should have won in straight sets. It's hard to believe a similar story wouldn't repeat itself in Paris.

The Overrule will be placing a three point selection on Djokovic to win his first French Open title at 5/2.

3* Novak Djokovic win French Open at 5/2 (Boylesports)

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Specials Progress Report

With the French Open draw still a few days away it gives us a chance on The Overrule to look back at our pending Specials selections for the season and how they stand at present.

Sara Errani under 2.5 singles titles - Sara Errani is having an impressively consistent season thus far with one title, two final appearances, two semi-finals and four quarter-final showings in her twelve singles events. The title the Italian won in Acapulco on clay she was pre-event favorite to do so and she will likely be a tournament favorite for Palermo on clay also in July. At this stage we should feel fairly comfortable with where we stand and if for some reason Errani was not to win Palermo then the odds will be heavily in our favor to see a successful conclusion to this selection.

Rankings: Petra Kvitova vs Angelique Kerber - Petra Kvitova has edged ahead of Angelique Kerber in the rankings with Kvitova at seven and Kerber at eight. Only forty ranking points separate the two lefties at the moment and both defend a similar amount of points for the remainder of the year. At this stage we'd price this match-up almost exactly where it was priced at the outset with perhaps a marginally greater edge for Kvitova.

Rankings over/under: Mona Barthel under 37.5 - Mona Barthel had an impressive start to the season but is currently on a five match losing streak on tour. At a similar period of last season Barthel went on a six match losing streak on clay and grass. The talented but inconsistent German is at 33 in the rankings but has only 15 ranking points to defend over the course of the remaining three Grand Slams of the year. Barring injury Barthel shouldn't have any problems ending the year inside the world's top 37 as we hope.

Rankings over/under: Eugenie Bouchard under 106.5 - Genie Bouchard has broken into the world's top 100 at 93 and should have little trouble ensuring she ends the season in the top 106. With very little to defend over the second half of the season the only way is up for the popular young Canadian.

The Overrule will be back towards the end of the week as we delve into the French Open draws ahead of the second Grand Slam of the season.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Weekly Overview (10) & (11)

The Overrule returns after our short in-season break which means it's time to have a belated look back at the breakdown of our most recent settled selections.

The Overrule's 20/1 each-way selection in WTA Katowice - Klara Zakopalova - lost out in the second round to Maria Elena Camerin. The Czech blew a 3-1 lead in the deciding set and ended the match in poor fashion losing five successive games to exit the tournament. The final featured the two pre-tournament favorites - Roberta Vinci and Petra Kvitova - with Vinci taking the title in straight sets.

Weekly performance - Stake: 2.00 Profit/Loss: -2.00 ROI: -100.00%

Season performance - Stake: 118.00 Profit/Loss: +52.41 ROI: 44.42%

The following week our pending 5/1 outright selection on the Czechs to retain the Fed Cup title they had won the previous two years came to an end in Italy on clay. The opening day started badly for the Czechs with Sara Errani defeating Lucie Safarova in two tight sets and things got worse when Petra Kvitova failed to hold serve once in a straight sets defeat to Roberta Vinci.

At 2-0 down the tie was always going to be an uphill battle for Petra and co. to retrieve on the Sunday. However, Kvitova produced a stunning end to her match with Sara Errani by reeling off game after game to keep the Czechs alive at 2-1. As the dark and rain loomed the Safarova/Vinci rubber was held over until Monday where Vinci prevailed in three sets amid plenty of drama, nerves and tension. The Italians will host Russia in the final - who pulled off their own comeback from 2-0 down to defeat Slovakia in the other semi-final.

Weekly performance - Stake: 2.00 Profit/Loss: -2.00 ROI: -100.00%

Season performance - Stake: 120.00 Profit/Loss: +50.41 ROI: 42.01%

The French Open is a mere six days away and The Overrule will be back later in the week following the release of the draw to take a look at any pre-tournament selections that appeal to us as well as any opening round match betting selections that provide us with an edge.

Tomorrow The Overrule will take an overview at our pending "Specials" selections from the outset of the season to gauge our progress on those wagers at the near mid-point of the year.

In the meantime "like" The Overrule on Facebook if you would like updates on the latest articles and news from The Overrule.