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.

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