25th May – French Open first round

Pre match value can be hard to find in the first round of Grand Slams. This is mainly due to the fact that there are no BYEs in Slams and the first round match ups are usually mostly one sided affairs. This is more so in the men’s tournament due to the matches being the best of 5 sets.

 

ATP French Open, 10:00Carreno Busta shows a lot of promise and wins on clay over Dodig and Monfils must have given him a lot of confidence. However he still has a lot to learn and his more recent results haven’t been as impressive. Not many people had lost to Karlovic on clay when Carreno Busta played him in Rome (although that list got a bit longer last week as Karlovic reached the final!) and losing to him won’t have helped.

Youzhny hasn’t had the best season but things seem to be looking up. He hasn’t retired or withdrawn for almost 3 months now! In Rome he took a set off Nadal.

Youzhny starts at 1.50 which is probably fair as it’s best of 5. It would be nice if he struggles in the opening set though so we get a better entry. Anything over 1.75 looks good.

 

WTA French Open, 12:30Venus Williams gets her French Open under way this afternoon. Her opponent is up and coming Belinda Bencic from Switzerland.

The 17 year old is already well inside the top 100 at 81st. She lost in the first round in Nurnberg to Barthel but in Rome she made it to the second round as a qualifier losing to Pennetta in 3 sets. She beat Pavlyuchenkova and Hercog that week. She reached the semi final in Charleston in March with wins over Kirilenko, Svitolina and Errani.

Venus has only lost 1 match this season  when starting as favourite. That was to Makarova in the Australian Open. She has been playing decent tennis and won the title in Dubai in February.

I don’t think Venus will have an easy day as Bencic will fight her all the way. her starting price of 1.70 is tempting but I think there is a good chance Bencic will take an early break lead and I will wait for that before backing Venus. It is worth noting that when Venus has lost the opening set in 2014 she has gone on to lose the match though all those matches she started as underdog.

 

WTA French Open, 17:00Shvedova and Davis have met just once before but it was in 2012 and on a hard court. Shvedova won in straight sets but it isn’t massively relevant to today’s match.

Shvedova’s form this season hasn’t been spectacular but it has been solid. She hasn’t been fortunate with her draws though meeting Bouchard twice, Serena, Muguruza, Stosur and Wozniacki since February. She is more at home on hard courts and reached the semi final in Florianopolis and the third round in Indian Wells as a qualifier. She is starting to find her form on the clay and narrowly missed out last week to eventual champion Bouchard in 2 tie break sets.

Davis reached the third round in Melbourne and also the fourth round in Indian Wells but is also more comfortable on hard courts. She struggles a little on clay and only has two main draw wins on the surface in the last 2 seasons. She did make the second round of the French Open in 2012 having first won 3 qualifying matches.

As long as Shvedova can keep serving as well as she has been doing she should take this comfortably. The one match that gives me concern is her recent win over Zhang in Rome. She had a nightmare from the service line in the first half of the opening set but sorted out the problem and won 6-4, 6-0. A repeat of that would be more likely to be punished by Davis.

 

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