French Open

2024 Women's French Open: 33/1 tip ripe to upset Rybakina in 3rd quarter

Swiatek Sabalenka final
Repeat final? Swiatek and Sabalenka are clear of the field

Iga Swiatek is the player to beat in Paris, and the value is on identifying her likely challengers. Tennis tipster Gavin Mair suggests how you can do that...

  • Value play that keeps Swiatek and Sabalenka onside

  • Outright picks have a puncher's chance

  • Former finalist attractive price to win 3rd quarter

The draw has only cemented Iga Swiatek's status as the probable winner of the French Open, the world number one shortening from above the 1.84/5 mark to 1.684/6.

Whilst her route to the final is less secure, it is probable that Swiatek's most likely challenger will be Australian Open champion and number two seed Aryna Sabalenka who was runner up to Iga in both Rome and Madrid.

However, the less than stellar long-term clay record of not only Sabalenka but Swiatek's other major rival Elena Rybakina means that there is potential for the French Open to become chaotic.

Here I'll take a look quarter by quarter to suggest where the value's at.

Quarter 1

There are a few interesting names alongside Swiatek in the first quarter.

Naomi Osaka is a potential second round opponent and it will be intriguing to see what kind of marker the Japanese hard court expert can lay down in this match-up as she continues building form and fitness post-pregnancy.

Osaka is on the comeback trail and her game is starting to simmer, and I expect she will be a potential challenger once the American hard court season comes around. On clay however, her expectations are low.

2021 French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova could lie in wait in round four. Krejcikova is one of the few players on tour capable of beating Iga on clay but she's been injured most of the season and it's a tournament too soon for the Czech.

Should players perform to their seedings then Swiatek will play Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova in the quarterfinal. Vondrousova is an incredible talent but blows hot and cold, and it would take her absolute maximum to overcome Swiatek in these conditions.

Quarter 2

Coco Gauff is reasonably priced as the 8/52.60 favourite to emerge from the second quarter.

The 20 year old American is the best defender on tour and that typically makes her tough to beat on clay. She gets so much back into play and it usually takes a player on their A-game to defeat her on this surface.

If Gauff is to make the semifinals she may have to defeat our 50.049/1 outright pick Jelena Ostapenko. The Latvian has won here before and is in the cusp of her most consistent season to date.

Backing Ostapenko match to match can be like spinning the roulette wheel but when she's good she's unplayable. And in 2024 she has been good more often than not.

To win the quarter Ostapenko is 5/16.00, suggesting we have some value in our much longer outright price.

There are a handful of names in this quarter that are capable of going on a run if the mood strikes. You could make a case for any one of Ons Jabeur, Liudmila Samsonova, Sofia Kenin or Beatriz Haddad Maia but it is difficult to make a well-reasoned case why it will be one over the other.

Quarter 3

I believe this is where the best opportunity to get involved in the quarter winner markets exists.

It would not surprise me if Elena Rybakina wins another Slam this season. However, it would surprise me if she were to do it in Paris.

The Kazakhstani is not a natural clay courter and has struggled with illness during the clay season. Heading to Paris without enough match time is a worry and I can't be having her at 5/61.84 to win this quarter.

Who is best placed to challenge Rybakina is open to interpretation. Australian Open finalist Qinwen Zheng is the obvious choice, at 11/26.50. The Chinese player is very capable on the clay.

However, I think she's a work in progress and I feel her price is too short for somebody who lives and dies by her serving quality, and has very little control over that shot from one game to the next.

Qinwen's time will come but her game is still quite fragile and the pricing therefore doesn't tempt me.

One player whose price does appeal is Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 33/134.00. The Russian has been in poor form throughout the clay swing but this is the most important tournament on her calendar and she plays her best tennis here.

The 2021 finalist appears to be in the best fitness of her career and after a long term injury battle she is flying under the radar as the 20th seed.

Pavlyuchenkova has the potential to surprise and she's more than capable of beating Elina Svitolina, Rybakina and Zheng if she can spark into life.

I'm backing the generously priced Pavlyuchenkova at 33/1 to win the 3rd quarter.

Quarter 4

Aryna Sabalenka is the player to beat in the final quarter 4/51.80.

The Belarusian is playing a consistently high level week after week and I believe there is a gap between her and the rest of the field - with the exception of the dominant clay force that is Swiatek.

There are talented players in this quarter but for one reason or another it is difficult to envisage them overcoming Sabalenka.

17 year old Mirra Andreeva is the imagined most likely challenger to Sabalenka 7/18.00. Despite her obvious talent she has a way to go until she's a legitimate Grand Slam contender.

I am bullish on the potential of Maria Sakkari to go on a run. In my pre-draw preview I advised picking her at 75.074/1, which I hope is a dart that will materialise into a healthy trade at some point during this fortnight.

There is a tier of players in this quarter that are all competent but it is easy to define their ceiling. Madison Keys, Daria Kasatkina, Paula Badosa, Emma Navarro, Linda Noskova, Sloane Stephens and Victoria Azarenka are all top 20 level players but the idea of them winning the title or defeating Sabalenka is a struggle.

I have found an appealing way to keep Sabalenka onside and that is for backing her to book a date in the final with Iga Swiatek.

There are odds of 4/15.00 for a Swiatek vs Sabalenka final. I think it is the most likely outcome and the price is worthwhile.

Now read more of our French Open tips here!

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