French Open

French Open Day 1: Differing fortunes expected for American women

Sramkova French Open
Form of her life: Rebecca Sramkova can continue winning ways against Anisimova

Play starts on Sunday in the French capital and our tennis expert Gavin Mair assesses the fortunes of a talented American duo in the midst of a career dip...

  • Kenin and Anisimova out of form

  • Signs of life in former finalist

  • Skramova in career best form

Had things gone to plan we might well be considering Sofia Kenin and Amanda Anisimova as contenders to win the French Open this year.

However, the past few years have been difficult for this talented American duo. Physical and mental health challenges have affected their form, and it is unclear whether either will regain the promising level of their early career.

For Kenin, her peak was as high as can be. Winning the 2020 Australian Open and reaching the final of this tournament in the same season.

Anisimova on the other hand broke through in Paris back in 2019 by reaching the semi-final, upsetting defending champion and tournament favourite Simona Halep in the process.

Both have tricky assignments on day one and here is how I expect their matches will pan out.

Kenin trending up

Sofia Kenin has shown a spark of life recently that had been absent from her performances for a prolonged stretch. After a competitive showing against Iga Swiatek at the Australian Open, Kenin went on a losing streak of nine matches heading into the clay swing.

However, her form is picking up with a couple of impressive wins in Rome over Lucia Bronzetti and most notably Ons Jabeur.

It wasn't only the performances that captured attention. Kenin at her peak was known for her confrontational attitude and in her win over Bronzetti she was booed by the Roman crowd and it fired her up to win ten of the final 12 games in that match.

The American then bettered that result with a well-earned victory over Ons Jabeur.

Kenin is not a lost cause. She is turning her form around and if she plays well Laura Siegemund is an opponent she should be able to handle. In their two previous meetings Kenin has not dropped a set.

Siegemund is a well travelled veteran who enjoys the week to week grind of the tour. Kenin is a different animal that turns it on for the big occasions and clearly has the greater peak.

However, it is the steadier form of Siegemund that is influencing the market with her favouritism of 4/71.57.

Kenin has the bigger game and the tools to blow Siegemund away if she's on it. I think the big stage of a Grand Slam will bring out that best level in Kenin, and she has the ability to make her pre-match price of 11/82.38 looks ridiculous.

Anisimova to Skram from tournament

Whilst I think there is good reason for siding favourably with reputation in the case of Kenin, I feel that the same is not true for Anisimova.

The 22 year-old is going through a rough patch. She returned to the tour after a nine month absence at the start of the 2024 season and impressively worked her way through to the round of 16 at the Australian Open.

Since then she has only played three tournaments, and was bombed out in the first round by Emiliana Arango and Sara Errani in Madrid and Rome. Solid clay courters but not players Anisimova should be losing to in steady form.

It is only the defeats that were worrisome but in her loss to Errani she was playing the match teary-eyed and in a listless fashion. It is unclear what is going on with Anisimova at the moment but things are clearly not quite right.

In contrast her opponent Rebecca Sramkova is in the form of her life, patching together breakthrough moments in a strong campaign to date.

She won through a round in Indian Wells, and a few months later she won five matches in Rome. She's beaten quality opponents along the way, and qualified impressively for this event.

Anisimova has the higher threshold as a player but she's out of sorts and there is no justification for her being as strong a favourite in the market as indicated by her price of 8/131.61.

Sramkova is at her peak, which can not be said of Anisimova and is worth a play at 5/42.25.

Now read more of our French Open tips here!

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