Women's singles third round action continues in Paris at the French Open today, and returning to discuss the day seven schedule is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...
"Gauff has really impressed on clay this year but it’s also prudent to point out that her wins, with the exception of Aryna Sabalenka in Rome and a retirement win when losing over Ash Barty in the same event, haven’t come against notably high level opposition."
Sabalenka exit the big shock on day six
The big news from yesterday's third round matches was the exit of second favourite for the tournament, Aryna Sabalenka, who lost in three sets to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The impact on the outright market is varied, with Iga Swiatek's price barely moving as the 2.3611/8 tournament favourite, but the likes of Serena Williams 8.07/1 and Paula Badosa 9.89/1 being backed in notably.
Serena got the better of fellow American Danielle Collins in a 6-4 6-4 win yesterday, while Badosa was really tested by the Romanian, Ana Bogdan in a 2-6 7-6 6-4 victory - saving a match point at *5-6 30-40 in the second set.
Brady showing signs of clay-court improvement
Fourth favourite for the tournament now is Cori Gauff at 19.5 and Gauff is in action today in another all-American clash, against Jennifer Brady. Gauff is the 1.608/13 favourite, which I think is short-priced for reasons I'll discuss below.
While Brady is certainly more renowned as a hard-courter, she's showing signs of getting better on clay, with two wins over capable opposition here and a reasonable showing in the Madrid Premier around a month ago as well.
Gauff with excellent clay results but often against limited opposition
If we look at Gauff's 12-month clay numbers, they are exceptional for a player of her age (around 104% combined service/return points won) and she's clearly destined for an incredible career which will be likely to see her win multiple Grand Slams. However, it's worth noting that Brady on clay over the same time period has marginally better stats overall, with a decent edge on serve numbers.
Gauff has really impressed on clay this year but it's also prudent to point out that her wins, with the exception of Aryna Sabalenka in Rome and a retirement win when losing over Ash Barty in the same event, haven't come against notably high level opposition. Many have come over opposition in the 40+ ranking bracket, or unspectacular clay-courters such as Qiang Wang, Camila Giorgi and Lauren Davis. 13 of her 15 completed match wins have been as favourite, with eight of these as an around 1.402/5 or below favourite - have her stats been flattered by winning matches which she was expected to do so?
Opposing a young player with extremely high potential isn't ideal, but I think Brady is under-valued by the market at the current 2.6413/8.
Krejcikova capable of defeating Svitolina
I also quite like Barbora Krejcikova at 2.285/4 for her match against Elina Svitolina - Krejcikova actually has better clay numbers in the last 12 months despite being lower ranked and comes into the match on a seven-match unbeaten run after winning the Strasbourg warm-up event as well. The Czech player is clearly on an upward curve on clay currently, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if she knocked out Svitolina this morning.
In other matches, tournament favourite Iga Swiatek is a heavy favourite at 1.171/6 to get past Anett Kontaveit, while the Maria Sakkari versus Elise Mertens looks likely to be a really competitive match which is tough to call - I have Sakkari as the very marginal favourite, and the market agrees, making her 1.794/5 at the time of writing.
Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings
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