On day four of the French Open takes place today, with the ladies singles round two getting underway. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, is back to check out today's action...
"Maria Sharapova needed three sets to see of Richel Hogenkamp, who I mentioned as being competent on clay, while Serena Williams toughed out two tight sets against Krystina Pliskova. The tournament winner market was not enthusiastic about Williams’ performance, with the former world number one actually drifting on the Exchange to a current [23.0]."
Outright market unimpressed with Serena performance
Yesterday's action at Roland Garros was fascinating, with several big names being pushed by lower level opposition. Maria Sharapova needed three sets to see of Richel Hogenkamp, who I mentioned as being competent on clay, while Serena Williams toughed out two tight sets against Krystina Pliskova. The tournament winner market was not enthusiastic about Williams' performance, with the former world number one actually drifting on the Exchange to a current [23.0].
Putintseva can defeat Brady to back up Konta win
Today's second round action sees the winners of Sunday and Monday's matches return to the courts, and one player that I do like to make it through to round three is Yulia Putintseva.
The Kazakh, Putintseva, got the better of an angry Johanna Konta in straight sets in round one when a pre-match underdog, and prior to that match, I mentioned that I expected her to keep matters close, at the very least. Today, she takes on Jennifer Brady, an American who has a very mediocre record on clay.
In the last two years on the dirt at WTA main draw level, Brady is 2-7, winning just six sets, and in qualifiers, she is 5-6 against a weaker level of opposition. With Putintseva much better on clay than other surfaces, I'm surprised to see her being offered at such a generous price as [1.66], and this is today's recommendation.
Kvitova, Stephens and Osaka all look short as favourites
In what is a general theme today on the women's card, several market favourites look uneasy. Petra Kvitova, our main outright selection, struggled past Veronica Cepede on Monday, and looks short at [1.14] against another competent clay courter, in Lara Arruabarrena.
In addition, Sloane Stephens' performance levels can turn from the sublime to the ridiculous, and I wouldn't want to trust her at [1.19] against Magdalena Frech, a 20 year old who has a very impressive record on clay at ITF level.
Naomi Osaka has much to prove on clay, and data makes her much worse on this surface, compared to others. This season has been her best on clay, but she's still running at exactly 100% combined serve/return points won percentages, so is evidently not nearly a top player in these conditions.
Today, the Japanese youngster faces Zarina Diyas, and the market has way too much faith in Osaka to move into round three, pricing her at a very short [1.42]. While clay may not be Diyas' best surface either, this price looks pretty unrealistic.
Svitolina and Wozniacki among the big names in action on day four
In other action, our other outright hope, Petra Martic, continues her campaign against the improving Qiang Wang, although Martic is correctly priced at [1.60], while Madison Keys' clash with Caroline Dolehide looks one of the more serve-orientated clashes of the day.
With Elina Svitolina, Caroline Wozniacki and Daria Kasatkina among the heavy favourites in action, fans today are treated to a host of big names, as well as some competitive clashes, with Mihaela Buzarnescu's match with Rebecca Peterson being of interest, given the high potential level of both players on clay. Expect a fascinating day's play in Paris today.
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Back Yulia Putintseva at [1.66] to beat Jennifer Brady