Third round action continues in the women's singles at the French Open today, and back to preview some superb-looking clashes on the agenda, is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...
"While Williams still looks far from her stratospheric peak level, a win over a very promising, and improving on clay, Ash Barty, on Thursday, was a huge positive, especially how she toughed it out after losing the first set. Despite a lack of preparation, it looks like Williams wants to be here."
Svitolina exit gives Halep tournament favourite status
As with the men's event, several of yesterday's women's matches were held over until today, although we did see a big shock, as tournament favourite Elina Svitolina was knocked out in straight sets, by the rapidly improving Mihaela Buzarnescu.
The effect of this is that Simona Halep is now out on her own as tournament favourite, with the Romanian currently [4.9] to take the title, with a number of players, including our outright pick, Petra Kvitova, breathing down her neck in the outright market.
Pliskova value for Sharapova clash
Today's action in Paris sees some fascinating match-ups, and none more so than Maria Sharapova against Karolina Pliskova, two more players at the forefront of the tournament winner betting. The market for this match is finding it tough to split the duo, with Sharapova a very marginal [1.90] favourite.
This looks a little wrong to me, with my model giving Pliskova a slight [1.77] edge, although it does come with the caveat that relevant surface data sample size on Sharapova isn't the biggest. However, with two huge names in the women's game meeting at such an early stage, we do guarantee that one will be eliminated today.
Williams can continue progress at expense of Goerges
We also see another giant of women's tennis take to the court, with Serena Williams with still much to prove as she tries to make her way through the field. Today she takes on Julia Goerges, and is a [1.75] favourite to get past the German.
I mentioned the other day that Goerges does her best work in quick conditions and she won't find that here, and I feel that with this particular match-up, she will simply face a better version of herself. She's only broken opponents 26.6% on clay in the last 18 months, and this won't get the job done against such a strong server as Williams.
While Williams still looks far from her stratospheric peak level, a win over a very promising, and improving on clay, Ash Barty, on Thursday, was a huge positive, especially how she toughed it out after losing the first set. Despite a lack of preparation, it looks like Williams wants to be here.
As well as these 'soft' considerations, my model liked Williams in any case, making her [1.53] to get the win. I'm happy to recommend the bigger price on the former world number one.
Bertens correctly favourite to beat Kerber
Another potentially high-quality clash sees Angelique Kerber face Kiki Bertens, and it's a mark of how much Bertens has improved on clay that she's slightly favoured in the market to beat Kerber today. This price is correct - my model agreed with it - and again, we will see one of the players towards the top of the market exit today.
Muguruza facing tough Stosur test
One big name that my data did feel was very short was Garbine Muguruza, as she faces Sam Stosur. Muguruza tends to save her best tennis for the bigger stages - perhaps an accurate comparison would be Stan Wawrinka, on the men's side - and her overall clay data isn't elite level.
Despite this, she's [1.31] against a very competent player on clay in the shape of the Australian veteran, Stosur, who has markedly declined on hard courts, but still seems to be able to perform to a decent level on clay. It wouldn't be a shock to me if Stosur took this.
With these matches the highlights on day seven of the French Open, fans and bettors alike will be treated to some superb tennis today, and I'll be returning tomorrow to give my thoughts on round four.
Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings
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