French Open

French Open Semifinal Tips: Sportsbook Oddsboost makes plenty of appeal

Paolini celebration
Arms raised: Gavin Mair predicts Jasmine Paolini will be celebrating a semifinal win

Tennis tipster Gavin Mair expects Iga Swiatek to book her spot in Saturday's final. However, there is less certainty of her opponent...

  • Dominant head to head for Swiatek

  • Second semifinal less predictable

  • Sportsbook value enhancer is interesting

It is very difficult to imagine Coco Gauff upsetting Iga Swiatek in the French Open semi-final.

Having paired off eleven times Swiatek has won ten of them and truth be told, they've rarely been close encounters. Understandably this is reflected in Swiatek's price of 1/81.12.

The other semifinal between Mirra Andreeva and Jasmine Paolini is less predictable.

Wide margins

Across their eleven meetings Swiatek has won by a 70 game margin. Spread across these 11 matches, Swiatek is triumphing by a 6.36 game margin. This is marginally below the -6.5 handicap line set by odds compilers. I can understand the lure in backing the 11/102.11 available on Swiatek to clear that threshold.

However, there is a paradox about this match-up on clay that has put me off siding with that position. Although the Polish star reigns supreme on this surface, where conditions amplify the rhythmic intensity of her game, Gauff has actually been able to limit the scoreboard inferiority to a slightly more respectable 5.75 game deficit.

Their encounter last month in Rome was settled by a five game margin.

A bet I toyed with was for the first set to contain more games than the second as this has been the case in three of their four clay matches. The first set with most games can be backed at 11/102.11.

The logical reasoning for that bet would be that Gauff can keep the scoreboard more competitive in set one before Swiatek has found her flow, and unlocked the key patterns to deliver success.

However, I have found a better angle of attack for the semifinal thanks to a Betfair Sportsbook Oddsboost.

Unlikely semifinal

Jasmine Paolini impressively booked her spot in the last four of the French Open with an upset victory of Elena Rybakina.

The Italian was in command throughout the match, chopping down the tall Kazakhstani with precise and powerful ball striking. Paolini had an opportunity to win the match in set two but Rybakina showed her quality lifting her level to force a decider.

The Italian was able to rally (in both meanings of the word) and was fully deserving of her victory.

Her opponent Mirra Andreeva also produced a sensational result by downing Aryna Sabalenka.

However, Sabalenka was unwell and was barely moving to any shots. The Belarusian produced an heroic effort to stay on court until the end having threatened to walk to the chair on numerous occasions.

I have no doubt in my mind that Sabalenka would have won that match if she was anything better than 50% fit. Nevertheless it is the 17 year old Russian that is in the semifinal spot.

Paolini is understandably the outsider to win this match, priced at 6/52.20 to do so. This is in part due to her massively exceeding expectations this past fortnight. Whilst in contrast Andreeva was the second favourite to emerge the winner of her quarter.

This match is to my eyes a pick'em. They met only a couple of weeks ago in Madrid and both were priced around 1/12.00. There was little to separate them in theory, and there was very little in it on the scoreboard.

I am a big fan of Paolini's constant career improvement. At 28 years old she will appear in the world's top 10 for the first time next week.

She has a secret weapon in her team. Coach Renzo Furlan is a master tactician that guided the similarly unheralded Italian Francesca Schiavone to the French Open title back in 2010.

I think Paolini's maturity could be a decisive factor in this match-up. With Sabalenka struggling to stand on two feet in the decider it was clear that Andreeva was affected by the situation. The Russian found herself a break down after a string of nervy service games. Her nerves were jangling with the prospect of victory clear on the horizon.

I'm sure nerves will be a factor for Paolini too but she showed versus Rybakina that she can fight through them by attacking. Fortune favours the brave, and I think the value is on the tenacious Paolini.

The Betfair Sportsbook has an attractive angle that covers both semifinals today.

It combines Swiatek to win both sets of her match against Gauff, and for Paolini to win against Andreeva at a boosted 5/23.50. The original price would be 2/13.00. That feels like good value to me.

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