The ladies singles event at the French Open starts today, and with a number of fascinating clashes on the opening day, our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, returns to preview the action...
"Either before or after her long-term injury, Diyas hasn’t shown much of a level on clay, and looking at career data, Linette has a higher service and return points percentage on clay as well."
Outright pick Martic in action on day one
As with the men's event, there are just 16 matches in the ladies singles event at the French Open today, and one of our outright selections, Petra Martic, is straight into action on day one, as she faces the Chinese player, Yafan Wang. Martic is a fair-looking [1.24] favourite to progress, with Wang not having demonstrated much of a level on clay throughout her career.
Putintseva capable of pushing Konta on clay
We also see British action on the opening day, with Johanna Konta facing Yulia Putintseva. Konta looks short at [1.38] given that she is far from elite-level on clay. Indeed, the Kazakh, Putintseva, will probably consider clay to be her best surface, although from a results perspective, she's had a very poor clay season so far, with just one win from seven matches.
However, this doesn't tell the full story, having taken the opening set in four of these six defeats, and all but one went to a final set, so she's been pretty competitive. The main +/- 4.5 game Exchange market is still forming, but if you can get over [1.90] on Putintseva +4.5 games, this looks reasonable.
Linette a false underdog against Diyas
In fact, value looks quite short on the ground on the opening day of the ladies competition, with most of my first-round model discrepancies to the market occuring on Monday or Tuesday. The best of a bad bunch looks to be Magda Linette, against Zarina Diyas.
Both players haven't performed particularly well on clay this season, but Linette rather falls into the Putintseva bracket, with a number of close final set defeats, suggesting her level is a little better than her win-loss record would illustrate.
Either before or after her long-term injury, Diyas hasn't shown much of a level on clay, and looking at career data, Linette has a higher service and return points percentage on clay as well.
With this in mind, I'm happy to go with the Pole, Linette, on today's opening day, as a marginal underdog at [2.12].
Defending champion Ostapenko faces Kozlova on day one
There are some big names in action today, with defending champion, Jelena Ostapenko, still with much to prove to show that she is at a level where she can defend her title. The Latvian opens her campaign as a short-looking favourite at [1.12] against Kateryna Kozlova in what looks likely to be a rather return-orientated encounter.
We also see the older Williams sister, Venus, in action, as she faces Qiang Wang, who isn't a disaster on clay at all. With Williams' level dropping a little, market prices of [1.48] about her look about correct.
Market support sees Svitolina as new market favourite
A kind draw has seen Elina Svitolina pick up a lot of market support in the outright market, and she's now overtaken Simona Halep as the tournament favourite, at a current [7.20]. She is [1.07] to get her tournament off to a winning start, as she faces Alja Tomljanovic this morning.
Dulgheru with surface advantage over McHale
In other matches, Alize Cornet's match with Sara Errani should feature many breaks of serve, and as a slight underdog, I don't mind Cornet, on home soil. I also do like Alexandra Dulgheru as an underdog, with clay being the limited Romanian's best surface by a considerable distance. Dulgheru has qualified to get to this stage, and against a clay-hating opponent in Christina McHale, has potential to convert from a generous-looking [2.14].
Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings
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