French Open Women's Day Five Tips: Bogdan can shock Kenin with round two victory

Polish Tennis Player Ana Bogdan
Ana Bogdan is a capable clay-courter...

Dan Weston is in hot tipping form at the French Open with two underdog winners in as many days on the women's draw and he returns with his best bets for Thursday's action...

"Bogdan is a competent clay-courter, running at over 100% combined service/return points won percentage on the surface in the last 18 months, while Kenin has produced uninspiring clay performances in general to date."

Siniakova with a winner on action-packed day four

Katerina Siniakova gave us an underdog winner with minimal fuss yesterday - rather different to the rollercoaster winner from Clara Tauson on Tuesday - and we move on having had a positive start to our women's campaign.

There were, however, numerous talking points on day four, with Serena Williams withdrawing in advance of her match with Tsvetana Pironkova, Victoria Azarenka being easily defeated by Anna Schmiedlova plus Kiki Bertens leaving the court in a wheelchair after a 9-7 final set victory over Sara Errani in what seemed to be a bad-tempered clash. Tournament favourite Simona Halep defeated countrywoman Irina Begu in straight sets, and don't miss another easy win for Iga Swiatek, who has had a very impressive start to the tournament. She's now into 23/124.0 for the title, and up to seventh favourite.

Kasatkina could be value over Sabalenka

Winners from yesterday get a rest day today, and there are 32 further players competing from 10:00 UK time today to attempt to get one of the remaining 16 round three spots. Rather like the men's today, it's quite a trappy card, so some relative caution should be exercised.

One match where my model found some value was 2018 quarter-finalist here, Darya Kasatkina, at 6/42.54 for her match against Aryna Sabalenka. The world number 12, Sabalenka, didn't fare particularly strongly on clay last year and while she made the semi-finals in Strasbourg last week, she had several tight three-setters as a heavy favourite in the earlier rounds.

Clay is, in my view, Kasatkina's best surface, although it's worth noting that she retired at 6-6 in the first set against Victoria Azarenka in Rome several weeks ago - a major concern and something which puts me off making Kasatkina today's recommendation.

Bogdan capable of shock over Kenin

Instead, I am giving this status to Ana Bogdan, who is 2/13.00 for her match with this year's Australian Open champion, Sofia Kenin. If this match was played on hard court, my model would make Kenin an extremely strong favourite, but it isn't - it's being played on a fairly slow clay court.

Bogdan is a competent clay-courter, running at over 100% combined service/return points won percentage on the surface in the last 18 months, while Kenin has produced uninspiring clay performances in general to date. She was double-bagelled by Victoria Azarenka in Rome several weeks ago, while she struggled past world number 125 Ludmilla Samsonova in round one.

Again, we have a fitness issue for Bogdan - she retired in Prague when dominating Kristyna Pliskova in August - but she eased to a round one win over Timea Babos several days ago, being clearly the better player when looking at the match stats, winning 56% of points in the match and creating eight break points to two.

A win over Babos on clay is hardly an emphatic endorsement of Bogdan's level, but I think Kenin appears to be heavily over-rated by the market on clay in general, and there is the potential for an upset win here.

Pliskova a real fitness doubt for Ostapenko clash

In other matches, Clara Tauson is back in action after 'that' win over Jennifer Brady, and as is often the case, the market has over-adjusted a little following a headline win. She now looks a little short at 5/81.63 for her clash with Danielle Collins, while Karolina Pliskova's fitness issues are evidently priced into her line of 8/111.76 against Jelena Ostapenko. I'm also surprised to see clay-courter Polona Hercog priced as big as 8/131.60 for her match with Leylah Anne Fernandez - Fernandez has very high potential but still has plenty to prove on clay, while Hercog is a proven performer on the surface.

***

Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings

Discover the latest articles

Read past articles