After a day full of talking points in the women's third round yesterday, we hope for more drama today. Dan Weston picked up another underdog winner on Friday and hopes to do the same again...
"As with yesterday’s winner, Krejcikova, Gibert has a strong record at ITF level on clay and it’s evidently her best surface."
Krecjikova nets ua an underdog winner on day six
Barbora Krejcikova got us another underdog win on Friday in Paris - albeit as a very marginal underdog - with a win over Tsvetana Pironkova, who as I suspected, looked rather over-rated on clay. Indeed, if Krejcikova could have taken her chances in set one, it might have been even more straightforward than the eventual scoreline. Quite incredibly, Krejcikova at 129/1130.0 is still not far from triple Pironkova's price to win the tournament before that match - sometimes I don't understand the outright market, and this is one of those times.
Bertens regaining faith in the outright market
One player who did move dramatically on the outright market, however, is Kiki Bertens. Despite being one of the pre-tournament favourites, after leaving the court in a wheelchair following her win over Sara Errani in round two, Bertens traded as high as 159/1160.0 for the tournament. She drifted dramatically in the match odds for her clash with Katerina Siniakova, going off at around 2/13.0, and promptly eased to a 6-2 6-2 victory, winning 64% of points in the match. Bertens is now into 22/123.0 and is sixth favourite for the title.
Ostapenko vulnerable to upset
There is one player above Bertens in the outright market which I am struggling to understand - Jelena Ostapenko. The shock winner in 2017 has really struggled since that Grand Slam win, having negative records on her preferred surface in both 2018 and 2019, and there's a particular issue with regards to double faulting, which has been hovering around the 0.70 per game mark.
This, perhaps unsurprisingly, contributes to mediocre service hold percentages, and I make her a much weaker favourite than the market does for her clash with the Spanish clay-courter, Paula Badosa Gibert. As with yesterday's winner, Krejcikova, Gibert has a strong record at ITF level on clay and it's evidently her best surface - a win over Sloane Stephens on Thursday was also a real positive, but for that match, Gibert was priced around 6/42.50, so I'm struggling to see why she is a bigger price here at 85/403.10. I actually rate Stephens higher than Ostapenko on clay currently.
Perhaps this is due to Ostapenko beating Karolina Pliskova in straight sets in the previous round. However, Pliskova came into the tournament as an injury concern and hardly performed well in an opening round win over the qualifier, Mayar Sherif, so there was a clear opportunity there for Ostapenko to take advantage of. I can't give Ostapenko too much credit for that victory, so it's Badosa as a heavy underdog for Saturday's pick.
Muguruza could be tested by Collins
In other matches, these players have the potential to play Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals and I'd be very surprised if the Czech left-hander didn't get the job done over Leylah Anne Fernandez today as a 2/71.29 favourite, while Garbine Muguruza looks more vulnerable at a similar price for her meeting with Danielle Collins. The market tends to be quite inconsistent with its valuation of Collins, often wildly over-rating her before under-valuing her, and her clay numbers over the last 18 months aren't bad at all. It will be interesting to see if she can push Muguruza here.
Keep an eye on Ferro for future value
I'm also interested to see who prevails between the all clay-courter clash between Fiona Ferro and Patricia Tig. Both have markedly better data on clay than other surfaces and I think Tig looks some slight value as a 2/13.05 underdog. However, I've been impressed with Ferro so far here and having won in Palermo in the immediate event after the tour resumed and it wouldn't surprise me at all if Ferro was strong model value against Sofia Kenin in round four if both win today.
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Back Paula Badosa Gibert at 85/403.10 to beat Jelena Ostapenko