Sakkari facing tricky test
Sabalenka heavy favourite to progress
Linette with edge to continue top 20 progress
Sakkari with edge for tie of the day
Arguably the tie of the opening day at Roland Garros is Maria Sakkari versus Karolina Muchova, which looks a real hurdle for the higher ranked player, Sakkari. The market agrees, pricing her up as the very marginal favourite at 1.9620/21.
On clay, Sakkari has only lost to decent opposition this season - Pliskova, Sabalenka, Vondrousova - and reached the semi-final in Madrid in what was a welcome return to form ahead of the French Open. Muchova, though, hasn't picked up any underdog wins on clay this season and also hasn't overly impressed on the surface, so the market support is a little interesting.
Muchova actually won here against Sakkari last year in the second round, when Sakkari was priced up at around the 1.454/9 as a much stronger pre-match favourite. Sample size is quite small on clay over the last year for Muchova, but the duo have relatively similar numbers so you can make a case for the market pricing, although it's a significant departure from that price here in 2022.
Sabalenka heavy favourite to get past Kostyuk
Tournament second favourite Aryna Sabalenka is also in action, as she faces the talented Marta Kostyuk in one of the opening matches of the schedule. Sabalenka, who statistically is the second best clay-courter on the WTA Tour this year, is the 1.171/6 solid favourite against the Ukrainian, who has ability and high potential but hasn't played many clay tournaments this season so far.
Another match I'm keen to keep an eye features the qualifier, Clara Tauson, who faces Aliaksandra Sasnovich in her opener. Tauson is 1.758/11 to make round two.
Over the years, I've mentioned Tauson's big potential but injuries haven't helped her in breaking the top 30, which she was close to last year. Still only 20 years of age, she stands outside the top 100, so needs a strong showing here to start to get direct entry back into big events.
Qualifying here with no drama is a solid start to doing so, although faces a tough test against competent opposition in Sasnovich. In terms of potential, Tauson has a much higher ceiling but Sasnovich is no mug, and could pick up an underdog victory here.
Linette with clay edge over Fernandez
Finally, Magda Linette has just broken into the top 20, and has a decent opportunity here to reinforce that position. She faces Leylah Fernandez here on Sunday, who has had a pretty mediocre clay season so far.
Linette is the very marginal favourite at 1.9520/21, which I think is pretty decent value. Yes, she hasn't won a lot of matches of late, but is consistently losing to high level opposition, whereas Fernandez has struggled against mediocrity. Linette also has more clay pedigree too, so I'm happy to side with her for this clash.