Our tennis betting expert returns to offer his daily betting tips for Roland Garros – check back every day for his best bets and to see how the tips fare.
A £10 bet on all his tips for the Australian Open (Jan) returned a profit of over £80, while a £10 bet on all his tips at the US Open (Sep) returned a profit of over £90.
A tough tournament, with the bookmakers coming out on top this time, despite a nice 11/4 winner in the Men’s Final:
|TIPS||WINNERS||LOSERS||PROFIT/LOSS (to a £10 level stake)|
Day 15 – Sunday 5th June
Novak Djokovic v Andy Murray
Although the French Open has been someway short of a classic for me, Andy Murray has at least reached the final as advised as an each-way pick at 9/2 at the start of the tournament.
Unfortunately that’s where I think the luck could run out and we may be faced with just collecting the place part of the bet this time around.
Novak Djokovic lays in wait in the final, and it’s fair to say this is the final we probably expected when the draw was made. Djokovic has a great record against Murray – 23-10 in all competitions, and he is also 4-1 up on clay, so will feel confident coming into this. Murray should put up a fight though – he’s only lost in straight sets on clay once to Djokovic and that was eight years ago, while Murray came out on top in Rome a fortnight ago when winning 6-3 6-3.
In terms of how things have gone this week, its definitely been advantage Djokovic. I’ve spoken at length in previous columns about the fatigue factor that can damage a players chances once the latter stages of the tournament are underway (one of the reasons that favourites tend to have such a good record in Grand Slams), and Djokovic has managed to keep his average match length to 29 games at Roland Garros. Murray’s have been considerably longer at 37.5 games which is essentially a set longer for every match they have played.
Djokovic has also shone in the returning stats – managing to average 48% of returning points won over the duration of the tournament. Murray – usually strong in this department is a less impressive 39%. Of course the slow courts have helped Djokovic achieve such a high percentage, and Murray played Karlovic and Isner, but by way of a bit of context, Djokovic usually managed a break rate on clay of around 27%, so he’s considerably above his usual abilities. Murray had averaged 38% over the season, so has barely improved.
Having won 12 of the last 14 meetings between the pair, Djokovic will expect to win the match, and I’ll combine that thinking to put up the best bet as Djokovic winning 3-1 at odds of 11/4.
In the specials markets, the bookies appear to have done a reasonable job on their stats, and only one bet stands out to me – the number of Murray Aces in the match. Based on around 39 games being played, I’d expect Murray to power down something in the region of 8, so seeing 4/7 available for Over 5.5 looks a good shout with Paddy Power. He’s hit 48 in the tournament thus far and past that total in four of his previous six matches.
|Novak Djokovic 3-1||Set Betting||11/4||Bet365|
|Over 5.5||Total Murray Aces||4/7||Paddy Power|
Day 14 – Saturday 4th June
Serena Williams v Garbine Muguruza
It was in this tournament just 24 months ago that Garbine Muguruza spectacularly emerged onto the world scene as she beat – you’ve guessed it – Serena Williams in stunning fashion, destroying the American 6-2 6-2. Since then Muguruza has risen to number 4 in the world, reached a Wimbledon final (beaten by Williams) and shown herself to be a commanding force on all surfaces.
It is clay that she’s produced some of her best tennis however, and we believe that gives her a tremendous shot at toppling Williams for a second time on the surface.
She has reached the final here without dropping a set – the closest any of her rivals have come has been Shelby Rogers who got to 5-7 in one set, and she’s dropped a total of 28 games all tournament.
Compared to Williams that bodes well, who has dropped 39 thus far, including scrapping her way past Yulia Putintseva who gave her a real fright.
This weeks stats have also been very close between the pair, with Williams winning 54% of receiving points compared to Muguruza’s 53%, while Williams has been marginally more powerful on here serve, with 70% of points won compared to 66%.
They are close enough however to suggest a shock isn’t out of the question, and I’m backing Muguruza as a hedge against my ante-post tip on Williams at 5/2.
Muguruza can be slightly more careless in the serving department, and based on an expected 22 games in the match, I have her in as serving around 4 double faults in the match, while Serena has an expectancy closer to 2-3. Nevertheless, those values are close enough together to suggest Sky Bet are taking a chance going as short as 4/11 on Muguruza to serve the most, so back Serena at 4/1 to serve more – which she’s done in three of the four matches between the pair.
|Garbine Muguruza||Match Winner||7/5||William Hill|
|Serena Williams||Most Double Faults||4/1||Sky Bet|
Day 13 – Friday 3rd June
Stan Wawrinka v Andy Murray
I tipped Andy Murray in my ante-post preview, siding with the Scot after a terrific run of form culminated in him beating Djokovic in the final of Rome, and taking out Nadal the week before, en-route to the final in Madrid. I am forced to change my view ahead of the semi-final with Stanislav Wawrinka however, to hedge our position somewhat, such is the way the tournament has progressed thus far.
Wawrinka was always the threat to Murray reaching the final, and there is an argument that the Swiss should be odds-on when the pair meet. Firstly, despite Murray leading the pair 9-7 in their head to head, it is Wawrinka who leads 3-0 on clay – although none of those are recent meetings.
The long term trends on clay are very similar between the pair, with Murray winning 70% of his meetings with Top 10 players, and Wawrinka winning 71%. Against players ranked 10-50th Murray has the advantage – on a 17-0 winning run over the past two years, while Wawrinka is a less impressive 10-4.
This week however, it is Wawrinka who has edged things. Murray has only managed to win 68% of service points – pretty poor when you consider Karlovic and Isner have been among his opponents, while he’s won 40% of receiving points. Wawrinka has been a more impressive 71% of service points and 41% of receiving points, and that’s enough to persuade me he should be shorter than the 11/10 available with some bookmakers. Last year’s champion looks worth supporting.
|Stanislav Wawrinka||Match Winner||11/10||Bet365, William Hill, Ladbrokes|
Day 12 – Thursday 2nd June
Kiki Bertens v Timea Bacsinszky
The French Open has been hugely disrupted by rain over the past three days, but organisers will hope to get back on track on Thursday, and I’ll be hoping to do the same after a poor run of results over my last few tips.
I tipped Timea Bacsinszky to win the 2nd quarter at 11/2, and I have no intention of wavering in my faith in the Swiss lady when she meets Kiki Bertens in the quarters.
The pair have met just once before – at Flushing Meadows in 2014 – a match that ended in retirement for Bertens after winning the first set. That match was on hard courts however, and shouldn’t affect our judgement of this encounter. Rather we should be paying attention to the amount of tennis played over the past 10 days by the pair, and Bacsinszky should be in a considerably better position after cruising through her four matches so far for the loss of just 24 games – from a total of just 72 games played. Bertens on the other hand has lost 41 – playing a total of 105 games over the same period.
Most impressively, the Swiss has won 50% or more of receiving points in each of her four matches so far, including against the big serving Venus Williams. Having reached the quarter finals in Rome and the semi-finals in Madrid, following a tournament win in Rabat, she looks in superb form.
All in all, the 8/13 looks good value in this one.
|Timea Bacsinszky||Match Winner||8/13||William Hill, Ladbrokes|
Day 8 – Sunday 29th May
I’m keeping faith with Irina-Camelia Begu as she takes on Shelby Rogers – despite the Romanian having played three long matches already. Ranked 16th on clay, Begu warmed up for Roland Garros by reaching the semi-finals in Rome (beaten by eventual champion Serena Wiliams) and the quarter finals of Madrid (losing to eventual champion Simon Halep). She is also well adapted to the surface, having played all her tennis on clay since April. With a 20-9 record against Top 100 players on clay over the past two years, she is experienced in abundance, and that compares really well to Rogers record of 1-5 over the same period.
Rogers is of course enjoying herself as well this week, and has already knocked out Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova, but I believe her run could be coming to an end.
Best odds of 4/7 are available with Coral, while she can also be backed at a tempting 6/4 to win 2-0 with the same bookmaker.
|Irina-Camelia Begu||Match Winner||4/7||Coral|
|Irina-Camelia Begu 2-0||Set Betting||6/4||Coral|
Day 7 – Saturday 28th May
Elina Svitolina v Ana Ivanovic
Friday sees the completion of the 3rd Round, and I’ll start with a strong fancy at close to double your money odds, as Ana Ivanovic plays Elina Svitolina. Ivanovic has a terrific record in their previous match ups, winning all seven meetings between the pair, and 14 of their 15 sets all told. She’s also beaten her here at Roland Garros in each of the last two years, winning all four sets, so will come into this as a confident favourite.
Their opening round form has seen reasonably comfortable form for both, with Svitolina winning 6-1 6-3 against Cirstea and 6-3 6-0 versus Taylor Townsend. Neither offered too much resistance, but its been a strong start for the Ukrainian.
Ivanovic had a tougher opening, taken to three sets against Oceane Dodin, but made lighter work of Kurumi Nara in the second round, so should be well set for this one. With a stunning head to head record, I reckon the 4/5 available with William Hill on Ivanovic is too good to turn down.
|Ana Ivanovic||Match Winner||4/5||William Hill|
Venus Williams v Alize Cornet
Staying on theme, Venus Williams has a superb record against Alize Cornet over the years, winning all 10 sets between the pair over their five meetings. In fact, in terms of games, Williams leads Cornet 60-23, and has only had her serve broken eight times in that run, so its been utter dominance.
Williams is a 1/3 shot in the match, but I prefer the 10/11 on Venus winning 2-0 – especially after easing past Louisa Chirico so easily in the 2nd round (6-2 6-1). Cornet had a much more gruelling second round match, edging past Tatjana Maria 6-3 6-7 6-4.
|Venus Williams 2-0||Set Betting||10/11||Bet365|
Day 6 – Friday 27th May
With Day 6 dominated by heavy favourites and predictable matches, the bookies are giving relatively little away. There is perhaps a case to be made for Jack Sock representing value against Albert Ramos-Vinolas at 8/13 with Paddy Power, but it’s marginal and I’ll resist getting involved for the sake of it.
Gilles Simon v Viktor Troicki
The only bet I’m really interested in concerns Gilles Simon as he looks to continue an excellent career record over Viktor Troicki, which has seen him win all 12 sets played between the men.
Simon will play in front of his own fans, which will surely help him, and I fancy him to get the job done quickly with a 7th consecutive straight sets win over his Serbian rival – with odds of 7/4 available about that outcome.
|Gilles Simon 3-0||Set Betting||7/4||Sky Bet|
Day 5 – Thursday 26th May
Victor Estrella Burgos v Feliciano Lopez
Victor Estrella Burgos looks to have been underrated by the layers in his second match against Feliciano Lopez, with the 9/4 on offer from Ladbrokes unlikely to last in my view. The pair have met twice before, with Estrella being the underdog but coming out on top both times, and we thing he can make it a hat-trick.
Estrella is the lower ranked of the two by a considerable distance (87th v 23rd), but on clay they are considerably closer (58th v 53rd) with Estrella preferring the surface for a greater proportion of his matches, and achieving close to 66% win ratio over his career on it. After coming through a first round match with Iliya Marchenko in straight sets, he’ll be feeling fresh ahead of this match.
Lopez has a much weaker record on clay, and took four sets to beat lucky loser Thomas Fabbiano in the first round, but it is his weak record on the surface against players ranked 10th-50th which suggest to me that he might struggle in this one – he has won just 2 of his 10 matches against such players on clay in the past two seasons, and looks short enough at a best price of 2/5.
|Victor Estrella Burgos||Match Winner||9/4||Ladbrokes|
Joao Sousa v Ernests Gulbis
In the second quarter, I reckon Joao Sousa should be backed to beat Ernest Gulbis, and the 10/11 available with a few firms is another I expect to go before the off. Gulbis has won both previous meetings between these men, but both were on hard courts and a clay meeting is much more to the Portuguese’s liking. With 59% of his career matches played on clay, Sousa is clearly at home, and that compares strongly to Gulbis, who has played just over 30% on the surface.
Question marks linger over whether Gulbis can get back to anything like his best form which saw him briefly rise into the top 10 in the world in 2014, but we’ve seen little recently to suggest that’s going to happen any time soon. You have to go back to October to find the last time he progressed beyond the second round of any event, and May 2015 for the last time he did it on clay. With Sousa reacing the quarter finals of Madrid and the semi-finals in Nice, he’s a solid bet at 10/11.
|Joao Sousa||Match Winner||10/11||Ladbrokes|
Eugenie Bouchard v Timea Bacsinszky
Finally, in the Ladies event I like the look of Timea Bacsinszky against Eugenie Bouchard. The Swiss is ranked 9th in the world on clay, while Bouchard is a lowly 153rd, and it’s clear who is more at home on the surface.
After a routine 6-3 6-1 win over Soler-Espinosa, Bacsinszky will expect to get deep into this event, and she’ll be pleased to be facing a player to whom clay is not a favourite. Wins over Jankovic and Kerber recently have shown that Bouchard is no pushover, but the 4/7 on offer for the Swiss look too big to turn down, and I’ll be backing her confidently at that price.
|Timea Bacsinszky||Match Winner||4/7||Betfair|
Day 4 – Wednesday 25th May
Teymuraz Gabashvili v Benoit Paire
Benoit Paire will be well supported by a partisan crowd on Wednesday when he meets Teimuraz Gabashvili, and I reckon he’s worth backing to add to his victory over the Russian on the same surface earlier in the year. The pair met in Barcelona with Paire coming through 6-2 7-5 and the younger of the men should have his number again over the longer format. Paire is ranked 21st in the world, and 24th on clay, while Gabashvili is 79th (61st on clay), so there is plenty to separate the pair, while their records against players ranked 50th-100th in the world on clay suggest this could be a mismatch. Paire has a 12-5 winning record, while Gabashvili has lost five of his six in that bracket. At 4/9, I’ll be looking for something to put with the bet.
Gilles Simon v Guido Pella
I’ll be looking to raise the returns by including another man with the crowd cheering him on, in the form of Gilles Simon. The Frenchman has never really shown a dominant surface, but clay has been as kind to him as any along the way to becoming a top-20 player, so he’s more than capable. He faces a dirt specialist in the form of Guido Pella, who plays nearly all his tennis on clay. That’s taken him to 48th in the world, but he plays a wide range of opponents and quality tournaments and his two season stats are nowhere near as strong as Simon’s. While Simon has played four times against Top 10 players (losing each), Pella has not tested himself at that level. In the 10th-50th bracket, Simon is 9-2, while Pella is 3-5, and against players ranked 50th-100th its 2-0 for Simon and 7-7 for Pella. At 1/3 Simon will take a lot of beating in this one, and I reckon that pairing up Simon and Paire makes decent sense.
|Benoit Paire & Gilles Simon||Double||10/11||Coral|
Annika Beck v Kateryna Bondarenko
In the Ladies, both Kateryna Bondarenko and Annika Beck had dominant victories in round one, but it was Bondarenko who really caught the eye in beating Vinci 6-1 6-3 and knocking out a seed in the process. It was a great win, underlining her current credentials and there is an argument she should be favourite againt Beck in this one.
Over the past three seasons, Bondarenko has held her own against both Top 50 (5-5) and Top 100 (8-9) players on clay, while Beck has found things somewhat harder 3-8 against Top 50 and 8-17 against Top 100. Couple that with the most recent views we have of the ladies, and the odds-against price on Bondarenko looks a shade long.
|Kateryna Bondarenko||Match Winner||51/50||Unibet|
Heather Watson v Svetlana Kuznetsova
Staying with the women, Heather Watson may struggle to repeat her first round efforts when she meets Svetlana Kuznetsova, who is back up to 15th in the world. The Russian reached the quarter finals in Rome, only losing to Serena Williams, and also the Semi-Finals in Prague, so is in decent form coming into this one. Watson is performing well herself, but clay has never been her preferred surface and this could be a step too far. The 4/9 on the Russian is unlikely to last.
Lucie Safarova v Viktorija Golubic
Completing a double in the Ladies, I fancy Lucie Safarova to beat Viktorija Golubic. Safarova is included in our outright picks, and she got off to a great start in beating Diatchenko 6-0 6-2 – winning 90% of her first service points and closing the match inside an hour. She also won over 60% of receiving points, while maintaining 70% of service points herself. Golubic overcame Alison Riske, but did so over three sets and didn’t convince in that one, and I’m more than happy to take the 4/9 in this match-up to boost our returns on a double.
|Svetlana Kuznetsova & Lucie Safarova||Double||11/10||BetVictor|
Day 3 – Tuesday 24th May
Facundo Bagnis v Kenny de Schepper
Day Three has thrown up an interesting battle between Facundo Bagnis and home favourite Kenny de Schepper. Bagnis is a classic clay courter, who has reached the world’s top 100 almost exclusively with dirt matches – 93% of his career matches have been on clay. That will concern de Schepper, who has avoided it for most of his career – playing less than 30% of his matches on the surface, with mixed results. He’s also ranked 50 places lower in the world, and probably the only thing going for him in this match up is the fact that he qualified without dropping a set last week. With considerably more ability on the surface, I am taking Bagnis to win this at close to double your money prices.
|Facundo Bagnis||Match Winner||5/6||BetVictor|
Laura Siegemund v Eugenie Bouchard
In the ladies, I am taking Laura Siegemund over Canadian Eugene Bouchard who hasn’t really lived up to her early promise. Siegemund has the clay pedigree to dominate this match, and is a far more experienced and accomplished player on the dirty clay courts of Roland Garros. Her Top 100 record over the past two seasons reads 16-10, compared to Bouchard’s 3-5 and Siegemund reached the final in Stuttgart just a month ago, so is in decent enough form. Although just a few spots separate them in the standard WTA rankings, in terms of clay rankings they are over 100 places apart, and how Siegemund can be 4/5 in this one I’m not sure. She is also well backable at 2/1 to win 2-0 with a strong tendency for her matches on clay to be short.
|Laura Siegemund||Match Winner||4/5||Coral|
|Laura Siegemund 2-0||Set Betting||2/1||Coral|
Day 2 – Monday 23rd May
We go into Day Two with interest carried forward in all three of our Day One bets due to bad weather in Paris on Sunday, although Dudi Sela trails 2 sets to 1 after disappointingly losing a 3rd set tie-breaker 7-5. Pavlasek and Witthoeft are yet to begin, but the market has moved strongly towards both players since I tipped.
Elina Svitolina v Sorana Cirstea
I really like the look of Elina Svitolina to beat Romanian Sorana Cirstea, with the pair looking in different leagues – both in general and on the surface.
Svitolana – ranked 20 in the world – reached the fourth round here last year and has a strong record on clay over the past two seasons, winning 15 and losing 7. The majority of those have come against players in the top 100, and she is 14-6 against top 100 rivals.
Cirstea has demonstrated herself a credible contender and is 26-16 on the surface over two years, but those stats are significantly massaged by her playing a number of very low grade tournaments, including Sao Paulo where she reached the semi-finals, but had to beat no-one inside the top 250 in the world to achieve that, and was ultimately beaten by Sara Sorribes Tormo – a player ranked 202!
Once playing against higher calibre players, she is a less impressive 8-6 and it’s hard to see why the bookies are struggling to split these two, other than to put it down to Cirstea’s strong recent results against considerably beatable players. All in all the 4/5 on Svitolana looks superb value and I’ll happily pile into that.
|Elina Svitolina||Match Winner||4/5||Sky Bet, Coral|
Carla Suarez Navarro v Katerina Siniakova
Continuing in the women’s, one worth putting into an accumulator looks to be Carla Saurez Navarro, who should be streets ahead of Katerina Siniakova. It could be a similar story here, with the bookies giving the Czech a better chance than she should have courtesy of a good run of wins coming into the event. Winning a clay challenger in her homeland looks good on paper, but she really only played opposition who were in and around the top 100 to do so, and she was taken to deciding sets in the quarters, semis and final, so could have exited at any point really, while qualifying may have left her more fatigued than her Spanish rival.
Suarez Navarro reached the 3rd round in Rome and Madrid, always looks at home on clay and has not exited the French Open in the first two rounds since 2010. At around 2/7 I’ll start building a small accumulator with her.
Martin Klizan v Taro Daniel
I’ll couple up Navarro with Taro Daniel who can take advantage of what looks likely to be a disingenuous participation in the event from Martin Klizan. Klizan hasn’t played since retiring against Verdasco at Indian Wells back in March, and one wonders if he’s just here for the appearance money given he hasn’t managed any sort of warm up or shake down event at all. Under usual circumstances Klizan would be a good favourite, but we are sure he’s not fully fit and the Japanese can take advantage – most likely progressing through retirement, so it would make sense to have our bets with a firm who pay out on progressing player after a set or a single ball. At 2/5 Daniel is worth adding to Navarro.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands v Irina-Camelia Begu
I’ll complete a treble that pays 5/4 with Coral with Irina-Camelia Begu to beat Bethanie Mattek Sands. The pair have met four times before (three in the past two seasons on clay) and Begu has won all four meetings. Ranked 28th in the world, but higher (16th) on clay, Begu is an accomplished performer and the 1/4 looks worth of including in our treble. Mattek Sands is just 1-7 against players ranked 10-50 on clay over two years, compared to Begu 7-3, while the Romanian is also 10-0 against those ranked 50-100, so looks a formidable threat.
|Carla Suarez Navarro, Taro Daniel, Irina-Camelia Begu||Treble||5/4||Coral|
Pablo Cuevas v Tobias Kamke
I was disappointed to see Pablo Cuevas drawn into the same section as Novak Djokovic when the draw was made, as I really thought this could be a big event for the Urugauyan. An opening round against Tobias Kamke looks decent enough though, and I’ll take Cuevas to win this one in straight sets.
The World no. 28 is clay through and through and is 38-16 on the surface over the past two seasons, including winning titles in Sao Paulo (twice) and Buenos Aries, a defeat in the final of Istanbul to Roger Federer, plus a win over Rafael Nadal. Kamke on the other hand has a losing clay record despite playing a few low grade challengers. This should be one way traffic and 4/5 is available on 3-0.
|Pablo Cuevas 3-0||Set Betting||4/5||Sky Bet, Coral|
Hyeon Chung v Quentin Halys
Finally, I like the look of Hyeon Chung over Quentin Halys when the youngsters meet. Halys has home advantage of course, but his development hasn’t been as impressive as that of Chung. Their clay records against Top 300 players over the past two years sees Chung ahead 9-7, while Halys is a slightly worse 7-9, but tellingly, Chung has played far more top 100 players where he has lost 2-6, so his record against challenger grade players is decent. At odds-against, Chung should have the ability to silence the Roland Garros crowd. He’s available at 11/10.
|Hyeon Chung||Match Winner||11/10||Bet365|
Day 1 – Sunday 22nd May
Roberto Carballes Baena v Adam Pavlasek
My first pick on Day One is a speculative punt in what will probably be one of the lower standard matches of the mens event as Roberto Caballes Baena meets Adam Pavlasek – and I am backing the Czech to get the better in the match up he should never have been involved in. Pavlasek actualy lost in the final qualifying round, but was the benefitiary of a lucky loser draw handed to him, and he’ll have been pleased to see himself drawn against World no. 115 Baena.
Both are clay specialists, but it is Pavlasek’s record against the relatively weaker players that attracts me to this bet. The Czech is 23-8 against players ranked 100-300 on clay over the past two seasons, while Baena is a less impressive 32-25. Although Baena has a stronger record against Top 100 players, this is unlikely to be a classic, and the odds against quotes on Pavlasek look worth an interest.
|Adam Pavlasek||Match Winner||13/8||Bet365|
Dudi Sela v Dustin Brown
A second interest bet for small stakes comes in the shape of Dudi Sela, as he takes on Dustin Brown. This is an interesting match up on clay, for the simple reason that both men avoid the red dirt at all costs, and predicting the outcome looks akin to flipping a coin.
Sela has played just 7 times on clay in the past two seasons, winning 2 and losing 5, but collecting 45 ranking points from his one counting tournament. Brown has a better record, winning 10 and losing 9, but plenty of those wins have come against very poor players ranked outside the top 200, so we shouldn’t read too much into those. This match could really go either way, so odds of 7/4 appeal.
|Dudi Sela||Match Winner||7/4||Bet365|
Zarina Diyas v Carina Witthoeft
In the Women’s, I like Carina Witthoeft to come out on top of Zarina Diyas when the youngsters meet on Sunday. The pair have never met, but Diyas is yet to prove herself on clay, and has played just 19 times on the surface over the past two seasons, with a strike rate just shy of 50%.
Witthoeft by contrast has played 31 times, winning 21 of those, and reached the final of Cagnes Sur Mer recently in warm up for this event. While neither girl has played many top ranking players, it is Witthoeft who has achieved the stronger results against weaker players, and she gets the nod at 10/11 with Ladbrokes.
|Carina Witthoeft||Match Winner||10/11||Ladbrokes|