We’re approaching the climax of the French Open, and this weekend the women’s and men’s singles finals will take place. But which players are in the best position to lift the trophies?
Let’s start with the women’s as that takes place first, on Saturday afternoon live on ITV. The two to make the final are Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, probably the two biggest names in the women’s game so it should make for a good match.
As I said in the tournament preview a couple of weeks ago, Serena is the overwhelming favourite to take the title. She has been in supreme form throughout the tournament and although she suffered a small scare against Kuznetsova who took her to three sets, she has coasted her way to the final and looks near unbeatable. She’s available at the best price of 1/5 (William Hill).
Sharapova has not looked as supreme during her run to the final. There have been a number of three set matches, against Jelena Jankovic and Victoria Azarenka, but she has done very well to make it through. She’s as large as 19/4 (Sportingbet) to lift the trophy.
I cannot see past Serena for this one. She has been in incredible form all year, and although Sharapova will undoubtedly give her a good game, the power and accuracy of Serena’s game should pull her to victory.
The men’s final is a Spanish affair as ‘King of Clay’ Rafael Nadal faces off against his fellow countryman David Ferrer.
Nadal made the final by winning a fantastic five-set match against world number one Novak Djokovic. He showed great grit and determination to win that match in almost five hours. He hasn’t looked quite as imperious as normal during this fortnight, dropping a set against a number of opponents you’d expect him to breeze past ordinarily, and that Djokovic game was his first five-setter for 12 months. Will the have taken its toll?
Ferrer had a far simpler task in the semi-final, winning through in straight sets against Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He has looked superb throughout the tournament. He will be participating in his first Grand Slam final. Can he handle that pressure? He’s played a number of huge matches in the past, be it in Davis Cup or in Masters Series events to suggest that he will likely handle it fine.
The pair will know each other’s game inside out, strengths and weaknesses, so expect a very close match. Ferrer is like a wall at the back of the court, running side to side and getting everything back, so Nadal will have to try and mix things up and disrupt Ferrer’s rhythm if at all possible.
It should be a cracker. Nadal is rightly favourite at 1/8 (Paddy Power). He has only ever lost once at the French Open and will be aiming to make it title number eight in Paris. But it will not be anywhere near as easy as those odds would suggest. Ferrer at 7/1 (888 Sport) is a huge price and could be worth a small flutter at that price.