Coral check out the French Open contenders
Roland Garros is just around the corner
There’s not long left to go until the second Grand Slam of the year from Roland Garros.
Players are getting their preparation underway for the clay court spectacular, where Rafael Nadal will be gunning for an 11th French Open victory.
The Coral News Team have assessed his chances, along with two other hopefuls in the men’s section of the draw. Meanwhile, Simona Halep, Serena Williams and Johanna Konta are the focus of our attention in the female section.
Spanish star Nadal is in fine fettle in 2018. After a disappointing start to the year with defeat in the quarter-finals at the Australian Open, the 31-year-old has bounced back in style.
The 10-time French Open winner has won two consecutive tournaments on clay. He beat Kei Nishikori in the Monte-Carlo Masters and followed that up with success in the Barcelona Open.
The Madrid Open and Italian Open lay in wait for Nadal before Roland Garros. But with injury problems behind him and his form on clay showing no signs of deterioration, he looks well-placed to justify his odds of 4/9 for the 11th time in the French capital.
An impressive start to the year saw Marin Cilic reach only his third Grand Slam Final. Once there, he was only beaten by the quality and class of Roger Federer in a five-set thriller.
The Swiss won’t be at Roland Garros, though. And that could give Cilic a chance of winning a first Grand Slam since 2014.
However, he’ll need to improve on a poor record on clay. The Croatian has never advanced past the quarter-final stage in Paris. He was downed at the same hurdle in the Monte-Carlo Masters over a week ago.
Cilic certainly has the quality at 33/1. Performances in the Madrid Open and Italian Open could go a long way to deciding his fate.
In the absence of Andy Murray, Kyle Edmund remains Britain’s main hope in France. His run to the semi-final of the Australian Open should mean he heads to Paris reasonably confident of an extended run in the tournament.
Recent last-64 exits in the Indian Wells Masters and the Miami Open have been less encouraging. Although a final defeat in the Grand Prix Hassan II – including a semi-final victory over Richard Gasquet – showed further signs of promise.
Roland Garros may come slightly too soon to be considered a tournament that Edmund can win. But he can certainly remain in the conversation until the latter stages if he brings his A-game on the clay. It’s 100/1 that he lands a maiden Grand Slam.
Simona Halep is a player to be feared. The Romanian ace is twice a finalist at Roland Garros and is gearing up for this year’s tournament in ominous form.
She reached the final of the Australian Open in January before losing out in a last-set decider to Caroline Wozniacki (16/1 for French Open). She then bowed out at the semi-final stage of the Qatar Open and Indian Wells Masters.
Last week she was beaten in the quarter-finals of the Stuttgart Open. The 26-year-old appears to be in good nick. If she lands the Madrid Open in May for the third consecutive year, her price at the top of the market could be set to shorten in from 5/1.
After missing a large chunk of 2017 through pregnancy, Serena Williams is back. And she won’t be in Paris just to make up the numbers. The 36-year-old has won this tournament three times and is 7/1 to make it four.
Williams should be plenty refreshed after missing the Australian Open. And that makes the upcoming warm-up tournaments all the more important after her spell away from the court.
She returned to action with a third-round defeat in the Indian Wells Open before a first-round exit at the Miami Open. She’ll get a chance to improve on that form thanks to her protected ranking in the Italian Open.
It remains to be seen whether Roland Garros will come too soon for Williams. However, our traders are not taking any chances.
Johanna Konta has yet to go beyond the first round at the French Open. On recent form, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Britain’s number one continued her dismal record on the Paris clay.
The 26-year-old failed to defend her Miami Open title following defeat to Venus Williams in the quarter-final last month. That forms part of a trail of form which has seen the ace crash out in the early rounds of the Australian Open, Indian Wells Masters and the Qatar Open.
It doesn’t bode well for Konta, who is 33/1 to spring a surprise across the Channel.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication