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Women's French Open up for grabs

Posted 04-11-2011 at 10:17 AM by Philip Oliver
The French Open is fast becoming the most wide open slam in women's tennis. It would surprise few if the last three winners, Ana Ivanovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Francesca Schiavone did not win another major, whilst the absence of Justine Henin and, to a lesser extent, Serena Williams, makes the 2011 event hard to predict and the online betting reflects this.

This is a far cry from the 1970s and 1980s – between 1979 and 1999 there were just seven different winners – and the current situation makes for interesting tennis betting opportunities, especially as Roland Garros is the only slam that Serena has not led the Williams sisters' favouritism in the winner's market.

Not only does a new winner seem likely this year, but Paris could be the venue for a maiden slam for the victor. Kim Clijsters and Maria Sharapova are suffering the effects of injuries and Schiavone has not maintained the form that won her the title last year. Kuznetsova, Ivanovic and Venus Williams are struggling for form.

This suggests Caroline Wozniacki, winner at Indian Wells last month, is the player to beat. 2011 has followed the pattern of last year, when excellent consistency in the big tour events gave way to tentative displays in the latter stages of slams – her Australian Open last four defeat by Li Na increased the pressure on her to justify her number one ranking with a major trophy to fever pitch.

That apparent paradox will again confront her in Paris and the Dane will be under huge pressure to deliver. Many think the path to a maiden slam is now easier, and although with Clijsters laid low by injury Roland Garros will probably provide her with the best chance of a major this year, there are enough form players – Vera Zvonareva and Victoria Azarenka in particular – to make her task a tricky one.
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