The second Grand Slam of the year is the French Open and in 2017 it will take place between 22nd May and 11th June. The tournament is regularly referred to as ‘Roland Garros’ after the name of the venue where it will take place. The event is famous for the red clay court, which is unique to the French Open, as the Australia and US Open tournaments use hard court surfaces and Wimbledon is played on grass.
Due to the nature of the clay surface, which can play slow, the French Open is one of the most physically demanding tournaments of the year and players must be at 100% to have any chance of winning the title.
1. Men’s Singles
The defending men’s champions is Novak Djokovic. The Serb claimed his first French Open title in 2016, to complete the career Grand Slam, something which he had been aiming to do for some time. Therefore, the pressure for Djokovic to win in 2017 will be less intense and he remains favourite at 2.00 with Bet365. Only two players since 1995 have successfully retained the French Open title, Gustavo Kuerton and Rafael Nadal, both of whom would consider clay as being their favourite surface. Clay is not Djokovic’s favourite surface and having endured a tough end to 2016, it may be time to look at other contenders.
Current world number one, Andy Murray, reached the final for the first time in 2016, having made the semi-final the two years before. If the tournament was due to start earlier in 2017, you would say the Scot has a great chance but at odds of 5.00 at Bet365, there are better options.
Stan Wawrinka, who won the French open in 2015 is a very dangerous player and if it isn’t going to be Djokovic, he would be the man to back at 9.00 with Bet365. The Swiss has won a Grand Slam in each of the last three years and you would not back against him going deep at Roland Garros in 2017.
What of Rafael Nadal? The Spaniard has won the French Open nine times, which is a record but has struggled in recent years. During 2016, Nadal failed to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final for the first time since 2004 and all eyes will be on the former world number one, to see what shape he is in at the start of 2017. As an early prediction, it is difficult to back Nadal at 6.00 or Roger Federer, even at 21.00, due to their fitness problems.
2. Women’s Singles
The women’s defending champion is Garbine Muguruza, who won her first Grand Slam title at the French Open in 2016, defeating Serena Williams in the final. The Spaniard failed to deliver in the other Grand Slam tournaments but having reached the quarter-final of the French Open in 2014 and 2015, it was clear she had a liking for the clay courts of Roland Garros. At only 23 years of age, she is young and could easily make the final in 2017. At 5.50 Muguruza makes for a good early bet on the 2017 French Open.
Serena Williams remains the favourite with the bookies at 3.00 but the French Open is clearly her least favourite of all the Grand Slam events. Having said that, Williams has made the final in the past two editions of the tournament and if fit, will surely challenge once more. However, the price is a little short to be tempted at this stage.
Angelique Kerber, the current world number one enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2016, winning the Australian Open and US Open. However, her record at Roland Garros is poor, with the fourth round being her best performance to date. Priced at 13.00 with Bet365, a better bet may be Simona Halep, who reached the final in 2014 and as an early outside bet, how about Monica Puig at 101.00? If the draw opened up, she has proven she can put a run together by winning the 2016 Olympic Games.
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