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Roland Garros 2019 women's favourites, best odds and outright tips: Simona Halep to defend her French Open title?

Leye Aduloju 25 May 2019
  • Simona Halep is bidding to become the first woman since Justin Henin in 2007 to successfully defend the French Open title
  • Naomi Osaka is looking to win her third straight major, while Serena Williams gets another shot at claiming a record-equaling 24th Slam
  • French Open live streaming available – watch and bet on tennis live from Roland Garros at bet365 (geo-restrictions apply. Streams available to customers with an active balance)
Simona Halep (PA Sport)

It's another wonderfully open women's field at the 2019 French Open, with quite a few players in with reasonable shots at winning the title.

Date: Sunday 26 May-Sunday 9 June

Start time: Play starts at 11am local/10am BST

Venue: Roland Garros, Paris

Surface: Clay

French Open predictions, favourites and stats

Simona Halep is attempting to become the first woman since Justin Henin in 2007 to defend the title, Naomi Osaka is seeking her third straight major, while Serena Williams gets another shot at claiming a record-breaking 24th Grand Slam title.

With the draw out- not that it makes the permutations any easier or clearer- we pick out the favourites for the French Open and examine their chances of going all the way in Paris.

Simona Halep (4/1 @ Ladbrokes)
Despite not winning a title since last August, defending champion, Simona Halep heads into Roland Garros as the bookmakers' favourite, just ahead of Kiki Bertens. It's easy to see why Halep is up there- she has been the best clay-court player on the tour over the last couple of seasons, reaching the French Open final in 2014, 2017 and 2018, and winning the title in 2018 after beating Sloane Stephens in the final. However, the Romanian appears more vulnerable this term, and her confidence would not have been helped by an opening round loss to Marketa Vondrousova in her final build-up tournament in Rome.

She's got a good early draw at Roland Garros. If she can get past a tricky first round challenge from Ajla Tomljanovic, her path to the quarter finals appear clear, with Lesia Tsurenko, Qiang Wang and Daria Kasatkina as the possible seeds she could face before the last eight. Things will get more difficult from the quarters, but with the momentum she might have built up from the early rounds, and the quality she possesses on this surface, she will go into every match in those latter stages with an excellent chance of winning.

Kiki Bertens (17/2 @ bet365)
Had it not been for Halep's French Open history, and Bertens' uninspiring Grand Slam record, Bertens would surely have been the No. 1 favourite for the French Open. She is the form woman on the surface, having won the Madrid title in brilliant fashion, beating top ten stars, Sloane Stephens, Petra Kvitova and Halep to become the first woman to win the title without dropping a set, either side of semi-finals in Stuttgart and Rome.

Bertens has gone beyond the fourth round of a major just twice in her career, but the good news is that one of those performances was at Roland Garros in 2016, when she made the semi-finals. 

The Dutchwoman is drawn to meet last year’s finalist, Sloane Stephens in the quarter finals, but she may have to get past Johanna Konta- who beat her in Rome- and Belinda Bencic to reach the last eight. I feel it's all about the mindset for Bertens- she has definitely got the skill set to get through any draw, as she has shown across surfaces in the last year. If she truly believes, and there is no reason why she shouldn't, she can go on and win this thing.

Naomi Osaka (14/1 @ Ladbrokes)
I wouldn't have Osaka this high up in my list, but the bookmakers have obviously been swayed by her ranking and her 14-match winning streak in majors. To be fair, you cannot really argue with that.

Also, Osaka has had her best clay-court season in the build-up to Roland Garros, making semi-finals in Stuttgart and consecutive quarter finals in Madrid and Rome. However, the world No. 1 withdrew from two of those tournaments with injuries- quitting Stuttgart with an abdominal problem and Rome with a thumb injury- which isn't exactly ideal preparation for Roland Garros. Osaka has also got a difficult draw, with Victoria Azarenka as a possible second round opponent, Maria Sakkari in the third round, Caroline Garcia or Madison Keys in the Round of 16, and Serena Williams potentially in the quarter finals. The top seed has never been past the third round in Paris, and she would have done extremely well in my opinion to better that record in 2019.

Karolina Pliskova (15/1 @ Unibet)
World No. 2, Karolina Pliskova enters Roland Garros in fine form, having won the Rome title, but I have serious doubts about her chances of going all the way in Paris. She is a fantastic player, obviously, but I remain unconvinced about her on this surface, (despite being a former Roland Garros semi-finalist, and winning a couple of big titles in Stuttgart and Rome over the last two years)! My reasoning is that there are better clay-court players going around- Halep, Bertens, Stephens, Svitolina- and if she runs into any of them later in the tournament, it could be curtains for her. It could be curtains as early as the second round, as she potentially plays former champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova, while the in-form Petra Martic and Germany’s Julia Goerges could ambush the Czech before the quarter finals. If she gets through to the last eight, I don't see her beating Bertens or Stevens.

Sloane Stephens (16/1 @ William Hill)
Sloane Stephens has had a pretty average season, but I strongly feel she can go really deep in Paris over the next fortnight. If she gets through the early rounds and gets on a roll, she can be very hard to stop, plus this is clay, a surface that lends plenty of help to her unique blend of counter-punching and controlled aggression. The American made a poor start to the year, but she has got better on the clay, notably reaching the semi-finals in Madrid. Stephens has got a fairly decent draw, as the biggest obstacle on her potential path to the quarter finals is a possible fourth round meeting with Elina Svitolina, Garbine Muguruza or Venus Williams, all of whom are very beatable for a variety of reasons. Svitolina has been injured, and Muguruza continues to drift in and out of form, (more out than in, actually), and Venus isn't as dangerous on a slow clay court.

If Stephens gets through to the last eight, it's touch and go from there, with possible matches with Bertens, Pliskova and Simona Halep (?) on the menu.

Petra Kvitova (16/1 @ Ladbrokes)
Kvitova hasn't found success the Roland Garros clay through the years, but given the season she's had, it's impossible to exclude the Czech from this conversation. The left-hander boasts a very impressive 28-8 record in 2019, claiming titles in Sydney and Stuttgart, and reaching finals in Melbourne and Dubai.

However, since reaching the semi-finals of the French Open in 2012, she has only made the fourth round once. Her 2019 draw isn't the kindest- it is very possible she goes out to Sorana Cirstea- a former Roland Garros quarter finalist- in the first round, while Anett Kontaveit and Aryna Sabalenka are very dangerous fourth round opponents. If Kvitova makes it into the quarter, I reckon her tournament ends when she runs into Simona Halep!

Serena Williams (16/1 @ Betfair)
She has got to be on this list, hasn't she? 

Serena Williams has played just three completed matches since the Australian Open, and has withdrawn from her last two tournaments with a knee injury, but she's getting lots of love from the bookmakers, and rightly so! Her reputation alone accounts for plenty of points, and if she's going ahead to play despite her injury problems, then she must feel she's healthy enough to win matches, else, there really would be no point. 

If her knee holds up, she's definitely capable of putting a run together, but going all the way is a very long shot. There's genuine danger in the third round against Sofia Kenin or Bianca Andreescu, but if she gets into the second week, I'll back the great American against Barty in the fourth round, and Osaka, or maybe Keys, Azarenka or Sakkari in the quarter finals. I don't see her getting through Halep on this surface, should they meet in the semi-finals.

Ashleigh Barty (22/1 @ bet365)
I'm a little surprised Barty is this high up to be honest, as she isn't reputed for her efforts on clay, and has never been beyond the second round at Roland Garros. However, she is improving all the time, and has got a game style that can be particularly awkward on this surface. Speaking of awkward, she could run into Su-Wei Hsieh in the third round ahead of a potential meeting with Serena Williams in the fourth- if the seedings hold. Barty has never been beyond the quarter finals of any major, and I'm not expecting that to change in Paris over the next fortnight. 

French Open outright women’s singles betting tips

Simona Halep has got the best draw amongst all the favourites, and I expect her to ease her way through the draw, build up her confidence and fully hit her stride in the latter stages. I think she will be too strong for Petra Kvitova (or quite possibly, Anett Kontaveit) in the quarter finals, and get past whoever emerges from the first quarter (Serena? Osaka? Keys? Or maybe Sakkari?) in the semis.

That first quarter is very tough to call!

I think the finalist from the bottom half will come from the Bertens-Stephens quarter rather than the bottom quarter which has Pliskova and Kerber (who has been struggling with an ankle injury in the lead up to the French Open).

I'll stick with the form player Bertens to make the final, but I'll go with Halep to defend her title.

French Open women’s outright winner recommended bet

Simona Halep to win the French Open women’s title -  4/1 @ Ladbrokes

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