Roland Garros 2021 Preview. Quarter by Quarter.

In a Slam that has been the unkindest to me over the years, I won’t mess about, lets get down to business. I can smell the grass of SW19 and I will be looking to hit peak form then. Over the last few years at the French, I would class my form of that similar to say, Marcelo Rios/Thomas Muster at Wimbledon. They actually had absence as an excuse a lot of the time, in their defence. It is my least serious one to date, I really don’t fancy my chances and if you read these normally I think you will see I am struggling in the men’s in particular. No point in punting just for the fun of it, though there are a few of them in here too.

Women’s 1st Quarter

Ash Barty will return to Paris for the first time since being champion in 2019 and is a worthy favourite and says she is over her arm injury, she is a top-priced 13/8. I will be looking for value elsewhere though. I am usually not tempted by Elina Svitolina who is second in at 6/1 top go but she really does have a crack here this time, she looks to be in a nice section of the draw. Karolina Muchova, Karolina Pliskova and Jennifer Brady are not my cup of tea on this surface either. That leaves me with Svitolina and Coco Gauff. Gauff has impressed me in the last few weeks, having won another title in Parma, so will side with her here out of a bit of biasedness. It is great to see Carla Suarez Navarro back in the draw having recovered from cancer and the legendary Venus Williams in this quarter. At the bigger prices, Sloane Stephens and Yulia Putintseva stood out. The American and former runner-up here looks a little too big at 66/1 and though she is the type of player that can go first day or hang around till the last, at these prices she is worth a small punt. Putinsteva is 80/1 so it’s a close one to call but will side with Sloane in a big event. I certainly wouldn’t take the 18/1 on offer with Skybet however. She showed some form in Italy too and that is enough to raise the eyebrows.

Recommendations – 13/2 Coco Gauff with Skybet/Hills and a saver at 66/1 with William Hills on Sloane Stephens.

Women’s 2nd Quarter

Last years Champion Iga Swiatek goes off as an even-money favourite for this section and her form has been decent with the win in Rome. She turns 20 on the weekend and has the knack of giving players a bit of a hammering and it could well happen again here. There is the added pressure of being defending champion, which is difficult to know how she will handle. There haven’t been too many signs of nerves so far but it is a funny thing. I thought I would look for a bit more value though so Muguruza (9/2), Mertens (10/1) and Sakkari (12/1) are next in. I thought Jelena Ostapenko might be a big price but at 18/1 it’s not what I had in mind. She has Kenin first round and the former champion is out of form. Muguruza was tempting but she has a habit of throwing in a duff effort still. I am going to leave it.

Recommendations – No bet.

Women’s 3rd Quarter

The quarter with the one and only Serena Williams. Aryna Sabalenka heads the betting but she has built up zero trust with me so far and a fair few would agree, so I won’t be backing the 9/2. Petra Kvitova at 9/2 made me think but again I have never been massively pro Petra on clay. Serena is next at 6/1 but she faces a tricky section here starting with Irina-Camelia Begu. Vika Azarenka has had back problems and has a poor record at RG. I have put a line through Keys for fitness and surface issues, though she has gone well before. I did start looking at prices for the qualifiers here in Anhelina Kalinina and Ana Konjuh but talked myself out of it. They are both 150/1 with VC if you are interested. Konjuh plays Sabalenka first round. It means I have kind of bottled it here and gone for the small loss and big gain value. Danielle Collins (33/1 general) went well here last year and though she has had surgery not long ago I will go with her and a similar small-sized bet on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at 16/1-25/1. 25/1 with Skybet.

Recommendations -Very small bets on Collins at 33/1 and Pavlyuchenkova at 25/1 with Skybet if you can. Collins is a general 33/1 poke.

Women’s fourth quarter

Unsurprisingly Naomi Osaka heads the betting here at 7/2. She has said she will not be doing press conferences due to people not having any regards for mental strength. I tend to swerve her on clay and that remains the same this time. Bianca Andreescu will also be dodged, for the time being, again I am not her biggest fan on clay. She has also had a slight abdominal injury recently and that is enough to rule me out. Kiki Bertens has been much fancied by the market in the past but not this time. I like the look of Paula Badosa at around the 8/1 mark. She won her first title in Belgrade last week and reached the last 16 here last year and she seems to be fast improving. I did look at Veronika Kudermetova but decided to go with Sorana Cirstea as my wildcard of the quarter at 25/1. She has been in decent form lately, winning a title in Istanbul and making the final this week in Strasbourg which hasn’t been played yet. Risky for me and something I don’t normally do, she also faces Jo Konta first round. It would be my cover at 25/1 with the main bet being on the Spaniard.

Recommendations

8/1 Paula Badosa Gilbert with Betfred/VC and Sorana Cirstea at 25/1 with Hills/Betfred.

Outright

Recommendations – If you can get the 66/1 Coco Gauff with Bet365 it is worth an each-way bet for sure. I will also back Paula Badosa at 25/1 (general) and a tiny bet on Danielle Collins at around the 200/1-250/1 mark (Bet365 are 250/1). All outright bets I will be punting each way.

Men’s 1st Quarter

Novak should get over the line here but I would oppose him if something presentable came up. It hasn’t. Top priced 4/9 Nole, 7/1 Matteo Berrettini, 17/2 Federer and then Felix Auger-Aliassime (18/1), David Goffin (33/1) and Lorenzo Musetti (33/1) are next in. Berrettini was the initial thought until I saw the price, I would want 10/1 to be remotely interested. I was never going to get that realistically. I thought Musetti and Fritz were worth a look, the American is 66/1 but it still isn’t big enough on his weakest surface. Marco Cecchinato at 66/1 and Marin Cilic at 100/1 look the biggest prices to me. Still probably not going to bother as there is enough to put me off either. I will save you the explanation.

Recommendations – No bet.

Men’s 2nd Quarter

There isn’t much difference in my opinion here. Top prices of 1/4 Rafa, we then have Andrey Rublev at 8/1, Jannik Sinner and Aslan Kartsev are 11/1, 18/1 Diego Schwartzman and 100/1 Lorenzo Sonego make sure of that. You can get slightly bigger Cam Norrie who has been in good form and the same with Monfils. I am tempted with 18/1 Schwarztman but the truth is he has been out of form and I can’t bring myself to take on Nadal who has a staggering 98% win record at an event. He has looked susceptible this year but then again he has the last few years. Rafa looks to be peaking at just the right time now though. It isn’t bigger enough Rublev or Sinner for me on this basis, not over five sets in Paris. It will also be interesting to see how Carlos Alcaraz gets on here, it should be too early for the 18-year-old Spaniard but worth keeping tabs on results after getting through qualies.

Recommendations – No bet, tough draw for Rafa but we have said it all before.

Men’s 3rd Quarter

You would have expected to see Dominic Thiem a clear favourite for this quarter but his form shows why he is just favourite at 7/4 with Alexander Zverev only marginally bigger at 15/8. The talented Casper Ruud is 5/1, then it is Bautista Agut 14/1, Nishikori 18/1 and Khachanov around the 20/1 mark. Dan Evans is someone I will be keeping an eye on as a fan obviously but I’m tempted with Alexander Zverev and then take Federico Delbonis at a huge price should Thiem crash out early. The Argentine may play him in the second round. Without a doubt the second best clay courter in the last few years but since winning in New York there has been a slump and I can’t take the risk. I usually stick clear of Sascha but he has started to impress me slowly and will take a chance on him here. I am a big fan of Casper Ruud but 5/1 just doesn’t tickle my fancy. Roberto Bautista Agut was worth looking at but he hasn’t got past the last 16 in Paris and the last time he made that was 2017.

Recommendations – Alexander Zverev 7/4 generally and 15/8 with Skybet and Federico Delbonis a very small bet at 50/1. The latter is one for the £1, £2 punters there and see if you get a run for your money. Big ask but stranger things have happened. Mostly I would say just punt Zverev if you want to have a bet on the men’s!

Men’s 4th Quarter

Stefanos has shown enough to win this but at a top-priced even money and 4/5-10/11generally, I can’t quite do it this time. Don’t ask me why. Daniil Medvedev is a big no, no for me after suffering from COVID-19 and since his return, he hasn’t been at it. I’m still not convinced on clay either. That leads me into the Pablo Carreno Busta (9/1- 11/1) and Christian Garin (13/2 -14 /1) area, both of whom could do a job here, I just wonder if Garin needs another year to do some damage here. Then John Isner (25/1) and Jaume Munar (40/1) stick out at bigger prices. Isner always goes well here but that’s a nasty draw against Querrey, purely matchup wise, it worries me. Plus he has had back issues. That means it will be Carreno Busta and Munar, though I won’t be going silly here either. Stefanos should win but I am going to swerve him here just in case of one of those dodgy efforts get thrown in. Small gut feeling, that’s all. Small bets too.

Recommendations

I will back Carreno Busta at 11/1 Boyles, Skybet if I can, if not then 9/1 in general. Miniscule bet on Jaume Munar at 40/1 generally.

Outright

Recommendations – Each Way bets on Alexander Zverev at 12/1 (general) and Pablo Carreno Busta at 100/1 (general). Short and simple.

Happy punting and watch out for my daily blog.

Andy Del Potro (Al Davies).

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