2019 French Open WTA Futures Betting Preview: As Wide-Open As It Gets
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Maria Sakkari
- The 2019 French Open gets underway on Sunday with first-round action starting at 5 a.m. ET.
- Simona Halep, the odds-on favorite at 4-1, will look to defend her 2018 title while Naomi Osaka (11-1) seeks her third-straight Slam.
- In a field that looks extremely wide-open, there appears to be some decent WTA futures betting value at Roland Garros this year.
We are just hours away from the start of the 2019 French Open, which looks like another women’s Grand Slam where about any one of 30 players could take home the trophy.
Through 11 WTA clay court events in 2019, we’ve seen 11 different winners, and only five players have made multiple semifinals on clay this season: Johanna Konta, Kiki Bertens, Maria Sakkari, Petra Kvitova, and Petra Martic.
Considering the form, injury concerns and vulnerability of the top seeds, a long shot or young gun could shock the tennis world with her first slam — a la Jelena Ostapenko here at Roland Garros in 2017.
Defending champion Simona Halep hasn’t fared particularly well on clay in 2019, but she is the deserved betting favorite with her history and pedigree on the dirt. The biggest storyline — in addition to Serena, who will always be the headliner in any tourney she enters — will be Naomi Osaka, who has won each of the last two Grand Slams.
Osaka and 2018 French Open finalist Sloane Stephens haven’t shown much form heading into Paris but their past Slam results tells us either could pop and win. And the biggest surprise of 2019, Bianca Andreescu, hasn’t even played since late March in Miami.
Expect the unexpected this year in Paris. Let’s take a high-level look at the field before diving into a quick overview of each quarter. I will then close with the overall and quarter futures I bet for this year’s French Open.
Before we get started, here’s our cheat sheet for the 32 women’s seeds for your reference:
Former French Open Winners
In 2019 Draw
- Simona Halep (2018)
- Jelena Ostapenko (2017)
- Garbiñe Muguruza (2016)
- Serena Williams (2015, 2013, 2002)
- Svetlana Kuznetsova (2009)
Recent French Open Semifinalists
- Simona Halep (2)
- Garbine Muguruza (2)
- Sloane Stephens
- Madison Keys
- Jelena Ostapenko
- Karolina Pliskova
- Timea Bacsinszky
- Serena Williams
- Kiki Bertens
- Samantha Stosur
2019 Clay Court Titles
- Madison Keys (Charleston)
- Amanda Anisimova (Bogota)
- Polona Hercog (Lugano)
- Petra Kvitova (Stuttgart)
- Petra Martic (Istanbul)
- Johanna Konta (Rabat)
- Jil Teichmann (Prague)
- Kiki Bertens (Madrid)
- Karolina Pliskova (Rome)
- Dayana Yastermskla (Strasbourg)
- Yulia Putintseva (Nuremberg)
Seeds With Injury Concerns
- Naomi Osaka (right hand)
- Petra Kvitova (calf)
- Elina Svitolina (knee)
- Bianca Andreescu (shoulder)
- Serena Williams (knee)
- Ashleigh Barty (arm)
- Caroline Wozniacki (back/knee)
- Naomi Osaka (thumb)
- Garbine Muguruza (thigh)
- Julia Goerges (thigh)
- Donna Vekic (ankle)
French Open Quarter 1
Top Seed: Naomi Osaka
No. 1 overall seed Naomi Osaka (15-1) is seeking her third straight Slam win but she received a brutal draw. That won’t help her weak clay form or injury concerns. (Osaka withdrew from Rome with a right hand injury.)
Naomi’s road to just the quarterfinals is a gauntlet, potentially featuring an in-form Victoria Azarenka (33-1), Maria Sakkari (50-1), and Madison Keys (33-1). Also, Serena Williams (16-1) lingers in the bottom half of the quarter, although clay is not her best surface and we last saw her withdraw ahead of a second round match with her sister in Rome. The 23-time champ may be vulnerable in the first week.
Other notable seeds include Bianca Andreescu (66-1). who returns to action after skipping all of clay season after an incredible winter run at Indian Wells and Miami. And Aussie Ashleigh Barty (18-1), who isn’t the biggest fan of clay.
Despite all of the big names, this quarter seems ripe for upsets throughout.
French Open Quarter 2
Top Seed: Simona Halep
The biggest beneficiary of the draw was No. 6 seed Petra Kvitova (16-1). If fully fit, her road to the quarterfinals looks very straightforward.
The Czech’s most difficult opponent on paper would either be Aryna Sabalenka (66-1) or Anett Kontaveit (66-1) in the fourth round. However, Sabalenka has shown hardly any form on clay, and Kvitova already beat Kontaveit in a routine straight set final in Stuttgart.
Defending champion and No. 3 seed Simona Halep (4-1) has a bit of a trickier draw — mainly because of a first-round matchup with Ajla Tomljanovic, who will not be a pushover. If she passes that test, her path becomes easier (on paper) until a potential matchup with Kvitova in the quarters.
Sleeper Alert: Keep an eye out on the 17-year-old Polish woman, Iga Swiatek (100-1), who excels on clay. She can get to the Round of 16 for a potential showdown with Halep.
French Open Quarter 3
Top Seed: Kiki Bertens
Arguably the favorite for the title, No. 4 seed Kiki Bertens (8-1) received a decent draw. Belinda Bencic (33-1) and Johanna Konta (50-1) are potential roadblocks to the quarterfinals — but considering Bertens’ consistency on clay, I see her finding her way through..
The top half of this quarter is a head-scratcher. The three most talented players are impossible to predict right now.
- Sloane Stephens (16-1) could win the event or lose to Alison Van Uytvanck in the second-round.
- Garbine Muguruza (33-1) has routinely played well in Paris and received a great draw, but there is always injury concerns with the Spaniard
- Elina Svitolina (25-1) has battled knee issues throughout 2019 and has looked awful on clay sans one set against Azarenka in Rome. Plus, she posted on Instagram earlier this week that she wasn’t optimistic about her health.
French Open Quarter 4
Top Seed: Karolina Pliskova
No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova (13-1) has been a revelation on clay over the past couple of years. After never being considered a real threat on clay, she made the French Open semifinals in 2018 and won Rome this year.
That said, her draw is brutal: 2009 champion Svetlana Kuznetsova (300-1) and either Petra Martic (200-1) or Paris crowd favorite Kristina Mladenovic (66-1) stand in her way in the first three rounds.
The top half of the draw has two intriguing youngsters that I was optimistic about heading into Paris. Dayana Yastremska (50-1) received a difficult R1 opponent in Carla Suarez Navarro, but Yastremska has the game and winning experience to make a run.
And then there is Marketa Vondrousova (40-1), the best clay-court teenager on Tour. She didn’t receive the best draw but could make the semifinals or better. Her potential R2 opponent is No. 5 seed Angelique Kerber but this is the surface you want to play Kerber on.
French Open Futures Corner
Given the volatility of the top seeds and openness of this draw, I find it very difficult to back anyone at the top of the board. Given her consistency and prowess on clay, Kiki Bertens would be my pick to win this tourney. However, I just don’t see much value at +800.
Instead, I’m backing two mid-tier prices that would also offer better hedge opportunities if they can make the semifinals or better.
As I previously stated, Marketa Vondrousova (40-1) is one of the elite young talents on clay and has shown the ability to beat the best on Tour. I personally played her at 150-1 back in March but still think she’s a solid value play at 40-1 — especially with her manageable draw.
Marketa on clay has been awesome. One of the more unheralded teens but she’s been awesome in 2019, backing up her 2017 clay form.
— Bretthalamow (@bmf1314) April 27, 2019
The other young star I’m backing is Maria Sakkari 50-1. She is very much a form player and has been in great form this clay swing. However, that can fall apart at a moments notice. Sakkari can hit the ball through the slow Paris courts, which is reminiscent of what Ostapenko did in 2017. Considering her clay form and go-for-broke style, Sakkari has the talent and attitude to make a run.
Both players also have generous quarter odds: Vondrousova is at +900; Sakkari, +1200.
Other quarterfinal winner odds I bet include Iga Swiatek 22-1, Polona Hercog 40-1, and Karolina Muchova 66-1.
Swiatek has the talent to make a run and may even benefit from an early slip up from Halep or Kvitova, who have a history of bowing out early in Slams.
Muchova, who’s in the bottom half of the same quarter as Swiatek, has had a nice season so far and has previously shown the ability to compete with the top talent on Tour in Slams.
Hercog has a relatively early soft draw for an unseeded player. Sloane Stephens lingers in the third round but you never know with the American, who could stumble early. Hercog loves red dirt and has already won a clay title this season.
2019 French Open Futures
To Win Tournament:
- Marketa Vondrousova 40-1
- Maria Sakkari 50-1
To Win Quarter:
- Iga Swiatek 22-1
- Polona Hercog 40-1
- Karolina Muchova 66-1