Saturday WTA French Open Third Round Bets: Backing Youth

Jun 01, 2019 06:00 AM EDT

Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY SPORTS. Pictured: Monica Puig

  • WTA betting action will continue at the 2019 French Open on Saturday with eight matches on the docket.
  • Brett Farrenkopf details his two favorite plays on the women's side on the final day of the third round.

This isn’t my favorite card of the French Open, but one favorite and one underdog have made it. Both names might look familiar as I’ve played them in each of the first two rounds.

Let’s dig in.

Aliona Bolsova (+124) vs. Ekaterina Alexandrova

Saturday, 10:30 a.m. ET

I’ve previously detailed Bolsova’s unprecedented success this week in Paris, but this is also Alexandrova’s biggest week ever.

Saturday’s match will mark her first ever in the third round of a Grand Slam. Both players have an incredible opportunity to notch a huge win, pick up a lot of rankings points and collect a big pay day.

The 21-year-old Bolsova is not as accomplished on Tour as Alexandrova, but her key advantage in this match is her ability to move on red dirt. Alexandrova has never been a proficient player on this surface against Tour-level talent.

When she first came on Tour, Alexandrova played a lot of clay court ITF events but never excelled despite her superior talent. It wasn’t until the winter of 2016 when she made major strides on indoor hard courts where she lifted her ranking enough to make the main draws in WTA level events.

Since then, Alexandrova mainly focused on hard court tennis. She has an abysmal 6-20 career clay record at Tour level events, which includes plenty of qualifying matches. The Russian is just 5-10 as a favorite on clay at this level, including 1-4 in 2019.

Alexandrova’s two wins in Paris came against two impressive names — Mihaela Buzarnescu and Samantha Stosur — however, neither came to the French Open with any form. Both Buzarenscu and Stosur really beat themselves, hitting 10 or more unforced errors than winners during each match.

Bolsova, despite being ranked No. 137 in the world, arrived in Paris in much better form. She’s hit 45 winners to 46 unforced through two matches. She’s not an especially big hitter, but she has a very high tennis IQ and can exploit her opponents when they get in vulnerable positions. In her second-round match, Bolsova hit multiple winners behind an off-balance Sorana Cirstea.

Alexandrova has a much bigger game and plays with much less margin, so she will hit plenty of winners just due to sheer power. But Bolsova beat another Russian with a similar style in the first round in Vera Zvonareva, who also wants to bash from the baseline. That win should offer a good blueprint for how to advance to the second week of the French Open.

While Alexandrova has more raw talent, I still make Bolsova a slight favorite in this matchup. If she can continue to hold serve at a respectable clip and extend points when returning, I think the Spaniard moves on.

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