3 Thursday WTA French Open Second Round Bets: Ashleigh Barty Looks Too Steep

3 Thursday WTA French Open Second Round Bets: Ashleigh Barty Looks Too Steep article feature image

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ashleigh Barty

  • Second-round betting action on the women's side rolls along on Thursday at the French Open.
  • Brett Farrenkopf fancies three more plays on the clay, including a fade of another seed in Paris.

Let’s not waste any time and get right into Thursday’s trio of bets on the women’s side, starting with another fade of a seed at the French Open.

Danielle Rose Collins (+406) vs. Ashleigh Barty

This is just another mispriced favorite playing on her least favorite surface who I must bet against. Barty is the rightful favorite, but I have her priced at closer to -250.

Barty has experienced career-best result on clay this year, having made the quarterfinals in Madrid. However, her wins have not come against the greatest competition. The Aussie has never performed well on clay in the past, and her game simply does not thrive on the surface.

After winning the Miami Open in March, Barty had these thoughts on her upcoming clay season (via Tennis 365):

“I just have to learn how to use it properly, learn how to enjoy it. It’s something I haven’t grown up with, obviously I’m more comfortable on hard court because I play on it more often. But this clay court season, in particular, is an opportunity for me to learn more about myself on that surface.”

On top of that troubling quote and her clay history, she also withdrew from the Strasbourg tournament last week with a right arm injury. To me, it looks like she’s hoping for the best this week and gearing up for grass season (where she shines).

Unfortunately, Collins isn’t the most seasoned clay court player, either.

She grew up in the U.S. and went to college at the University of Virginia, which means she didn’t play many clay matches — especially on red clay. Her career-best performance on clay came this spring in Charleston, where she lost in straight sets to Monica Puig in the quarterfinals. But even that tournament is played on green clay, a much different surface than Roland Garros.

Ultimately, I think this price is just too high. Collins did take a set off Barty earlier this month in Madrid and her big game can compete with the top players on Tour.

A strategy I sometimes employ for betting these big underdogs is, if they win the first set, I try to hedge after that on their opponent at anything around -110, thus getting what essentially amounts to a free play in this case at +296 on Collins.

Aliona Bolsova (+125) vs. Sorana Cirstea

As a result of the withdrawal of No. 6 seed Petra Kvitova, the winner of this match will have a great chance to make a surprise French Open fourth-round appearance.

Cirstea defeated Kvitova’s replacement, Kaja Juvan, 7-5, 4-6, 7-5. Meanwhile, Bolsova made relatively quick work of Vera Zvonareva, beating her 6-4, 6-2.

This is a career outing so far for Bolsova, who is making her first Grand Slam main draw appearance in three tries. I’m a little worried of a letdown if Bolsova feels satisfied; her win on Monday marked only her second career Tour level win in any main draw.

But ultimately, her game and form can compete at a high enough level with Cirstea. This match should feature plenty of long, grinding points since neither player possesses the power to end points early.

Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Sorana Cirstea

Bolsova did hit 20 winners vs. Zvonareva, but that had more to do with Zvonareva’s lack of movement. Cirstea will certainly get to more balls.

I have Bolsova as a +108 underdog and think her good vibes in Paris can continue. The over 20.5 games is also a suitable play in what should be a marathon match. However, the -115 juice on the over doesn’t entice me as much as the +125 moneyline.

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Iga Swiatek (-122) vs. Qiang Wang

This play was inevitable for me once I saw the draw. I will likely bet Swiatek in every match in Paris until she either loses or I feel she is priced properly given her talent and form.

Swiatek has had a great clay court season so far. She owns an 8-2 record on the red dirt, including a runner-up performance in Lugano in April. Her pro career has predominantly been played on clay, where she has an impressive 54-9 record. In her three junior level appearances in Paris, she made the quarterfinals twice and semifinals once.

The 17-year-old has loads of talent and loves the dirt.

Coming into Paris, I was a little worried about Swiatek after she suffered an ugly fall in the third set of her last Tour-level match against Karolina Muchova in Prague. However, that happened almost a month ago and her movement looked fine in her first-round victory.

Swiatek’s French Open second-round opponent, Qiang Wang, has also never really excelled on this surface. Qiang is just 4-5 on clay this year, albeit vs. a higher level of competition than Swiatek has seen.

Qiang did make the third round here last year, securing two wins as an underdog against Venus Williams and an off-form Petra Martic.

But ultimately, I think Swiatek is simply the better player and supremely-better mover on clay. She has more shots in her arsenal than Qiang, who prefers to simply blast off the baseline. Swiatek will make Qiang move and push her into vulnerable positions all over the court.

Swiatek had a 28:24 winners to unforced errors ratio in her first match. Anything near 50% will be good for a win here. I make the Pole a -150 favorite, so there’s ample value at -122.