2019 WTA French Open Final Betting Preview: Which First-Time Finalist Can Hold Their Nerves?
Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sport. Pictured: Marketa Vondrousova
- WTA French Open betting action resumes on Saturday morning with the finals getting underway at 9 a.m. ET.
- Stuckey breaks down who he likes in a matchup of two rising stars: Marketa Vondrousova and Ashleigh Barty.
2019 WTA French Open Final
Matchup: Marketa Vondrousova vs. Ashleigh Barty
Line: Barty -154 | O/U: 22
Time: 9 a.m. ET on NBC
Just as everyone predicted, Marketa Vondrousova and Ashleigh Barty will face each other for the 2019 French Open title. Regardless of the winner, we will have a first-time Grand Slam champion.
How rare is it to see two first-time finalists in a major final? This marks the eighth such occasion in the Open era (since 1968). Interestingly enough, three of the previous seven instances occurred at Roland Garros, while we’ve never seen it at Wimbledon.
However, maybe this matchup shouldn’t surprise us that much. There is definitely a new generation of players taking over the women’s tour.
We just saw Naomi Osaka (21) win the past two Grand Slams and all of the biggest titles this year have been won by players aged 23 and younger. That trend will continue on Saturday as Barty is 23 years old and Vondrousova is only 19!
Let’s take a closer look at the matchup before diving into what I’m looking at from a betting perspective. I will also conclude with my plans for my unheeded Vondrousova 40-1 futures ticket.
Both have played outstanding tennis throughout the tournament which reflects both of their levels throughout 2019. Vondrousova owns the best record on Tour since the Australian Open at an eye-popping 27-5.
And if you look at the entire 2019 season, Barty has been even better at a ridiculous 32-6. Both have done a ton of winning this year.
Again, this shouldn’t be as big of a surprise matchup as some think.
The Czech also hasn’t even dropped a set at this year’s French Open — although she did win both of her tiebreakers while Barty lost her only one in the semifinals.
While Vondrousova gets more first serves in overall (and has done so this tourney) — Barty has the more reliable second serve. That could loom large in a match that should feature plenty of nerves.
One thing is for certain: you should expect variety. Both players have a full repertoire of shots that will keep their opponent off balance.
Barty features a kick serve an an uber-effective backhand slice while Vondrousova utilizes the drop shot on clay as well as any player on Tour.
This is not news, but it’s worth saying over and over again: Ash Barty’s backhand slice is a thing of beauty. #MiamiOpen
— Matt Roberts (@Roberts96Matt) March 30, 2019
Vondrousova is the more natural clay-courter and moves better, but don’t sleep on the craftiness of Barty — who will also have the experience edge on Saturday. Both are also capable at the net.
These two have met twice before (on grass in 2017 and on a hard court in 2018) with Barty coming out victorious in each meeting in straight sets. However, neither came on clay which is Vondrousova’s best surface — and hasn’t been for the Aussie in the past.
Bets to Watch
I could go on-and-on about this matchup but, frankly, it will most likely come down to nerves as often see with first-time finalists in a Grand Slam. There are countless examples of players melting down on the biggest stage in their first appearance in a major.
Just look at the most recent example of two first-time Grand Slam finalists meeting when Madison Keys was completely overwhelmed by the moment against Sloane Stephens at the 2017 US Open.
Or when Sabine Lisicki was reduced to tears in her only Slam final appearance at Wimbledon in 2013.
The tears for Lisicki … Bartoli will serve for it (AFP) pic.twitter.com/B5htdqJvZ9
— Joe Fleming (@ByJoeFleming) July 6, 2013
Both Vondrousova and Barty have shown signs of nerves this tournament. Barty when trying to close out the first set against Amanda Anisimova and Vondrousova wobbling on serve when trying to close out Petra Martic.
Vondrousova came out ice-cold to start her semifinal match against Jo Konta but then didn’t really look nervous after she got her footing. However, she played from behind in both sets — an ideal position for such a young player. It’s a different ball game when playing from ahead in a Grand Slam final.
However, those nerves might not come if the lead is large enough. There’s a good chance the moment will be too big for one of these players.
There’s a reason we have only seen 19 three-set matches of the 77 Grand Slam singles championships played since 2000. And 67 of those 77 champions won the first set — including every single winner of the US Open since 1995.
Although I must remind everyone that four of the last five French Open finals have gone three sets. And the last two have gone to the loser of the first set.
Bets to Watch
2019 French Open WTA Record: 13-8-1 +9.24 units
Again, a potential blowout wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the stage is too big for either Barty or Vondrousova. That makes the under 22 an intriguing option but the nerves could also work against that play. Gun to my head, I’d play the under 22 but I’m staying away from the over/under.
In regards to the moneyline, I think all of the value lies with Vondrousova (+139) — the better natural clay-courter. I personally have this match as a complete toss-up.
But like I said previously, this will likely come down to nerves. And Barty has the experience edge and more reliable second serve. That is one of the reasons I won’t let my 40-1 future ride in the final.
A hedging decision in this situation will primarily boil down to your personal risk aversion level. Personally, I’m throwing 15 units on Barty to bring back approximately 10 if she wins (a profit of +9 after factoring in the Vondrousova future). And if Marketa can finish the job, I will profit close to 25 units.