French Open Betting: Battling Barthel to test Kerber enthusiasm

Most of the ladies singles matches went to form on Sunday, with only Monica Puig’s defeat of Nadezda Petrova from a set down causing much of a surprise. But there was drama and great entertainment from Venus Williams and Urszula Radwanska, who went for three hours and 19 minutes before the Pole came out on top.

Monday’s schedule in Paris features Maria Sharapova, Na Li and Aga Radwanska. But perhaps the pick of the first round matches – certainly from a British perspective anyway – takes place at around 2pm when Laura Robson faces former world number one Caro Wozniacki.

This was a match was always likely to be the standout in the women’s singles first round and really it’s one that is on Robson’s racquet. If Laura plays to the sort of level that we know she can reach then she could easily be walking off court having dispensed with the Dane 6-3, 6-2. But it’s tough to know which Robson will turn up.

Wozniacki will try and draw the errors from both wings by using solid defence and making Robson hit one more ball. If Laura’s radar is off then the scoreline could easily be the reverse in Caro’s favour. Laura is 1.70 favourite today and that seems a touch short to me.

Sharapova should have an easy day against Su-Wei Hseih, who has a terrible record on clay, having yet to get past round two of any tour level clay court tournament. This has the look of a Maria beatdown about it and the minus 7.5 games is a distinct possibility.

There are several players on the schedule today with injury concerns. Julia Goerges and Angelique Kerber are among the names who may well struggle today because of fitness issues – Goerges with her wrist and Kerber with abdominal problems.

Kerber plays Mona Barthel, who has beaten her fellow German twice in their three meetings and claims to have recovered from the illness that saw her withdraw from Rome. Kerber, on the other hand, is not overly optimistic about her condition and Barthel +4.5 games at 1.70 seems worth investing in today. I wouldn’t even rule out the Barthel win at 2.75.

I also like the chances of Flavia Pennetta to defeat Kirsten Flipkens in the last match scheduled for Court 1 this afternoon. The pair haven’t played since Pennetta schooled the Belgian here back in 2006, but the Italian is inching her way back to some good form now after a long-term injury. She is more comfortable on the dirt, while Flipkens has never been past round two here.

The Belgian may take a little while to forget her mega-choke last week in Brussels, where she managed to lose from 5-1 up in the decider against Jamie Hampton. I like the -0.5 game handicap on Pennetta at 1.82 in this.

Best bets
Back Barthel +4.5 games to beat Kerber at 1.70
Back Pennetta -0.5 games to beat Flipkens at 1.82