The final of the 2016 French Open Women’s Singles is all set for Saturday afternoon in Paris between Serena Williams and Garbiñe Muguruza.
Friday’s wagers proved on the money when in the men’s singles semi final Novak Djokovic eased past Dominic Thiem, covering -1.5 sets and in much fewer than the 33.5 total games mark.
But it’s the ladies who take centre stage on Saturday on Philippe Chatrier Court and it’s repeat of last year’s Wimbledon final and a fifth career clash between the pair.
Serena Williams vs Garbiñe Muguruza
So, it’s a fourth French Open final for Williams (she’s yet to lose one) and a first for Muguruza and what is immediately clear about the match odds for this one is how much bigger in price Serena is than previously against this opponent.
In last year’s Wimbledon final Williams was a 1.17 chance, while her other starting prices against Muguruza were 1.23 in the 2015 Australian Open, 1.03 in the 2014 French Open and the same price in the 2013 Australian Open.
They’ve only met in majors and today Williams is a 1.55 shot, so something has changed and a lot of it is down to two factors: Williams’ reported adductor injury and her dismal showings in her last two matches here this fortnight.
Really, the American should have been seen off in two by Yulia Putintseva, while Kiki Bertens bottled the first set against her, finally losing it 9-7 in the tie break and any repeat of that sort of level will surely see Muguruza crowned champion on Saturday afternoon.
As usual, Williams is a bit of a riddle, with a great performance against Elina Svitolina followed up by the peculiar displays in the quarter and semi final matches and it would appear that she’s struggling either physically or mentally – or both.
The American was typically evasive when asked about an adductor injury, which was revealed by Marion Bartoli in her TV commentary, and Williams’ response was: “Yeah, I have had some issues, but you know, it is what it is.”
Fascinating as ever, but she didn’t deny it, and it would go a long way to explaining the Putintseva and Bertens matches, but there again we’ve seen these sorts of emotional, almost desperate displays from her many times.
Perhaps the feat of tying Steffi Graf’s record of major is weighing on her mind, but whatever the reason she’ll need to be much better against the Spaniard, who, since a round one struggle has impressed.
Muguruza was excellent in defence and tactically against Sam Stosur on Friday playing on the Aussie’s suspect backhand and despite a late wobble she was always in control of that match from the very start.
Indeed, she hasn’t dropped a set since round one and there’s every chance that she will walk away with her first Grand Slam title on Saturday if she can control her nerves.
Having been in that Wimbledon final will surely help in that regard and I like the 4.35 about a 2-0 Muguruza win here, which would be on trend with the majority of French Open finals in recent times.
Since Williams won her first RG title in 2002 12 of the 14 finals in Paris have been won in two sets, with only the two most recent bucking that trend, and on that basis the under 2.5 sets at 1.60 looks reasonable.
We haven’t had an underdog winner of the women’s French Open final since Francesca Schiavone in 2010 and I wouldn’t be comfortable backing a soon-to-be 35 year old who may well be injured as favourite.
Muguruza has won nine of her last 13 against top-10 opposition in the last 52 weeks and of course she crushed Williams here two years ago, so I’m going to side with the Spaniard today.
Long shot: Back Muguruza to beat Williams 2-0 at 4.35