The French Open begins in earnest on Monday after the quiet start on Sunday that brought a nice winner from my only bet of the day in Paris.
There are 28 matches scheduled for Monday in Paris, but the forecast rain may well put a stop to many of those and lead to a backlog that may be tough to overcome with bad weather likely all week.
Claire Feuerstein landed a nice odds-against gamble on Sunday when she was too good for Olga Govortsova and ran out a 6-1, 7-5 winner in front of her home crowd.
We should see Maria Sharapova, who’s first up on Court Philippe Chatrier at 10:00 UK time and Dominika Cibulkova who plays first on Court Suzanne Lenglen, but the rest is up for question with today’s forecast.
Taylor Townsend 2.28 vs Vania King 1.60
This match is scheduled for around 14:30 UK time on Monday, but by the time they get onto court conditions will be on the heavy and slow side and Townsend has the power to hit through the surface.
In any case I would fancy her as underdog to beat King, who is certainly quite limited on the singles court and has a 5-7 record at the French Open.
Townsend has earned her wildcard here by virtue of winning back-to-back titles in Charlottesville and Indian Harbour Beach on the clay and she will come into this match with a great deal of confidence.
King has lost three of her four matches and already has five first round exits under her belt in 2014 and she has a terrible record against left-handers, such as Townsend.
Vania has lost 10 of her last 11 against lefties stretching back to 2010 and she hasn’t won one since 2012 when she beat then 143 ranked Melinda Czink on a hard court.
Going further she’s won just one match lifetime against a leftie on clay and that was 268 ranked Violet Huck in three sets way back in 2008 here at the French Open.
The 2.28 on Townsend looks like a very decent offer under the circumstances.
Others I like the look of today include Elena Vesnina as underdog against Christina McHale, with the Russian looking to defy a really awful record here in Paris of one win in nine matches in this tournament.
I’m not sure that McHale, who choked her way out of Strasbourg last week has the kind of game that will bother Vesnina too much.
The winner of that Strasbourg title last week Monica Puig will be confident enough to take down Sam Stosur in their 12:00 UK time clash and looks a lively underdog today, while Sloane Stephens looks another vulnerable favourite.
The struggling American has lost both of her previous matches with Shuai Peng – both on clay – and Stephens has lost five of her eight matches on the clay in 2014 so far.
Last week she was number one seed in Strasbourg and was thrashed by Julia Goerges and Peng’s game clearly causes problems for Stephens on clay.
Townsend to beat King 2.28