>> Monday, May 28, 2012
Who are the bookmaker's favorites to lift the Roland-Garros 2012 French Open trophies this year? As the second Grand Slam of the year started today, the betting game is on as well. Six-time French Open champion and world no. 2 Rafael Nadal is the heavy favorite to win the men's singles title while 13-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams is the top pick to win the women's singles title. Nadal is aiming to be the first male player to win seven Roland-Garros titles while Serena is going for a second French Open crown to add to her 2002 victory. Listed below are the other men and women's tennis hopefuls according to a variety of online bookmakers.
Roland Garros 2012 Nadal's Main Challengers - Djokovic, Federer: World no. 1 Novak Djokovic is Nadal's primary challenger for the title. The winner of the past three major titles at Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open, Djokovic is going for an achievement that hasn't been done since 1969. He is aiming to be the first male tennis player to hold all four grand slam titles at the same time in more than 40 years. Djokovic is in the other side of the draw from Nadal but he is in the same half as Nadal's second main challenger - Roger Federer.
Federer has beaten Djokovic in last year's French Open semifinals and has looked very solid in the past eight months which included winning an ATP league leading four tournaments this season. While he won the Madrid clay event three weeks ago, Federer accomplished that without facing either Nadal and Djokovic. However, his first meeting on clay this year with Djokovic ended with the Serb scoring a straight set victory.
French Open 2012: Men's Darkhorses: Bookmakers have listed Andy Murray, David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, and Juan Martin del Potro as darkhorses for the men's singles titles this year. The weakest player in this batch is undoubtedly world no. 4 Murray. While the top-ranked UK player reached the men's semi-finals last year, his performance this year has been suspect on clay and he failed to advance to a single semi-final in three clay court events. The others - Ferrer, Berdych and Del Potro all had a strong clay court season this year and though one of them maybe able to bring down one of the Big Three, it is highly unlikely that they'll be able to win matches in a row against the three top favorites to win the French.
French Open 2012 Serena's Main Challengers - Azarenka, Sharapova: As with the men's, the top-ranked Victoria Azarenka is only the second favorite to lift the title behind Serena, according to bookmakers. Azarenka is on the top half of the draw and will not face a strong French Open favorite until possibly the finals. On the other side of the draw where Serena was placed, world no. 2 Maria Sharapova is handed the toughest quarterfinal assignment as she could meet Serena in the final eight. This is a course of concern for Sharapova as she had been beaten soundly by Serena in their last two meetings. In fact, Sharapova hasn't beaten Serena since 2004.
Roland Garros 2012 - Women's Darkhorses: While Azarenka and Sharapova are the main challengers for Serena's quest for a second French Open title, a group of talented players are the bookmaker's favorites as tournament darkhorses. Included in this group of players are defending champion Li Na, current US Open champion Samantha Stosur, current Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, and Agnieszka Radwanska, the world no. 3 who holds the most match wins with 36 in the WTA this year. Like with the men's, it is possible that any of these players can outplay Serena, Sharapova and Azarenka in any given time. However, it would be difficult to imagine any of these players beat the top three favorites in two consecutive matches.