The French Open hits its second of three weekends, nearing the halfway point of the whole tournament. A few players won’t be around in Paris… but they should be. Which players have the fewest excuses and carry the most bitter defeats with them into the upcoming grass-court season? These are the most prominent examples (odds are courtesy of BetDSI):
Pre-Tournament Odds: +1200
The defending French Open champion is regularly supposed to get through the first few rounds, and at the very least, she is supposed to handle the first round. The gap between the best and the middle-level players on tour is huge, and even though an underdog might come out firing in an attempt to score an upset, the talent differential between the favorite and the challenger is supposed to be large enough to give the elite player the victory. Ostapenko was supposed to use this to her advantage in round one against Kateryna Kozlova. Yet, she hit 13 double faults and repeatedly got pounded with her second serve, which was deficient throughout the match. Ostapenko’s chronic lack of a serve was too much to overcome. She broke Kozlova several times, but with an utter inability to back up her own serve, she lost ground more steadily than she gained ground. She was thoroughly outplayed and looked nothing like the woman who won seven matches a year ago in Paris. This was a shattering end to the belief that Ostapenko will stay in the top 10 on a continuous basis. She will now have to work her way back into the top levels of the sport.
Pre-Tournament Odds: +650
The fourth seed joined Ostapenko in failing to get out of the first week. She was one of the favorites to win Roland Garros, based largely on the fact that she won the Rome tournament for the second year in a row. The Madrid tournament does not replicate the conditions in Paris, but Rome comes a lot closer to mimicking the French Open’s environment. Svitolina was supposed to be very comfortable heading into France, but for some reason, she never got settled. In the third round, Mihaela Buzarnescu hit her off the court in the first set. Svitolina tried to battle back in the second but couldn’t win enough free points on serve and made crucial errors late in that set to suffer a shocking loss. Svitolina has to learn to handle moments better.
Pre-Tournament Odds: +6600
The fourth seed played a five-set match in the second round and showed nothing on his return of serve. He got away with the victory because his opponent, Jared Donaldson, cramped up at the end of the match. He got a second life and a berth in the third round, but then he was straight-setted by Fernando Verdasco. Dimitrov’s career lies in ruins. He can’t get off the ground this year, a huge disappointment after winning the ATP Finals last November in London.
Pre-Tournament Odds: +15000
The American has not yet won back-to-back tour singles matches this season. That is an incredible statistic, and really everything you need to know about a player who won the Bercy Masters last November and then reached the ATP Finals semifinal round. Sock was not expected to dominate the tour this season, but not being able to win two matches a row at any point over the first five months? That’s shockingly bad.
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