3 to take on undercooked Williams with at the French Open

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Such has been her dominance over the women’s game in recent times, pundits wondered whether Serena Williams could achieve a clean-sweep of this year’s Grand Slam tournaments after she claimed the 19th of her career at the Australian Open earlier in the season.

But as she prepares to challenge for her third French Open crown, the American has showed a chink of weakness as the clay-court season gets into full swing.

After struggling to overcome Sara Errani in the Fed Cup, the 33-year-old said: “I’m totally not as ready for the clay-court season as I thought I was. Now I’m in the mind set of, ‘You know what, I’m not on hard court.’ I’m playing like I’m on hard court and I’m not.”

With doubts creeping into her own mind about her readiness, now is the time to oppose Williams with these three French Open hopefuls:

Maria Sharapova @ 4/1

Although it was the last Grand Slam the Russian needed to complete her collection of major tournament wins, the French Open has actually been Sharapova’s best tournament of the four in her career.

The 28-year-old has reached all of the last three finals at Roland Garros and has been successful in two of those.

Garbine Muguruza @ 20/1

The Spanish youth sent a shock around the tennis world with her second-round defeat of Williams in last year’s French Open, before succumbing to eventual winner Sharapova in three sets in the quarter final.

This year’s appearance in Paris will only be the third of her burgeoning career, but she has already shown she has the game to make a deep run in the tournament.

Andrea Petkovic @ 50/1

Considering the German has a whopping win percentage of 73 at the tournament, far outstripping the 56 best effort she’s recorded in any of the other three Slams, she finds herself inexplicably down the betting.

A semi-final trip last season bodes well for another strong showing this time around, as does form that has seen her reach two semi-finals and claim one trophy in her last six outings.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.