French Open: Meet the 40/1 shot with season’s best clay record

Look down the outright market for the upcoming women’s French Open and all the familiar, household names are right there at the skinny end.

Serena Williams is the favourite, as is standard, at 11/4. Maria Sharapova, winner on the dirt in Rome last week and victor in two of the last three Grand Slam titles in Paris, follows right behind the American at odds of 9/2.

Young upstart Simona Halep comes in next at 5/1, with regular Grand Slam latter-stage maker Victoria Azarenka rounding off the top five in the betting with Petra Kvitova at 10/1 each.

However, after studying the form of the French Open’s preceding clay-court season, it becomes clear that an unfancied outsider stands a far better chance of making an impact at Roland Garros than her odds indicate.

German world number 11 Angelique Kerber has the best record of any player on the WTA Tour heading to France, having won 14 of her 16 matches on the surface this season.

Despite that solid form, Ladbrokes rate her as a 40/1 chance to claim the title in Paris, behind two rivals that she has beaten on the surface this season.

Kerber has claimed two tournament titles since the tour took to the dirt in April, winning the Family Circle Cup in the middle of that month, then the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart a few weeks later.

If the 27-year-old was impressive in seeing off the likes of Madison Keys and Andrea Petkovic to claim the first trophy, then her accomplishments to win the second were jaw-dropping.

She came from a set down to topple Sharapova in the second round in Stuttgart, before doing the same thing to beat 25/1 French Open chance Caroline Wozniacki in the final.

Currently into the quarter finals of the Tour’s final warm-up tournament before the French Open begins, in Nurnberg, another title could see her odds for Roland Garros success tumble dramatically, so jump on now.

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.