Reigning French Open champion set for Pavlyuchenkova showdown

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Francesca Schiavone may be the reigning French Open champion but she still has plenty to prove to punters.

Despite a wide open draw in which the world number one and two have already been dumped out, last year’s triumph seems to count for very little for Schiavone who is the joint-third favourite at 5/1 to win this year.

There’s no doubt Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova are the form players in this year’s French Open and this is reflected in their prices, 9/4 and 11/4 respectively.

Neither of these players have even made a French Open final and Schiavone’s experience must be a huge plus when it comes to finding the winner of the 2011 French Open.

Schiavone takes on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova today and there’s no doubt the world number five is in for a battle.

Pavlyuchenkova has been solid on clay without being spectacular but knocked out world number three Vera Zvonareva in the fourth round and has to be respected.

The Russian is the 5/4 outsider to win today with Schivone 4/7 to progress, but with very little separating the two based on recent results, three sets looks a certainty.

Schiavone is 3/1 to win the match 2-1 while Pavlyuchenkova 10/3 to win 2-1, but the 11/8 for exactly three sets in the match looks the pick.

Waiting for either Schiavone or Pavlyuchenkova in the semi-final will be either Svetlana Kuznetsova or Marion Bartoli who face off later today on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Like Schiavone, Kuznetsova is a former French Open champion and the world number 14 looks to be the darkhorse in the French Open betting.

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