Well fancied Sharapova can start French Open challenge in style

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Three-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova is looking for the one major title that has eluded her this week, and the Russian won’t have a better opportunity to complete the set.

With the Williams sisters absent from Roland Garros, Sharapova is the 6/1 third-favourite to win this week and the 24-year-old is looking to add the French Open title to her Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open titles.

Mirjana Lucic is up first for the Russian and Sharapova is the hugely popular favourite at 1/50 to win.

Except Sharapova has proven to be a slow starter at Roland Garros over the years, she’s dropped sets in six of her nine first round appearances, and the value looks to be backing the Russian at 6/1 to win 2-1.

Lucic is a 10/1 chance to beat Sharapova and after a decent performance in Strasbourg last week, can take advantage of any lapses in concentration from her opponent.

Victory for Lucic looks improbable but she will has the ability to take a set off her opponent.

Johanna Larsson vs Ana Ivanovic

Throughout the start of the 2011 tennis season there has been glimpses of Ana Ivanovic’s best form, but her actual form is so inconsistent that it may be worth siding with Larsson at 10/3 to beat Ivanovic.

Ivanovic may be 1/5 to win but the Serb has played in just two clay tournaments ahead of the French Open and has suffered first and second round losses in both of them.

The two met on the hard courts of Luxembourg last year in a match Ivanovic ran out the 2-0 victor, but we’re siding with Larsson to upset the French Open odds and win 2-1 at 13/2.

Elsewhere

Elena Baltacha is 13/8 to beat friend and Tuesday’s opponent Sloane Stephens and we fancy Sorana Cirstea to beat Patty Schnyder at 1/1.

A £10 accumulator on Sharapova, Larsson, Baltacha and Cirstea winning would return £240.90. New customers can sign up here to take advantage of a free bet worth up to £30.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.