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Sharapova now joint-favourite for French Open after easy victory

| 25.05.2011

Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka have a new rival at the head of the French Open betting as the women’s draw continues to be difficult to draw.

Maria Sharapova has joined Wozniacki and Azarenka at 5/1 to win the French Open and the Russian has plenty of support.

A general 20/1 chance a fortnight ago, Sharapova won the Rome Masters and was cut into 7/1 before the French Open started.

A comfortable 6-3, 6-0 victory over Mirjana Lucic has seen Sharapova’s French Open odds cut even further and a comfortable victory over wildcard Caroline Garcia in the second round could see the Russian gain outright favouritism.

Sharapova is 1/50 to beat Garcia when they meet on Thursday and 1/10 to win in straight sets leaving a comfortable victory looking likely.

Garcia is a 17-year-old upcoming French star who made her tour debut in the Australian Open thanks to another wildcard entry.

The youngster will relish the battle with Sharapova and in front of a home crowd will put up a stern resistance, but this is a learning curve for Garcia and she looks unlikely to take anything out of the game.

Sharapova’s draw looks difficult on papaer with a potential quarter-final with Kim Clijsters before a semi-final with Victoria Azarenka.

This is Clijster’s first clay tournament of the season and Sharapova would be confident of beating her opponent who prefers the grass and hard courts to clay, but a semi-final battle with Azarenka could be the tie of the tournament.

These are the two in-form stars of the women’s game at the moment and an explosive semi-final can be expected should they meet, and the winner would most likely lift the trophy come the final a week Saturday.

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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.