Sharapova’s improving clay form boosts her French Open chances
Nine women have currently completed the women’s tennis Grand Slam and it is 6/1 that Maria Sharapova takes the number into double digits with victory at the French Open.
It is no secret that Sharapova has typically preferred the faster surfaces, which is backed up by the fact that all of her six Grand Slam final appearances have all been on grass or hard courts.
However, there have been signs in the past year that she has learnt to adapt her game to clay a little better and would have taken confidence from reaching the French Open semi finals 12 months ago.
In fact, although Sharapova only played a short clay court season last year, she only lost two matches on the surface and won the Italian Open.
Sharapova is following a similar path towards Roland Garros this season and arguably has her best ever chance of achieving victory in all four Grand Slams.
Her victory in the final in Stuttgart over world number one Victoria Azarenka was a big step in the right direction and she has most recently triumphed in Rome for the second year in succession.
Sharapova defeated Na Li in the final to gain a measure of revenge for her loss to the same player in last year’s French Open, while her battling attitude cannot be questioned after coming back from a set and 4-0 down to lift the title.
The big improvements in Sharapova’s game seem to lie in a greater patience on court, where the slower nature of clay does not allow her to utilise her power game in the same way as she has typically done on the other surfaces.
Serena Williams is the 5/2 favourite in the French Open odds to win the tournament for a second time and the first for ten years.