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French Open Day Five: Watson can test all-conquering Halep

| 29.05.2014

We’re already into Day 5 at the French Open and there has been no shortage of drama for the Parisian and betting crowds to get stuck into. We were in fine form yesterday with two of the three selections obliging so we’re returning with confidence with three more best bets – the treble paying out £206.25 to a £10 stake.

Heather Watson v Simona HalepWatson to win at least one set @ 2/1

Simona Halep has been one of the biggest success stories of the womens game in the last decade, however, the world number four shouldn’t have it all her own way against British number one Heather Watson.

Since having breast reduction surgery in 2010 the Romanian has moved 450 places higher in the rankings and has collected seven WTA titles.

However, Watson is also enjoying something of a revival after responding from more traditional physical concerns with her back and it would be a surprise if the 22-year-old was blown away.

The Guernsey player has been in fine form on the surface in the past fortnight, winning the Prague ITF withough the loss of a set before coming through qualifying and higher ranked first round opponent Barbara Zahlavova Strycova at Rolland Garros.

In their only meeting last year at the US Open, Halep won, but only when a deciding set was required and a similar story could be in store here.

Richard Gasquet to beat Carlos Berlocq 3-0 @ 11/4

Richard Gasquet meets Carlos Berlocq for the first time in their careers and at a time where the Argentinean is playing at his very best.

The world number 457 picked up only the second title of his career at Oeiras at the beginning of the month and comes into the French Open with more confidence than ever.

However, despite the momentum behind the 31-year-old his opponent regularly operates at a different level and it’s surprising to see the layers give so much respect to Berlocq.

This maybe more of a reflection of how the bookmakers assess the notoriously unreliable Frenchman but the reality is that Gasquet usually saves his toe-curling bottle jobs for the later stages of events when the pressure is more intense.

Gasquet has never made it past the fourth round despite all the home support, however, that record looks impressive compared to Berlocq who has never surivived more than one match.

Expect Gasquet to make a mockery of his odds and progress in a similar style to what we saw when he dismissed Bernard Tomic in the first round.

Sloane Stephens to beat Polona Hercog @ 5/6

Sloane Stephens has been in wretched form on clay so far this season, however, there were signs in her opening round victory over the experienced Shuai Peng that the American star is ready for business again now that she’s competing in a Grand Slam.

It’s understandable why Stephens – who would be much shorter in this match-up on a different surface – have decided not to split the 21-year-old with Polona Hercog but her superior ability should be enough to make the third round.

If Hercog was in great form herself on the dirt then it may be a different matter but the world number 62 is also struggling for any consistency and with Stephens already becoming renowned for saving her best for the biggest stage this could be another supportive footnote at what in hindsight could be an extremely generous price.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Sam Foster