French Open Women's Day Four Six: Krejcikova should be favourite for Pironkova clash

Women's singles action at the French Open continues on Friday, with eight matches on the schedule as the third round begins. Dan Weston is back to give his thoughts...

Plenty of surprise results on day five

We went for a heavy underdog yesterday and weren't far from being rewarded with a winner as Ana Bogdan took the opening set from Sofia Kenin, and actually won the break point count 13-10 despite a rather one-sided decider. I still see little evidence that Australian Open winner Kenin is likely to challenge the better clay-courters in this tournament.

Also heading for the exit door is Karolina Pliskova - who was injury-affected coming into the tournament - as well as Clara Tauson, who suffered the classic post big win letdown for her clash with Danielle Collins, plus Sloane Stephens and very disappointingly, our outright pick, Elena Rybakina, who lost in three to Fiona Ferro.

After a day of surprise results there's a really interesting card on day six, and there's quite a lot to discuss.

Market taking Bertens' injury doubts seriously

Following her dramatic and bad-tempered win over Sara Errani, Kiki Bertens faces Katerina Siniakova this afternoon. Bertens left the court in a wheelchair following that win amid reported accusations of overplaying her injury from her opponent. The market, however, is taking Bertens' version of events much more seriously, pricing her up at 3.20 against Siniakova - usually she'd be a strong favourite assuming a decent level of fitness.

Swiatek can continue progress with win over Bouchard

I've been pushing Iga Swiatek as a player of high potential in this column for over a year and the Polish talent is now a strong favourite for her third round match against Eugenie Bouchard, although quite surprisingly, drifting. I make her shorter than the current 1.60 market price, and think Swiatek can progress to a potential fourth-round clash with Simona Halep - then we will really see where her current game is at.

Krecjikova should be favourite against Pironkova

However, for today's pick I want to focus on Barbora Krejcikova for her match with Tsvetana Pironkova. Regular readers may remember that I liked Krejcikova for her round two win over Barbora Strycova, with a slight concern around a pre-tournament injury, but she came through a three-setter against her countrywoman on Wednesday.

Today, Krejcikova faces Tsvetana Pironkova, who had the luxury of a rest day after the withdrawal of her round two opponent, Serena Williams. I can't help thinking that the market is overvaluing Pironkova here for several reasons - firstly, her surprise run to the US Open quarter-finals after not having played since the summer of 2017 - but also because Pironkova has never really had an impressive record on clay even before 2017.

Despite this, Krejcikova is a very marginal 2.06 underdog, and quite bizarrely, around four times the price of Pironkova in the outright market. I am struggling to see this logic, with Krejcikova's clay numbers highly impressive at ITF level and I simply see her as the better clay-courter. It's Krejcikova as our recommendation today.

Halep could be tested by Anisimova

In other matches, I quite like Anna Schmiedlova as 1.96 favourite against qualifier Nadia Podoroska - Schmiedlova looks the better clay-courter and had a superb win over Victoria Azarenka in round two - while Caroline Garcia might also have a decent underdog chance at [3.70] for her match against Elise Mertens. Tournament favourite, Simona Halep, is also in action, and Amanda Anisimova could be a real test. The 19-year-old American, Anisimova, is on a real upward curve and has progressed to this stage having lost just four games in her two matches so far.



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