French Open Women's Day Nine Tips: Difficult to disagree with markets today

We are back at Roland Garros on Monday with four women's singles matches in the fourth round, and after picking up a winner on Sunday, Dan Weston looks at the value today...

Swiatek - can anyone even challenge her?

For the entirety of the French Open, the constant question surrounding the women's singles event is whether anyone can even challenge Iga Swiatek, let alone beat her. The draw has opened up for the Pole as well, and today, rather unexpectedly, she faces Qinwen Zhang this afternoon.

Zhang has done incredibly well to get to this stage, particularly after a disrupted lead-up to this tournament, and has already knocked out Simona Halep among others, but Swiatek will be a whole new level in terms of challenges.

Swiatek has now won her last nine matches in straight sets, and is currently 31 unbeaten in a run which goes back to mid-February - an incredible achievement. This should illustrate the difficulty which Zhang faces today and also why the market has given Swiatek a virtual bye at 1.07.

Midrange favourites - Pegula and Kasatkina

Both Jessica Pegula and Daria Kasatkina are similarly priced as favourites at around the 1.50 mark today, with Pegula facing Irina Begu in her match. The American, Pegula, has impressed in the warm-up events for this, reaching the final of the Madrid 1000 a month ago after the draw opened up for her and her higher ceiling should ensure she has too much for the Romanian veteran, Begu here.

As for Kasatkina, she faces Camila Giorgi in what is a match where I feel that both players have a high standard deviation in terms of their level. Both players are very capable of high levels but also struggling in matches and runs of matches, but it's tricky to knock Kasatkina this week with three easy wins and backing up a semi-final in Rome as well and it's tough to dispute that she should be favourite over Giorgi.

The Italian has done superbly to make this stage, eliminating Aryna Sabalenka on Saturday, but she came into the match with a leg injury but with opponent Kasatkina's return points won percentage through the roof on clay this season, I think the market has the pricing pretty accurate.

Slight favourite - Keys over Kudermetova

This leaves us with one more match to discuss, and it's the match which the markets think will be the most evenly-matched - Veronica Kudermetova versus Madison Keys.

Both players have needed to record underdog victories to make this stage, with Kudermetova eliminating the third seed Paula Badosa on Saturday by way of retirement, and Keys winning a final set tiebreak against Elena Rybakina on Saturday as well.

It's Keys who is the 1.78 favourite to make the quarter-finals and that looks about right as well. The duo have similar return points won data, but Keys is the better server and that should give her a marginal edge for this clash, although it will be tricky for the American.

One further point that I want to make as well - Keys has really underperformed on break points on both serve and return, running well below expectation for both based on service/return points won, and these stats have a tendency to mean-revert in time. If that does happen for Keys, she could well be a dangerous player in the top half of the draw moving forward in this tournament.

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