Henin, Jankovic, and Serena are the Ones to Watch in France

Al Dannity | Updated Oct 27, 2017

Al’s top three for the French Open are all on the same side of the draw, opening up the door for some unlikely contenders. Easy never looked so hard Four-time champion Justine Henin is rightly the favorite for Roland Garros at +150 and she enters this tournament with a much more favorable draw than the one she faced at the Australian Open earlier this year. As she was unseeded in Melbourne she was forced to face #5 seed Elena Dementieva, World number 16 Yanina Wickmayer, #19 seed Nadia Petrova, and #28 seed Alisa Kleybanova en route to a final defeat to Serena Williams.

Roland Garros should be a cakewalk by comparison. The erratic Maria Sharapova is the only opponent of note standing between Henin and the last 16, where Sam Stosur would be the biggest potential threat. After that is where it gets tricky, a near-certain quarter final with Serena Williams would await followed Jelena Jankovic, my top tip for an upset, in the semi finals. If she gets through that duo it would be a massive upset for her to lose the final.

The reasons it’s tough While I expect Henin to win, it’s no secret she has a tough road to the final. Having the top seed Serena Williams, who is superb value at +550, and a resurgent Jelena Jankovic, at +500, tends to do that.

Serena’s Grand Slam record is phenomenal yet predicting how she will perform is always a nightmare. The disparity between her Grand Slam form and how she plays in regular tournaments makes it hard to read when she’s in a slump and when she’s going to destroy everything around her. In Roland Garros she tends to do okay with only one title all the way back in 2002, as opposed to other Grand Slams where Serena tends to do amazing. I like her to meet but not defeat Henin in the quarter finals.

Up until 2010 Jankovic had a tendency to build up hopes and then disappoint just when she looked ready for a breakthrough. This year she has finally come good by winning in Indian Wells, her biggest career victory to date, and then beating both Venus and Serena Williams en route to a final appearance in Rome. She’s the form player of the moment and I think she’ll make the semi-finals. If she can make the final, a tough ask, I think she’ll close the deal and take her first Grand Slam title.

The other side of the draw Elena Dementieva has finally avoided getting a nightmare draw in a Grand Slam and I expect her to make the most of it by making it to the final. Venus Williams may be the #2 seed but I really don’t like her chances of making it through a draw which features Dementieva, Nadia Petrova, and Caroline Wozniacki. Petrova, at +5000, is worth looking at if you want to back an underdog for the win.