The Romanian longshot for the French Open has been playing well above her ranking of late.
By: Shane Lambert
Irina-Camelia Begu entered the Premier Mandatory event in Rome as the World No. 35. However, she made big headlines on Wednesday when she took out Victoria Azarenka in the second round. The result may expose Azarenka as an injured player right now while simultaneously showing that Begu’s game is bigger than most thought.
Importantly the Azarenka win is not an isolated one. Begu did very well in Madrid, defeating Eugenie Bouchard, Garbine Muguruza, and Christina McHale on the way to the a three-set loss to eventual-champion Simona Halep. Begu also won some matches in Charleston and Miami earlier this year. In Rome, she’s into the quarters after following up her upset of Azarenka with a round of 16 win.
Begu, who is 25 years old, is still without a bright light in the majors. Her 4th round appearance at the 2015 Aussie is her best result in the Grand Slams.
However she’s looking like a seeded player for the 2016 French Open and very dangerous for whichever higher seed is close to her in the draw. Furthermore, the market is exceedingly difficult to get a read on when it comes to the top players. At 300 to 1 with Stan James, a conservative each-way sprinkle appears to be in order for the Roland Garros title as that line looks too big for how well Begu is currently playing.
There are other longshots that I think hold some intrigue as well. Bouchard herself enjoyed a nice win over a top player as she beat Angelique Kerber in Rome. The Canadian is long at 66/1 with Stan James as well. Furthermore, Svetlana Kuznetsova, though inconsistent, has some strong patches of tennis in 2016. At 80/1 with Betway, the former champion offers some value in the French Open market in my view.
With the inconsistencies that the top players have shown in recent weeks, I think at least a spot in the French Open final might be up for grabs. When it comes to Halep, Kerber, Azarenka, and Muguruza I would want much better odds that what’s currently available. Following Azarenka’s injury in Madrid and her loss in Rome, I’m starting to lean more Serena Williams at 5/2 (Stan James) but want to see her beat a quality player on clay in Rome first.
0.5-pt bets on Begu, Bouchard, and Kuznetsova at the odds mentioned above, all each way