Serena Williams is more often than not the choice for people who bet on tennis – not like that shiftless Venus. However, the American will have to face a top-heavy draw on her potentially record-setting French Open campaign. Williams is the Queen of the Mountain in a loaded top half that also includes Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber, as well as Timea Bacsinszky, Ana Ivanovic, Carla Suarez Navarro, Dominika Cibulkova, Madison Keys, Andrea Petkovic, the unseeded Eugenie Bouchard and French hope Kristina Mladenovic. Tennis betting experts may think such grouping is the death knell for a Serena who hasn’t been the same since missing out on the Grand Slam with her semi-final defeat at the US Open, but she should be highly motivated nonetheless.
For starters, Williams is the reigning champion, and that’s gotta count for something. Furthermore, she has never won Roland Garros back-to-back – as a matter of fact, no female player has accomplished that in almost a decade (Justine Henin was the last one to do so, actually winning three consecutive times). Then there’s that little thing about tying Steffi Graf's Open Era record of 22 Grand Slam championships. She came up short in the semi-final at last season's US Open and in the final at this year's Australian Open, but fans who bet on tennis know what they say the third time being the charm. Serena might be only seven wins away of standing next to Graf; ebony and ivory, together in perfect harmony.
In addition to all of the above, Williams is fresh off winning the Rome Masters, and heading into a tournament right after having won another is always good for your tennis betting odds. In good theory, Williams path to on her 15th French Open would pass through Rybarikova, Kristyna Pliskova, French No. 1 Kristina Mladenovic, Ana Ivanovic, Azarenka, Kerber and Agnieszka Radwanska, in that order. Of course, that is according to ranking, but any number of funny things could happen on the way to the final.
Rybarikova should present no discernible problem, though people who bet on tennis know Williams has an unfortunate tendency to either go all the way or lose early to obscure opponents. Victoria Azarenka, her potential quarter final match up, has been struggling with back problems. And predicted Angelique Kerber semifinal opposition would have to bear the pressure of carrying the mantle of a Slam winner for the first time here. In any case, Williams is known for overcoming the odds; at last year’s French Open she played five three-setters with a cold virus, like Michael Jordan in the legendary flu game, she powered through to win her third Coupe Suzanne-Lenglen.