A French Open women’s draw ransacked by upsets and the absence of defending champion Ashleigh Barty has set up a pair of unlikely semifinal matches.
On one side of the draw sits Petra Kvitova and Sofia Kenin, who have combined for three grand slam titles. Kenin’s came earlier this year at the Australian Open, while Kvitova is a two-time Wimbledon champion.
Kvitova’s most recent grand slam title came six years ago, and the 2019 Australian Open is the only other in which she has reached the final. She did reach the semis at Roland Garros once before, back in 2012.
Kenin, still only 21, is in her first French Open semifinal and has yet to reach so much as the quarterfinals at Wimbledon or the U.S. Open, where she was knocked out in the fourth round last month. She did defeat Serena Williams en route to the fourth round at Roland Garros last year.
The seventh-seeded Kvitova is the -200 favorite at BetMGM to beat Kenin (+160). The sportsbook is also offering +115 odds on Kvitova winning in straight sets and +310 on a three-set victory. Kenin is +300 to advance in straight sets and +450 to win in three.
Can a Player Without a Slam Smash Her Way to the Finals?
The other semifinal features a pair of unseeded players who have never tasted a grand slam quarterfinal, let alone a semi, before this week.
Poland’s Iga Swiatek began playing regularly on the WTA Tour in 2019 and had never advanced further than the fourth round in a grand slam until last year’s French Open. The 19-year-old did reach the fourth round of this year’s Australian Open and the third round of the U.S. Open.
Swiatek served notice of her pending arrival as a bigger threat with a dominating 6-1, 6-2 victory over 15th-seeded Marketa Vondrousova in the first round. She also cruised through the next two rounds before upsetting No. 1 seed and 2018 French Open champion Simona Halep 6-1, 6-2.
Swiatek has lost a total of 20 games in winning five consecutive matches in straight sets to reach Thursday’s semifinal against Nadia Podoroska.
Podoroska, 23, has no WTA titles and has reached the main draw of only two grand slams. However, the Argentinian became the first qualifier to reach the semifinals of the French Open when she upset third-seeded Elina Svitolina in the quarterfinals.
Courtesy of the bevvy of upsets, Podoroska has had to face only one other seeded player this far. That was No. 23 Yulia Putintseva in one of Podoroska’s two three-set wins this tournament. Podoroska is looking at the possibility of reaching a grand slam final as a qualifier who had to beat only one player seeded in the top 20.
That’s why Swiatek is a heavy favorite at -358 by BetMGM to win her semifinal clash against Podoroska (+270). She has even shorter odds at -400 by PointsBet, where Podoroska is +285.
BetMGM is also offering a -143 moneyline on Swiatek winning in straight sets. That’s by far the shortest odds among the book’s set betting prop bets, followed by a three-set Swiatek win (+325), a straight sets Podoroska win (+425) and a three-set victory by Podoroska (+700).
PointsBet has set the over-under on how many more games Swiatek will win than Podoroska at 5.5, and the total amount of games played in the match at 19.5. As such a heavy favorite in her semifinal, Swiatek also carries the shortest odds of winning the women’s title.
Despite lacking a grand slam title on her resume, Swiatek is +125 by BetMGM, followed by Kvitova +162 and Kenin (+350). Podoroska is the long shot at +900.
–Field Level Media