WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up French Open tips for Aussie hope Astra Sharma’s first-up assignment against young gun Varvara Gracheva.
23:00 (AEST), Mon 23rd May @ Stade de Roland Garros, Paris
History: First meeting
Final Thoughts: The only Aussie woman in singles action on day one, Astra Sharma is searching for her third straight French Open first-round win.
The 144th-ranked Sharma won her first and only WTA Tour-level title on clay at last year’s Charleston Open. Notable results in 2022 have been hard to come by, but the 26-year-old arrives in Paris with a bit of momentum behind her.
Sharma reached the quarter-finals of an ITF tournament and the Morocco Open in the past 10 days, getting some solid court time and confidence under her belt.
In world No.71, Varvara Gracheva represents a decent draw for Sharma but nevertheless a difficult test. The Russian upset Camila Giorgi at Roland Garros last year to make the third round and also reached the Round of 32 at the 2020-21 US Opens.
Boasting a slew of ITF titles on clay, the 21-year-old has notched some impressive wins over higher-ranked players during the European spring. She beat Marie Bouzkova at the Istanbul Open and rolled world No.40 Alize Cornet and pushed world No.6 Ons Jabeur to three sets in Madrid.
Gracheva’s strong baseline game and eye-catching form sees her installed as the $1.45 favourite. It will take Sharma’s best to get the result here but I can certainly see this going to a deciding set.
FRENCH OPEN TIPS
|Ons Jabeur V Magda Linette||Games Handicap – Jabeur -6.5 @ $2.20|
|Sloane Stephens V Jule Niemeier||Result – Stephens @ $2.78|
|Kaia Kanepi V Garbine Muguruza||Result – Kanepi @ $2.10|