Serena -300 Favorite Over Safarova In French Open Final
It’s breakfast in Paris on Saturday morning USA time as American Serena Williams looks to win her third career French Open title on the red clay of Roland Garros and she’s a -300 favorite at Bovada over Lucie Safarova, who is +240. The over/under sets is 2/5, with the under a -210 favorite.
How They Got Here
It is an unexpected matchup for Williams, the undisputed No. 1 player, as she takes aim at her 20th Grand Slam singles title. But Safarova, a Czech veteran who will be playing in her first major final at the advanced tennis age of 28, certainly has earned her spot.
Seeded No. 13, Safarova has made her own luck at Roland Garros, sweeping through a rough draw without the loss of a set. On Thursday, she defeated seventh-seeded Ana Ivanovic, 7-5, 7-5, keeping her composure and securing the victory after double-faulting on her first match point and failing to hold her serve.
Serena fought through the flu in her semifinal against Timea Bacsinszky, a Swiss player seeded 23rd. She led by 6-4 and a break. Then, she lost 10 straight games. Williams looked ill for most of the match — walking slowly between points, coughing, pressing ice-filled towels against her head during changeovers, and struggling to catch her breath.
Safarova’s head-to-head record against Williams is a dismal 0-8 and prior to this year she had never made it past the last 16 at Roland Garros in 10 previous unremarkable Paris campaigns. To add weight to the challenge ahead of her, only twice in the history of the French Open has a player ranked outside the top 10 seeds won the title – once in 1933 and more recently in 2010 when Francesca Schiavone triumphed.
Not only is Serena a win away from becoming just the third player in tennis history, male or female, to win 20 majors (after Margaret Court’s 24 and Steffi Graf’s 22) but she’s also trying to become the first player to win three straight majors since herself back in 2002 and 2003 (when she won the Serena Slam) and the first player to win the Australian-French Open double since 2001 (Jennifer Capriati).
At 33 years and 254 days, Serena could miss the record for oldest woman to win a major in the Open Era by just nine days – Martina Navratilova won Wimbledon in 1990 at age 33 years and 263 days. But Serena’s already got the second-oldest locked in from the Australian Open (33 years and 127 days).
If Safarova wins, she’ll have the third-most majors played before winning one, Open Era – this is her 40th. Marion Bartoli won her 47th (2013 Wimbledon) and Jana Novotna her 45th (1998 Wimbledon). Only four other left-handers, which Safarova is, have reached a Grand Slam final in the Open Era – Ann Jones, Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles and the current No. 1 lefty in the world, soon-to-be-world No.2 Petra Kvitova.
Safarova has beaten world No. 2s on three occasions, but she’s 0-5 against world No. 1s – one loss to Dinara Safina, one loss to Caroline Wozniacki and three losses over the last few years against Serena.
Serena has a 61-10 career record against lefties in WTA-level main draw matches. Only one lefty has beaten her at a Grand Slam – Ekaterina Makarova in the fourth round of the 2012 Australian Open.
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