2010 French Open Women's Singles - Justine Henin Examined

ghfgh fghfghfg in Tennis News 18 May 2010
Roland Garros. (credit:Wikipedia.com)

Shane Lambert offers his explanation as to why he is not betting Henin to win the French and suggests alternatives for the women's draw. 

The 2010 French Open starts on May 23rd and it takes place from the Roland Garros tennis center in Paris, France.  Justine Henin is considered the favorite to win the 2010 French Open for women's singles but those betting the clay court Slam's futures market should probably regard Henin as a bad bet, at least in terms of value.

Firstly, let's examine the losses that Henin has suffered since rejoining the tour early in 2010 (all rankings provided are at the time of the match):

Brisbane final: lost to Kim Clijsters
Australian Open final: lost to Serena Williams (ranked 1st)
Indian Wells 2nd round: lost to Gisela Dulko (ranked 37th)
Miami semis: lost to Kim Clijsters
Fed Cup playoffs: lost to Kaia Kanepi (ranked 126th)
Madrid round of 64: lost to Aravane Rezai (ranked 24th)

Four of the above losses were excuseable in the sense that they came to tough players including the loss to Aravane Rezai in Madrid who went on to win the tournament and is now among the favorites to win the French.  However if you are going to bet a player to win a Grand Slam at Justine Henin's current odds, which are +200 (2/1) with Bodog, then you would expect that player to be WINNING against the tough players, not losing close matches as she has been.  The standards have to be very high in order to bet a player at short odds to win a 128 player tournament and Henin's form just doesn't cut it.  The fact that she has 6 losses on tour this year suggests that something might be missing with Henin and her status as a Grand Slam favorite is therefore questionable.

Henin did win Stuttgart and there was a very good quality clay court match-win over Jelena Jankovic enroute to the title but Henin has not won enough titles since returning to tour to justify betting her at +200 (2/1).

It is safe to say that Henin is considered the favorite because of our memories of her.  The last time we saw her at the French she was lifting up the championship trophy and her status as favorite has something to do with that, even though it was 3 years ago. 

Henin won the French Open's singles title from 2003 to 2007 inclusive with the exception of 2004 when she shockingly suffered a 2nd round loss to Tathiana Garbin of Italy.  Let's look at Henin's historical results from just prior to the 2007 tournament and contrast those results with her more recent ones.

In 2007 in the tournaments before the French Open, Henin had won 3 titles out of 6 tournaments that she challenged (she missed the Aussie that year).  Here are the only losses Henin suffered from the start of 2007 to the beginning of the 2007 French Open:

Paris semifinals: lost to Lucie Safarova (ranked 32nd)
Miami finals: lost to Serena Williams (ranked 18th)
Berlin semis: lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova (ranked 4th)

While the loss to Safarova might be deemed a bad loss it is the only bad loss in the 2007 season prior to the start of the French Open.  Although Williams was ranked 18th at the time of the loss, her ranking was pure fluff as it reflected her committment to the tour at the time and not her abilities.

In early 2007 Henin took down 3 titles before winning the French Open: Warsaw, Doha, and Dubai.  Her form in 2007 leading into the French was much better than her current form is now and that should force you to conclude something simple and yet relevant: Henin is NOT the same player she was 3 years ago.  For that reason you should be looking for odds on Henin of +450 (9/2) and longer to win the French Open and you won't get those unless she stinks in the opening rounds but manages to amble to victory.

The nice thing about having Henin as the favorite is that her presence in the market does lead to longer odds on the other players.  Jankovic is still available at +650 (13/2; Boylesports), Aravane Rezai is still available at +2000 (20/1; Boylesports), Victoria Azarenka is still available at +2500 (25/1; Ladbrokes), and Agnieszka Radwanska is still available at +10000 (100/1; Boylesports).  These four players are not necessarily on better form than Henin, but they are providing better value as their odds can judged to be long with the exception of Jankovic who is more or less priced correctly.

Taking three of those four players, weighted in accordance with their odds, is our recommended play for the 2010 French Open.

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2010 French Open Women's Singles - Justine Henin Examined

Shane Lambert offers his explanation as to why he is not betting Henin to win the French and suggests alternatives for the women's draw. 

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