First thoughts on the 2011 French Open

I’ll try to keep this post as short as possible.We’re in the fifth day of the French Open which means that all the first round matches have been played and we have had a chance to see all players and mark some first impressions on this year’s tournament and what that means trading wise.

One thing worth noting is the new balls. The old Dunlop balls have been replaced with a new type of Babolat balls. The general impression among the players is that the new balls are faster and heavier, which can be good for some players and not so good for others. In his press conference, Almagro said he didn’t like the new balls because they are heavier, and I feel that several other players – especially clay courters – share the same type of feelings towards the new balls. Certainly, the hot weather had an impact on the general perception that the balls are faster,  but again as in past years it’s the weather that plays a huge part in shaping the general court conditions at the French Open.

Among the things I’d like to note is Berdych’s early exit. It’s not so much the fact that he lost, but the manner is which he lost made it such a disappointing performance from him.He was two sets up and had the break in the 5th set but still managed to lose the match. It looks like to continues to be under-performing given all the weapons he has, but he’s still got time to improve and obtain better and more consistent results. Almagro, is another player worth mentioning since he lost in a similar fashion to Berdych but his loss was more obvious giving his opponents style and specific patterns of play.

On the men’s side, Djokovic has had to easy matches so far and waisting as little time as possible in these early rounds.  Nadal, on the other side had to play his first five-setter ever at Roland Garros against Isner. Since my French Open preview, Djokovic has gone down from 3.75-3.90 to 2.7-2.78 which is partly due to the fact that Djokovic managed to win the Rome Masters and that Rafa had a tough first round match. Looking at the draw, I believe that odds of 2.7-2.78 for Djokovic, have very little, if any, value in them and so far there is little opportunity to profit on the outright winner market.

On the women’s side it’s different. When I wrote my last post, Wozniacki was favorite and since then she drifted into 3rd place favorite which is due to the fact that the draw is a bit tough but mainly because people started realising that he doesn’t have any major weapons and a decent enough shot-maker will cause her problems any day. Azarenka is now favorite with odds ranging between 5.8-6.2. Again, I can’t agree with these odds. She does have some great shots, but overall her game is lacking in confidence and belief. I know she won in Miami and made the final in Madrid but a grand slam in a totally different thing. I said it before,I see Stosur as the favorite, but Sharapova and Kvitova have a good chance of going deep in the tournament as well. Clijsters has also decided to participate which makes things more interesting, and we’ll have to see how she plays during the first few rounds to see exactly where she’s at.

During the next days, as we get into the 3rd and 4th round, more interesting matches should take place and several opportunities will present themselves, so if you’re trading tennis keep your eyes open.

As a side note and not necessarily related to the French Open is the fact that I’m currently seeing G. Dimitrov’s odds being miscalculated at almost every match he plays. For some reason he always seems to be overestimate.I know he is a talented young player – comparisons to Federer come up quite often – but so far he hasn’t accomplished anything notable and until than, I see no reason to overestimate him. If he is going to make an impact on the tour, it will probably come on grass or hard courts.

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