Last week’s Italian Open final between Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina may well have foreshadowed the latter stages of the second grand slam of the season.

Halep – who lost that match – is the favourite at to win her first major, after missing out to Jelena Ostapenko in last year’s final in Paris and falling agonisingly short against Caroline Wozniacki in Australia earlier this season.

Halep has reached the last eight of all three events on clay this year, so maintaining that consistency gives the 26-year-od every chance of lifting the title at Roland Garros.

Svitolina routed her way to the title in Rome last week, so evidently has a good chance if she can produce similar form.

She has never gone past a major quarter-final, though, while no Italian Open winner – other than Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova – has followed an victory there with the French Open since 1990.

Sharapova was in ferocious form herself in Rome last week, but has to be unfancied as 28th seed at .

And it could be a similar story for Serena Williams , who has played just four singles matches since her return in March, and is at the mercy of the draw as a non-seed. She is in the same quarter as Sharapova and Karolina Pliskova.

The 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko looks decent value at , having only been beaten by an in-form Sharapova in Rome, but has only progressed beyond the quarter-final in one event this season.

Garbine Muguruza is in a similar position. The 2016 champion won her second slam at Wimbledon last July – so certainly has the pedigree to come through at – but has only won two of her five clay-court matches this year.

Best of the rest

After a stellar clay-court season, Petra Kvitova stands out as excellent value at .

The Czech has won both clay-court tournaments she has entered this season, impressively digging deep to see off Kiki Bertens in the Madrid Open final a fortnight ago.

As eighth seed, this is a price worth catching before it goes.

The same can be said for Pliskova, available at , who won the Stuttgart Open on clay in April, before missing out to Kvitova in the semi-finals in Madrid.

Last year’s quarter-finalist Caroline Wozniacki enjoyed a stellar start to the season, winning her first grand slam in Australia, but has won just two matches in each of her clay-court tournaments so far.

Angelique Kerber , Victoria Azarenka , and Sloane Stephens are other slam winners available at big prices, in what is another incredibly open field.

Brit Jo Konta has shown signs of improvement on her unfavoured surface, but is still a clear outsider at .


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