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Tennis tips: Best bets for the French Open women's singles

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The favourites

Simona Halep is the clear favourite on the women’s side of the draw, but she is not the player you should back to win.

The Romanian is the defending champion, but she is yet to win a title this season and lost in the second round of last week’s Italian Open.

By contrast, Kiki Bertens’ preparation for this event has been perfect.

The 27-year-old won the Madrid Open without dropping a set at the beginning of this month, beating Halep 6-4 6-4 in the final, and reached the semi-finals in Rome last week.

She put in her best Grand Slam performance at Roland Garros in 2016, reaching the final four, and can take the next step this year.

Third-favourite Serena Williams has pulled out in the early stages of all three of her events since the Australian Open in January. She is without a major title in over two years, so isn’t worth considering.

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The outsiders

It’s hard to make a compelling case for any player other than Halep and Bertens.

Naomi Osaka has won the last two slams, but she is struggling with injury and form on the clay in the build-up to Roland Garros.

The same can be said for Petra Kvitova . She won the Stuttgart Open in April, but has gone out in the quarter-finals and third round of her two events since.

Karolina Pliskova , however, could be worth keeping an eye on.

The 27-year-old romped to the Italian Open title last week, losing just two sets and beating Jo Konta 6-3 6-4 in the final.

Having at least made the last eight in six of her last nine slams, including the semi-final here two years ago, she could be ready to take the next step.

That run to the final was encouraging for Konta, but her lack of form previously means she is still a shot.

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