Obviously things get harder now and I am going to oppose one of those three in the last 16. Carla Suarez Navarro has been going along pretty well but Yulia Putintseva is in the form of her life. Andrea Petkovic and Karin Knapp may both have played poorly but the Kazakh has dispatched them ruthlessly and she has to be a play here.
Venus Williams has never won the French and, while she is unlikely to this year at the age of 35, I think she is a decent price to beat Timea Bacsinszky. The Swiss is a clever player in good form but even she struggles against hard hitters on their game.
Kristina Mladenovic gave us a bit of a run for her money against Serena Williams. At 5-2 up in the second set tiebreak, I thought we had a sniff but Williams proved again she has guts to match her talent. Her next opponent, Elina Svitolina, has been receiving assistance from Justine Henin but I do not think she has the power to trouble the world number one. I am not getting involved at the prices but it is hard to see anything derailing the Serena Express now.
Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal has given us a great chance of landing our Dominic Thiem second quarter bet. Assuming the Austrian beats Marcel Granollers, which I would expect him to do, he will face either David Goffin or Ernests Gulbis. I believe Goffin is a future world number one but his game can desert him at times and he faces a fresh opponent who is very capable on his day. At the prices, the Latvian is a play.
I feel like I am going to spend most of this tournament trying to get Kei Nishikori beat. Given his two wins over Richard Gasquet on clay this season, both in straight sets, this might seem foolhardy but I think the Frenchman can cause an upset. He is definitely playing well at Roland Garros where it usually takes a very fine player to beat him. Also, Gasquet is fresh while Nishikori is coming off a five-setter and has suffered physical issues in Slams before. I think 2-1 is a big price.