(1) Serena Williams (-350) vs. (13) Lucie Safarova (+250, 2.5 o/u sets)
Serena Williams, the top seed in the women’s draw at the 2015 French Open, hasn’t had an easy time advancing to the finals of Roland Garros. The two-time champ (2002, 2013) has been battling the flu over the past week, and needed three sets to down each of her last two opponents. Tomorrow, Williams will try to muster enough energy for one more match as she faces Russian Lucie Safarova in the final (3:00 AM Eastern).
In the semis against No. 23 Timea Bacsinszky, Williams was visibly ill on the court and dropped the first set before somehow finding the strength to roar back for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 win.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been this sick,” Williams told ESPN. “I didn’t expect to win that, I really didn’t. I got the flu after my third-round match and I’ve been really struggling ever since then. Hopefully this is the worst and I’ll get better from here.”
In reality, Williams was somewhat lucky that Bacsinszky’s play tailed off in the final two sets. The Swiss national his 16 winners in the first set, but then just ten in the next two sets combined.
Tomorrow, Williams will be facing a determined Lucie Safarova, a 5’10 Czech native who has yet to lose a set in the tournament. The 28-year-old has never reached the final of a Grand Slam before, but does have a Wimbledon doubles title to her name.
Safarova set up her clash with Williams by beating No. 7 Ana Ivanovic (7-5, 7-5) in the semis. She also downed No. 2 Maria Sharapova in the fourth round (7-6, 6-4) and is unquestionably playing the best tennis of her career.
“It is a dream come true. I cannot believe it,” said Safarova in a post-game interview after advancing to the finals. “I started slowly but tried to keep up the level and play really aggressively because that was the only way to win.”
Williams and Safarova have met eight times (twice on clay) and the head-to-head could not be more lopsided with Serena winning all eight. Though Williams hasn’t looked her best, she’s been good enough and that trend is tough to go against.
Pick: Serena Williams (-350).
(Photo credit: Carine06 (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode]. Photo may appear cropped.)