Karolina Muchova is a big underdog going into the French Open final, but she has the ability to push Iga Swiatek close in Paris.
Who do Bettors Favor?
According to the best-rated online sportsbooks this will be a one-sided final at Roland Garros. The world number one is the big favorite with bettors and is priced at anything between -800 and -950, while Karolina Muchova is rated as the clear underdog and can be wagered at up to +575.
Swiatek on Brink of Another Slam
This season hasn’t been straightforward for the world number one, but Iga Swiatek is once again in a Grand Slam final, and one win away from strengthening her grip on the WTA Tour. Aryna Sabalenka has been closing in on Swiatek’s top ranking, but her surprise defeat to Muchova in Thursday’s semi-final means that there will be no change at the top of the pecking order this week.
For Swiatek, it will be her fourth Grand Slam final, and her third at Roland Garros. So far, she has won all three, but she has been particularly dominant on the red clay.
Speed is her key weapon and on clay that quick thinking and lethal stinging groundstrokes is combined with a capacity for easy movement that is beyond many top players. Whereas some players seem restricted by the surface, she appears to flit over it with ease. The upcoming grass-court swing will take her out of her comfort zone, but on clay, there is no doubt who rules.
Muchova Defying Expectations
Karolina Muchova was not expected to get this far in the tournament, but the 26-year-old has defied expectations and cannot be written off even against Swiatek.
Twice a Wimbledon quarter-finalist, Muchova also reached the semi-finals at the 2021 Australian Open, but this is her first Grand Slam final and although she is ranked outside the top forty, she has the game to be a threat against any opponent, on any surface.
Her all-around game and range of shots enable her to dominate and counter-punch as required, while there are no weak points in her serve or return. While she isn’t quite as fast over the clay as Swiatek, she moves well and has been compared to Justine Henin for her fluid style. This is undoubtedly her biggest challenge to date, but there is no doubt that she has the skills to be a French Open champion.
WTA French Open Road to the Final
Iga Swiatek’s journey to the final was typically smooth. She dropped only nine games through the first four rounds and was not inconvenienced by Coco Gauff in the quarter-finals, through the US teenager’s change of tactics and utilization of high, floating forehands gave Swiatek some tricky moments.
The semi-final against Beatriz Haddad Maia was more of a challenge. Although Swiatek took the opening set 6-2, the Brazilian dug deep in the second, leading 3-1, and taking it to a tie-break before the world number one eventually prevailed 7-6.
Three quarter-finals were all that Karolina Muchova had to show for her efforts in 2023 going into this tournament, but she seemed to raise her game from the first point at Roland Garros. Faced with a tough draw against Maria Sakkari in the first round, she came through in straight sets, and although she needed three sets to beat Nadia Podoroska in the second round, she was flawless in beating Irina Camelia Begu, Elina Avanesyan and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to reach the semi-final.
That was as far as she was expected to go as her last-four opponent Aryna Sabalenka had already reached four finals this season, including her first Grand Slam, in Australia. But in a gripping match, Muchova came through two tiebreaks and a tense final set, in which she was successfully able to put the sometimes fragile Sabalenka serve under pressure to win the match.
French Open Final Head-to-Head
The head-to-head record doesn’t always give a true picture of the relative abilities of the two players, although it is interesting to note the outcome of the only previous meeting between Swiatek and Muchova. That came back in 2019, on the Prague clay, and saw Muchova prevail in three sets to knock out her younger rival in the First Round.
That year, however, was Swiatek’s first on the WTA Tour, and Prague was only her seventh tournament. She went into the match at the age of 17, ranked 95th in the world, having played three qualifying rounds to get there, so we can probably discount the value of that historical record.
French Open Final Match Betting Pick
Can Muchova stop Swiatek? There are potential weak points that the Czech player can exploit. Swiatek is a habitual slow-starter, and if Muchova can steal an early break, she might be able to sneak the first set, as her excellent return game can keep her opponent’s serve under pressure throughout.
That is unlikely to be enough, however, to stop Swiatek, whose return game is superior and whose own serve is underrated, particularly on clay. There is little value in betting on Swiatek in the Match Betting market, however, so a better option is to pick Muchova with a 6.5-game start to keep things competitive.