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Monday, 22 October, 2018

Clay champion Muguruza value to march on Rome

Halep and Sharapova look on the short side for Foro Italico

Garbine Muguruza won the French Open last year
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Italian International 
Sky Sports 2 & BT Sport 1, 10am Monday

Garbine Muguruza already knows how much more important Grand Slam crowns are compared to other titles, but with the Spaniard having snagged a French Open triumph last year she may be up for adding the Italian International trophy to her roster.

Simona Halep, the favourite for Roland Garros this year, is market leader for Rome after retaining the Madrid title. But while the Romanian is clearly on the shortlist for the French Open this year, she looks short enough for a quick follow-up this week.

Although Maria Sharapova has played some blinding tennis at the Foro Italico down the years, she too looks too short having only recently returned from a ban.

With that pair opposable at the odds available, a chance can be given to Muguruza at decent odds – it's a slight surprise to see her in double figures.

On clay Johanna Konta has been nowhere near the force she is on fast terrain, while if Muguruza can beat second seed Karolina Pliskova on any surface it's clay at the moment.

Venus Williams is an interesting contender whose chance should not be ruled out easily. With sister Serena missing due to pregnancy, Venus has a definite chance to prosper, although clay remains her weakest surface.

Madrid runner-up Kristina Mladenovic will have learned much last week, but she could need a breather after Spain and may mount her next serious title challenge in Paris.

In the men's event Juan Martin del Potro can be considered at 4-5 to improve his 4-0 personal series with Grigor Dimitrov.

But the Argentinian had to return home during the Estoril Open after the death of his grand­father so it may pay to see how he fares on his return before backing him.

Recommendation
G Muguruza
1pt 16-1 Betfred

It’s a slight surprise to see Muguruza priced in double figures
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