down cross

Improving Carreno Busta has the tools to surprise Raonic

Venus has desire to beat Bacsinszky

Pablo Carreno Busta
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Day eight
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Milos Raonic v Pablo Carreno Busta
Big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic is yet to transfer his peak Grand Slam form to the red courts of Paris and the fifth seed could struggle against the fast-improving Pablo Carreno Busta.

Raonic is explosive but he can often become too reliant on his lively first serve and he is not as effective on the slower surface.

The Canadian’s best finish at Roland Garros came three years ago when he reached the quarter-finals and last year’s fourth-round exit to clay specialist Albert Ramos Vinolas highlights his troubles when faced with performers who thrive on the terrain.

Carreno Busta ticks that box and the Spaniard is improving fast. The world number 21, who captured his third ATP World Tour title at last month’s Estoril Open, defeated the talented Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets in the previous round and will be keen to show the world he is a player on the up.

The Spaniard withstood 14 aces from Dimitrov on Friday and his ability to cope with a pacy serve should stand him in good stead for this battle.

Bookmakers prefer the chances of Raonic and his proven Grand Slam form - he reached last season’s Wimbledon final - makes him a worthy favourite but he’s yet to win a title on the red dirt and tends to toil against seasoned performers on the surface.

Raonic leads Carreno Busta 3-0 in their personal series but the pair have never met on clay and that should swing things in the Spaniard's favour.

P Carreno Busta
1pt 6-4 general

Jelena Ostapenko v Sam Stosur
Last season’s Roland Garros semi-finalist Sam Stosur was chalked up as a lively outsider for this year’s lesser field and the Australian should prove too streetwise for rising star Jelena Ostapenko. 

Stosur, a beaten finalist in 2010, was stopped in the last four by champion Garbine Muguruza 12 months ago and has the essential big-match experience to see off Latvian teenager Ostapenko.

The youngster is extremely talented and should blossom into a top-20 performer, but it may be too soon in her development for her to produce an upset of this magnitude.

Stosur prepared for the Paris showpiece in perfect style by clinching the WTA Strasbourg title, defeating compatriot Daria Gavrilova in the final, and the world number 22 has made light work of her opening three opponents.

The Australian won their only previous meeting, at last year's Rio Olympics, and she looks a fair price to double the dose on her favoured surface.

S Stosur
2pts 3-4 Betfair

Venus Williams v Timea Bacsinszky
With three-time Roland Garros heroine Serena Williams absent from the French capital, older sister Venus gets her chance to lead the family charge and the rejuvenated American can progress by beating Timea Bacsinszky.

The Swiss ace defeated Williams in straight sets at this stage last year but the American’s form has scaled greater heights since then and she looks far hungrier to rediscover some success.

The 36-year-old reached the final of January's Australian Open and gaining revenge on Bacsinszky would provide her with a French Open quarter-final place for the first time since 2006.

Williams showcased her title credentials in her three-set defeat to Garbine Muguruza in last month's Italian Open and she has done little wrong in dispatching Qiang Wang, Kurumi Nara and Elise Mertens in her opening three outings.

Bacsinszky rates a tougher assignment but the former semi-finalist can often lack the required desire and Williams may simply want it more.

V Williams
1pt 11-10 general

Raonic leads Carreno Busta 3-0 in their personal series but the pair have never met on clay and that should swing things in the Spaniard's favour
E.W. Terms
Sky bet