I was very impressed with Kuznetsova yesterday and not just because she did us a big favour, she mixed her game up well and is one of the very few players on tour that can trade blows with Serena Williams and not come up short in the power department. She also moves very well and is incredibly quick around the court, Svetlana comes from a family of athletes, it is in her genes and shows !
Today she meets Samantha Stosur who is in her first ever Grand Slam semi-final, that she has made one at all is a major surprise, that it has come in Paris, is little short of miraculous. She only has a winning record on the surface because of her run this year at RG. I do not expect her to put up too much opposition, her high bouncing kick serve will not be so much of a weapon today and I will take a little on the Russian winning in double quick time, but am far more interested in the outright odds.
It seems very likely that she will meet the world number one, Dinara Safina in the final, which will be their third on clay this season. Kuznetsova winning in straight sets in Stuttgart, Safina doing likewise in Rome. Lifetime they have met seven times on dirt and SK leads 4-3, but Safina did take the spoils here last year in the semi-finals, I am not overly concerned by that, as "our" girl is playing much better now, but then to be fair,so too is her opponent.
However, lets look at Kuznetsova's record in Paris, in 2004 she had match points in the 4th round against eventual winner Myskina, in 2005 an identical story, 4th round match points against eventual champion Justine Henin. Almost got there in 2006 losing in the final to Henin, who at that time , was virtually unbeatable on the surface. In 2007 she lost in the quarters to last year's winner Ana Ivanovic and in 08 as already discussed, to Safina in the semis. She only loses to champions and without Henin around, she could easily be looking for her third and not first, Roland Garros title.
Of course, I accept that Safina has very simlar, some would say better claims and it would be hard to dispute that and also that after losing in two Grand Slam finals, that she is now due to win one. But her outright odds looking very skinny (sub 1.80), she has a tougher semi final game today too IMO and I would be very happy with 3.25 for Kuznetsova come the final, where I could only make Safina the narrowest of favourites at best. I think it is key that SK already has a "biggie" (US Open) in the bag in a final were nerves seem certain to play a part.
4.5 points Kuznetsova to win 2-0 sets v Stosur circa 1.85+ on the exchanges... 1.87 for small money.
8 points Kuznetsova outright 3.20 + on the exchanges .... 3.25 for small money is available.