J.J Gale went 2-0 at the French Open on Thursday but can he continue his 100% record in Paris on Friday?
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After a successful day yesterday, we get back on the horse as the third round of the French Open begins at Roland Garros on Friday. There are eight matches on both the men’s and women’s sides which produce some intriguing matchups and possibly a good spot or two for us to seek out some value.
One of the matches that caught my eye immediately was US Open champion, Dominic Thiem taking on Casper Ruud. I was a little surprised to see Ruud as big as +730 to win the match with FanDuel Sportsbook. They are both performing at a similar level on a lot of the metrics I look at when judging matchups. He has reached two clay semi-finals in a row in the lead up to the French Open and has clearly targeted this event. If we look at the matches on clay that have recorded statistics in the past 52 weeks, it appears Ruud is playing some of his best ever tennis on the surface. His hold and break rates are above his career average and at a level where he could cause Thiem a lot more issues than FanDuel are giving him credit for. He did come through a tough five-setter in round two, but that could have served to harden him for the task he faces against Thiem. In what I think will be a reasonably close affair, I am backing over 34.5 games at +100 with BetMGM with a small tickle on Ruud to win at +730 with FanDuel Sportsbook.
If you missed Kiki Bertens beating Sara Errani 9-7 in the third set yesterday, then you missed some real drama and good, old-fashioned handbags. Bertens was hobbling around the court like a lame penguin, but somehow squeaked out the win. At one point, Errani feigned injury herself in a mocking manner towards Bertens and refused to touch racquets after the match, instead cursing at Bertens in Italian. In the press conference, Errani claimed Bertens wasn’t injured despite a sad scene where Bertens was wheeled out crying in a wheelchair after the match. Bertens says she was experiencing full body cramps and it seems reasonable to me that after treatment, she could potentially be fine to face Siniakova tomorrow. For me, she is probably a level above Siniakova and the price on a Bertens win has plenty of injury concern baked into it. It’s important to check the rules to see how they handle in-game retirements with your preferred bookie, but I will be looking to back Kiki Bertens to win at +170 with Bet America, where any retirement means the bet is graded as void. Backing somebody who you have just seen being literally rolled off the court is not for the faint of heart, but if Bertens is anywhere close to match fit, I don’t believe this price can be correct.
Our final play of the day will come in the Elise Mertens v Caroline Garcia match. Since the return from the COVID-enforced lay off, Mertens has been firing. She has only been beaten by US Open champion Naomi Osaka; world number 4, Karolina Pliskova; and an on-fire Victoria Azarenka. Everybody else she has dispatched with some comfort, losing only one set in her thirteen victories. Now playing on what I would consider her best surface, she faces an opponent struggling with her form. With Garcia’s service points won rate as well as her break and hold rates way down in the last year, she could find real trouble on Friday. Mertens can be backed -4.5 games at -112 with BetMGM or to win 2-0 at -125 with Bet365.
It would be Ruud not to back Bertens and Mertens tomorrow. Brilliant stuff, what a writer.
1.5pts – Dominic Thiem v Casper Ruud – Over 34.5 games @ +100 with BetMGM
0.25pts – Casper Ruud to beat Dominic Thiem @ +730 with FanDuel Sportsbook
1pt – Kiki Bertens to beat Katerina Siniakova @ +170 with Bet America (void with retirement)
1.25pts – Elise Mertens -4.5 games v Caroline Garcia @ -112 with BetMGM
Thursday’s Best Bets – 2-0
Everybody has had a chance to get their eye in, excluding 50% of the fans who would usually be in attendance, and we are midway through the second as we enter Thursday’s games. There should be plenty of opportunity as the tournament progresses for value to be found and we can start by picking off a couple of lines this Thursday.
We’ll start with the match between Jelena Ostapenko and number two seed, Karolina Pliskova. Whereas Pliskova is very strong in the shorter rallies, Ostapenko tends to dominate in the longer rallies. This was evident in their last meeting towards the end of 2019, where she emerged victorious over three sets, and should suit her on the slow French clay. I also like the matchup of Ostapenko’s forehand against Pliskova’s backhand and Pliskova could even still be affected by the injury that saw her withdraw from the final of the Rome Masters. Her first round was a struggle and now she faces a step up in class which could just be a step too far. Jelena Ostapenko can be backed to win the match at +155 with DraftKings Sportsbook.
With Oktoberfest canceled, Germans will have to look forward to a meeting of two of their finest female players instead. Laura Siegemund takes on Julia Goerges in what looks initially to be a close-fought affair. Goerges’s recent clay form leaves a lot to be desired whereas the opposite can be said of her opponent. Siegemund, who breaks at a roughly 45% clip on clay, which is by far her best surface, has upped that percentage in the few matches she has played this past year and will look to nullify one of Goerges’s biggest weapon this way. Siegemund gets a lot of returns back in-play and should be a favorite in many of the longer rallies. She can be backed -2.5 games at -112 on FanDuel Sportsbook and that will be getting some of our action.
There is not too much that has caught the eye on the men’s side for Thursday’s action, but we will be keeping our eyes peeled for Friday and on into the weekend.
1pt – Jelena Ostapenko to beat Karolina Pliskova @ +155 with DraftKings Sportsbook or Unibet
1.5pts – Laura Siegemund -2.5 games vs Julia Goerges @ -112 with FanDuel Sportsbook