Friday was a poor day in Paris as both of my bets went down on day six at the 2012 French Open.
Fabio Fognini had numerous chances to grab a set from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga but despite breaking the Frenchman five times and winning only 14 points less in the match than his opponent he still couldn’t take one set.
And what a day it was for baby faced lucky loser David Goffin, who reached the last 16 by taking down Lukas Kubot who choked away both of the opening two sets.
The partisan Belgian fans in the crowd got to Kubot for sure, but the talented Goffin used it to his advantage and the reward is a match with Roger Federer.
Saturday at Roland Garros offers opportunities for redemption after yesterday and the first bet I’ll take on today concerns the second match on Court Philippe Chatrier between Janko Tipsarevic and Julien Benneteau.
This pair have met just once and it was here in Paris back in 2006 with Benny taking the win, but the top-10 ranked Serbian is the favourite today at around 1.33
Benneteau is a canny operator on clay though and we know that it’s not Tipsy’s best surface so I think this match has the potential for an upset today with the crowd firmly on the side of the Frenchman.
It’s difficult to really assess what sort of form that Benneteau is in though, as he has had two comfortable matches since returning from an ankle injury, so I think the best play in this match is to side with the overs.
Tipsarevic rarely does things the easy way on clay and Benny is always up for a war of attrition so the 1.8 about this match going longer than 36.5 games looks well worth taking.
Another potentially lengthy encounter involving a Frenchman takes place third on court one between Marcel Granollers and Paul-Henri Mathieu.
This will be a battle of the walking wounded and might end the same way as their last meeting here two years ago, which was a third set retirement from the Frenchman.
Mathieu broke his toe just before the tournament and Granollers has been playing with a patched up leg injury, so we may not see this one last the full course, which is why it’s better to go with the total games and be refunded if such a retirement occurs.
But hopefully they’ll be OK and although I slightly fancy Mathieu at 2.0 I can’t see either of these players winning comfortably and the over 39.5 games looks a solid bet at around the same price.
Granollers fought off match points against the Tunisian Malek Jaziri in the last round, while Mathieu had an epic five setter against John Isner, so both of these players have had to battle and scrap to reach this stage of the tournament.
Mathieu has had a shocking time with injury over the last couple of years and it would be great to see him equal his best performance here of the fourth round, while this is already the best result that Granollers has had at Roland Garros.
The head-to-head doesn’t reveal a great deal, as prior to that match here two years ago there was just one meeting on indoor hard and a match in Granollers’s backyard of Barcelona ten years ago, but this has the makings of a classic clay encounter and could be Mathieu’s third five setter in a row.
Best Bets: Back over 36.5 games in Benneteau v Tipsarevic at 1.8; and Back over 39.5 games in Mathieu v Granollers at 2.0