Day two at the 2016 French Open features 29 men’s singles matches, either new or in-play, after rain put paid to much of the opening day on Sunday.
We enjoyed a nice start to the fortnight in Paris when Teimuraz Gabashvili provided a comfortable winner for the ‘value bet’ in a 3-0 win over Donald Young.
The Russian easily covered his -1.5 sets handicap in that one, but another Russian foiled the ‘long shot’ when Andrey Kuznetsov did despatch Benjamin Becker in under 30.5 games.
The veteran German was ahead in set three at 4-2, but lost the next four games in a row in what was a tame effort in a match interrupted by rain in that third set.
Indeed, the expected rain was a source of frustration on and off all day on Sunday and it’s set to be the same, if not wetter, on Monday, with the forecast predicting another day full of drizzle in Paris.
Pablo Cuevas vs Tobias Kamke
Cuevas let us down in Rome with a really poor defeat to Nicolas Mahut and once again he’s a warm order on Monday as a 1.11 chance against German journeyman Kamke.
But rather than have Cuevas as a ‘sure thing’ today I like the idea of going over 9.5 games in set one of this match at a much more appealing price of around the 1.97 mark.
Cuevas has really struggled to win sets by more than the odd game of late, with 20 of his 27 opening sets this season going to 10 games or more, and nine of the 27 have been tie breaks.
On 15 occasions this season Cuevas has won the opening set and on 11 of those occasions it’s taken him 10 games or more to win it, so today’s price on over 9.5 games seems very appealing to me.
Kamke has qualified here, so at least he has a few matches under his belt, and he certainly has the quality to go toe-to-toe with the Uruguayan for long enough for this wager to stand a very good chance of success.
Only once in his last six matches at the French Open has Cuevas finished a set in fewer than 10 games and he dropped his opening set of the tournament last year in a tie break to that renowned clay courter Sam Groth.
Only once in his career has Cuevas won a match at this tournament in straight sets and that was against another clay-averse Aussie, Matthew Ebden, in 2014.
Marin Cilic vs Marco Trungelliti
The former US Open champion enjoyed a successful comeback to the tour last week in Geneva, where he made the final on clay there after almost two months out through injury.
Cilic should have extended Stan Wawrinka to a final set in that Geneva clash, so he seems in good enough form to be one half of a ‘sure thing’ double for Monday against the 26-year-old Argentine.
Trungelliti has qualified for his second major of the year, but he did it the hard way, with over six hours on court in battles against Thomas Fabbiano, Dennis Novikov and Matthias Bachinger.
He’s yet to face a top-20 opponent in his career and his last tournament appearance prior to French Open qualifying was a straight sets loss to Pippo Volandri.
Trungelliti is yet to beat a top-50 ranked opponent, while Cilic has only ever lost once in round one of the French Open, which was to Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo back in 2011.
Cilic has lost only one of his last 29 matches versus opponents ranked outside the top-100 (Ryan Harrison in Acapulco this season) and he can be combined with Gilles Simon to make a 1.24 ‘sure thing’ double.
Gillou hasn’t lost in round one of the French Open since 2008 when a tough draw saw him lose out to Radek Stepanek and he should be too solid for the flashy but erratic Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva.
Conditions won’t be perfect by any means for Simon, who prefers it quicker than we’re likely to get on Monday, but he’ll use his tennis brain to coax the mistakes out of Dutra Silva, who isn’t up to this level of opponent.
Dutra Silva does come here in form after a win at the Bordeaux Challenger last week, but at main level the Brazilian is yet to take a top-20 ranked opponent past 6-4 in a set.
He’s 2-12 versus top-50 ranked opposition in his career and he’s never won a set in the French Open main draw.
Dusan Lajovic vs Denis Kudla
This 10:00 UK time clash between the Serb and the American has the feel of a lengthy battle about it and I like the idea of siding with Kudla to win it in five sets as a ‘long shot’ for Monday.
Kudla enjoys a battle, with wins in three of his four five set matches in majors so far, and Lajovic is hardly unbeatable for the American, despite his lack of experience on clay.
Kudla did well on the clay in Madrid recently, making the last-32 and giving David Ferrer a good match in a final set loss to the Spaniard, so he’s an improver on this surface.
Lajovic has struggled to consolidate a ranking position inside the top-60 and last week he was beaten in straight sets by world number 285 Joris De Loore in the Mestre Challenger.
That was after two final set wins over opponents ranked outside the top-300 in the world in earlier rounds and he’s been beaten by Ivo Karlovic, Kenny De Schepper and Santi Giraldo already this clay swing.
So, he won’t be too confident coming into this and this match is certainly there for Kudla if he wants it.
Lajovic has only one five set win in a major to his name and 7.0 about another Kudla final set success in a major looks tempting.
Sure thing: Back Cilic and Simon at 1.24
Value bet: Back over 9.5 games in set one of Cuevas/Kamke at 1.97
Long shot: Back Kudla to beat Lajovic 3-2 at 7.0