Day three at the 2015 French Open sees the top two in the outright betting play their opening matches of the campaign, with Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal in action on Tuesday.
Taking the positives from Monday’s play we saw our ‘sure thing’ treble land fairly comfortably and also those who chose Tomas Berdych to win in three also would have enjoyed a fairly stress-free success.
And those who took Lucas Pouille to win set one against Gilles Simon would have enjoyed a nice winner at 2.60, but disappointingly Luca Vanni failed against a Bernard Tomic who was clearly below par physically, which foiled the double.
Federico Delbonis looked very jaded for large parts of his match against Juan Monaco, with the latter eventually prevailing in the all-Argentine clash in five sets.
Joao Sousa vs Vasek Pospisil
Delbonis perhaps didn’t handle the fatigue factor from his run in Geneva too well yesterday, but Thomaz Bellucci had no problems and neither should Sousa, who faces a struggling opponent in this 10:00 UK time clash.
Pospisil suffered a bad ankle injury when falling in a doubles match in Madrid a few weeks ago and the result was a second degree ankle sprain and a bone bruise.
Since then he reportedly only began hitting on Saturday and surely wouldn’t be playing were this not a Grand Slam and it’s asking a lot for him to beat the determined Sousa on slow clay in these circumstances.
Sousa would have been favourite anyway, with the Canadian’s form on clay being little short of disastrous.
Pospisil has never won a match on the tour or in majors on clay and the only win on his record is a 2011 success in Davis Cup over Julio Cesar Campozano.
All things considered Sousa looks the most reasonably priced of the ‘sure things’ on another day where options for favourite backers are plentiful.
David Ferrer and Nadal look set for easy days, while Djokovic should have few problems dismissing fading Finn Jarkko Nieminen, and Kevin Anderson should have too much for Tim Smyczek, who has a 1-5 record on clay and has never won on dirt in Europe.
Jerzy Janowicz vs Maxime Hamou
Janowicz is another favourite who looks very solid indeed – if such words can ever really be applied to the Pole – against late wild card Hamou, who will be playing only his second match at main level.
The 19-year-old’s first was only last week in Nice and he was easily beaten two and two by Pablo Carreno Busta, which suggests Hamou isn’t really up to this.
Hamou’s wild card came about when Benoit Paire managed to gain direct entry to the tournament and surely this is all about experience for a young player who is yet to take a set from top-100 opposition.
He did beat the fading Albert Montanes in a Challenger a few weeks ago, but JJ has been recovering well from injury and impressed in practice here according to reports and he should be too powerful by half for Hamou.
JJ should be itching to get some ranking points on the board after his recent back problem and he does have a decent record at the French Open (and in Bercy) with his only losses coming to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Stan Wawrinka.
I like the under 35.5 total games in this one at 1.93, with the crowd hardly likely to be a factor at 11:00 local time, which is much too early for most Parisians.
Tuesday’s card looks one for favourites, with only really Robin Haase appealing of the underdogs priced at 3.0 or over today, so I’m looking at a set betting punt instead.
Grigor Dimitrov vs Jack Sock
Dimitrov has been steadily improving of late after a mediocre start to the season and he was involved in arguably one of the most entertaining matches of the year so far last time out.
The Bulgarian ended up losing it 6-0 in the decider against Fabio Fognini in Rome, but it was a great standard and a match I really enjoyed, which hasn’t been the case that often this season.
At around 16:00 UK time on Tuesday Dimitrov looks to erase the memory of a shock straight sets defeat to Ivo Karlovic here 12 months ago, but in his way is the improving Sock.
The American wins his matches with the old one/two punch of a big serve and a concussing forehand and on clay this season so far Sock has used it to beat the likes of Roberto Bautista-Agut and almost Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gilles Simon.
Dimitrov, meanwhile, actually has a really poor record against top-50 ranked opposition at majors, with a 5-15 mark, and only twice has he ever beaten such an opponent in straight sets.
One was Andy Murray at Wimbledon last season and the other was Andrey Golubev at the 2011 Australian Open and a record of winning only 25 percent of matches versus the top-50 doesn’t make me want to rush out and back Dimitrov at 1.30.
That said, I think Dimitrov will eventually expose the weaker backhand side of Sock and get the job done against the American in four sets at a tempting 4.25.
Sure thing: Back Sousa to beat Pospisil at 1.30
Value bet: Back under 35.5 total games in Janowicz/Hamou at 1.93
Long shot: Back Dimitrov to beat Sock 3-1 at 4.25