Second round action is the order of the day in Paris on Wednesday, as the 2014 French Open continues.
It was another soggy day on Tuesday in which we did well to emerge relatively unscathed from a peculiar set of results with one winner from my two bets.
Simone Bolelli eased past the handicap mark in a straight sets win to land my opening bet of the day, but there was yet another no-show from Bernard Tomic, who just couldn’t be bothered against Richard Gasquet.
It was hardly surprising, but still disappointing from the Aussie, who turned up to his press conference sporting a shocking (in more ways than one) pink jacket and went on to say that he “really doesn’t like the tournament”, before erupting over a question posed to him about his law-breaking father.
Gasquet, for his part, said that it was “miraculous for me to have won today”. Clearly his version of miracles doesn’t take into account the participation or lack of it of a certain Australian.
Gilles Simon vs Alejandro Gonzalez
Speaking of miracles, it will be one if Gillou gets this match out of the way in under the total games mark of 33.5 today.
Simon had an easy time of it in the first round here, but that is exceedingly rare for him at the French Open and prior to that win over Ante Pavic he has only won two matches in straight sets since first coming here back in 2004.
And both of those were against clay-averse Americans Rob Kendrick and Mardy Fish and it’s a big ask for the Frenchman to come out and brush aside stubborn Colombian Gonzalez so easily here.
In total Simon has played 21 matches at this tournament and won just those three mentioned in straight sets and as the layers have him as a 1.14 shot today, one would make the assumption that he’ll win (although I wouldn’t put too much faith in it), so the chances of him doing it in three sets again are remote.
Gonzalez plays most of his tennis on clay and we know he has the ability, as we saw him take a set off Novak Djokovic on hard at Indian Wells not long ago.
Simon gets very nervy playing here and he’ll do well to get this match over with in under 33.5 games, making the overs at 1.74 decent value.
Ernests Gulbis vs Facundo Bagnis
I also wouldn’t rely on Gulbis at a crazy 1.07 today, given the Latvian’s performances throughout his career in grand slams.
He has a big chance today against Facundo Bagnis, who the layers are assuming will be dead on his feet after playing a marathon in round one against Julien Benneteau, but life is rarely that simple – certainly when Ernie is around.
The Argentine is playing in his first major and will still be pumped, making the 4.30 about him winning set one against Gulbis, who will have all the pressure on him, a decent choice.
Bagnis has the power to be competitive on these damp courts and it might be Gulbis who’s equally as fatigued after a long title-winning run in Nice last week. He was hardly convincing against Lukasz Kubot in the opening round, where he also dropped the first set.
Novak Djokovic has never dropped a single set to Jeremy Chardy in the 19 they’ve played and in only three of those has the Frenchman pushed the Serb past 6-4 in a set.
If conditions weren’t as tricky as they currently are I’d be taking the minus 9.5 on Novak today, but if Chardy ever had a shot of grabbing a set it’s today with the crowd behind him and in tough playing conditions.
Back over 33.5 games in Simon/Gonzalez at 1.68
Back Bagnis to win set one vs Gulbis at 4.30