French Open Picks Day 4 With Odds and Predictions
by Ricky Dimon - 5/28/2013
Ricky Dimon continues his daily French Open previews with second-round action on Wednesday. He is 2-2 and down 0.25 units after one day of handicapping.
All odds provided by Bovada Sportsbook
Ernests Gulbis (-175) vs. Gael Monfils (+135)
A showdown between two mercurial players such as Gulbis and Monfils is always tough to call, but the edge here has to go to Gulbis. The 40th-ranked Latvian is a huge hitter, but he has actually enjoyed his most consistent results on clay. Gulbis is a former French Open quarterfinalist (2008), a former Rome semifinalist (2010), and he is coming off a third-round performance earlier this month in Rome, where he eventually lost to Rafael Nadal 6-4 in the deciding set. The 24-year-old boasts a 20-7 match record for the season.
Much to Gulbis’ pleasure, he eased past Rogerio Dutra Silva in straight sets on Monday then watched Monfils battle Tomas Berdych for four hours and three minutes. Monfils finally prevailed 7-6(8), 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-7(4), 7-5. The question now is how will the Frenchman’s fragile body hold up. He is just now rounding back into form after serious knee problems. The world No. 81 won a clay-court Challenger title two weeks ago, and he finished runner-up at an ATP event in Nice last week. At some point, the work overload is going to catch up with Monfils…and it could be sooner rather than later with an opponent like Gulbis on the other side of the net.
Viktor Troicki (-150) vs. Daniel Gimeno-Traver (+115)
The surface is what should dictate the outcome of this match. Troicki has advanced out of the first round in six of seven clay-court tournaments in 2013, but all six of his losses have come in straight sets — including 6-1, 6-1 to Gulbis in Rome, 6-3, 6-1 to Lukas Rosol in Bucharest, and 6-1, 6-2 to Jarkko Nieminen in Monte-Carlo. The 57th-ranked Serb, who has always been at his best on hard courts, is a modest 13-14 for the season.
Gimeno-Traver, a traditional Spanish dirtballer, kicked off his Roland Garros campaign with an outstanding five-set win over world No. 17 and recent Dusseldorf champion Juan Monaco. Ranked one spot off his career-high at 49th in the world, Gimeno-Traver made a run to the Madrid Masters third round earlier this month. He is 0-2 lifetime against Troicki, but their only previous meetings came on grass and a hard court, the former of which went to five sets at Wimbledon in 2009.
Andreas Seppi (-220) vs. Blaz Kavcic (+165)
Don’t be fooled by their respective first-round scorelines (Seppi won in five sets while Kavcic rolled to a 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 victory). Leonardo Mayer is a dangerous opponent, whereas James Duckworth — Kavcic’s adversary — is by no means an established threat on clay.
Seppi lost in the first round of his three previous tournaments prior to his arrival in Paris, but he cannot be discounted at the French Open. The 22nd-ranked Italian reached the fourth round last season before losing to eventual runner-up Novak Djokovic in five sets. Kavcic had also struggled prior to this fortnight, losing in the second round of two Challengers, failing to qualify in Rome, and dropping his Dusseldorf opener in straight sets to Ivan Dodig. While these two have never met, it is presumably a bad matchup for Kavcic. Both men are baseline-loving counter-punchers, and Seppi can do exactly what Kavcic does while doing all of it better.
Parlay: Tommy Robredo (-325) vs. Igor Sijsling (+230) and Sam Querrey (-230) vs. Jan Hajek (+175)
Robredo is in resurgent form at 31 years old. This time last season, the veteran Spaniard was outside the Top 400 and he was still outside the Top 100 in February of this year. However, Robredo won a clay-court title in Casablanca last month, and he also reached the quarterfinals in Barcelona. Sijsling is a big hitter who capitalized on a favorable draw against Jurgen Melzer in the first round, but he is not suited for clay…especially not against Robredo.
American men are actually faring well so far at Roland Garros, and Querrey is no exception. The world No. 20, who won his only previous clay-court meeting with Hajek in straight sets three years ago, hammered Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in his opener. Hajek, a 29-year-old Czech, has not been past the second round of a major since 2007.
Pick: Janowicz and Querrey
Urszula Radwanska (-165) vs. Dinah Pfizenmaier
Don’t bet against the younger Radwanska sister this time. Her first-round upset of Venus Williams was not a real shock due to Venus’ clay-court capabilities — or lack thereof. However, it was a high-quality match won by the Pole late in the third set. This spring on clay, Radwanska already boasts additional wins over Ana Ivanovic and Dominika Cibulkova.
Pfizenmaier cannot be discounted, because she reached the Roland Garros second round as a qualifier last year, and she has done the exact same in 2013. Still, the 21-year-old German registers at No. 127 in the world, and she has never been past this hurdle of a major tournament. If Radwanska wins, she will likely face older sister Agnieszka on Friday. Who doesn’t want to see that?
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