The first round of the French Open concludes on Tuesday, a day when the doubles competitions also get up and running around the grounds at Roland Garros as the second Grand Slam of the year continues to catch speed.
Those who are yet to get their singles quest underway get the chance to do just that on a Tuesday where yet again a number of star players and established names will take to the courts in Paris looking to make progress.
Day 2 Recap
It was another day where the higher seeded female players were dumped out in ruthless style with the defending champion Barbora Krejcikova falling at the first hurdle along with Anett Kontaveit. There were no such problems for the favourite Iga Swiatek who breezed through for the loss of just two games. It wasn’t much harder for the legendary men’s pair of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic who lost six and four games respectively. Emma Raducanu, Angelique Kerber, Taylor Fritz and Cameron Norrie were some of the other seeds to progress.
While it was a good start to the competition for us on Sunday it was an annoying one on Monday. We were looking rosy when Anna Bondar served for the opening set against Petra Kvitova but after being broken she went from being a likely favourite for the match to barely winning another game. It wasn’t much better in the men’s match with Dan Evans beating Francisco Cerundolo in straight sets when again a tiebreak in the first set changed the course of the contest. Work to do on Tuesday.
Philippe Chatrier Court
Two French legends grace the main stadium in Paris in the first two matches on Tuesday as Alize Cornet opens up the action with a clash against Misaki Doi. When they are done we could well witness the final match in the career of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. If it is to be the end he will bow out against the Norwegian star Casper Ruud. The day session then ends with the number three seed Paula Badosa on show. The Spaniard meets Fiona Ferro for a place in the next round. There is one men’s match saved for the night session which sees Stefanos Tsitsipas taking on Lorenzo Musetti.
Suzanne Lenglen Court
The number two seed Daniil Medvedev is up first on the Suzanne Lenglen Court. The Russian takes on the dangerous Argentine player Facundo Bagnis who is comfortable on this surface. Lloyd Harris and Richard Gasquet will then return to court to finish the match they started on Monday before the rain brought a halt to it. Taylor Townsend and Caroline Garcia will grace the court after they are finished before Alex de Minaur takes on Hugo Gaston. The final match of a busy schedule on this court sees Aryna Sabalenka starting another quest for a first major title. She meets another French player in the form of Chloe Paquet.
Simonne Mathieu Court
We begin with the former Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova out on the Simonne Mathieu Court. She faces a home wildcard in the form of Tessah Andrianjafitrimo before Benoit Paire and Ilya Ivashka come back to finish their match from Monday. Frances Tiafoe is third onto this court when he takes on Benjamin Bonzi before the former champion Simona Halep meets the lucky loser Nastasja Schunk. The action on this court concludes with Pablo Carreno Busta going up against the French veteran player Gilles Simon.
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Best of the Rest
There are plenty of singles matches wrapped in with the doubles out on the outside courts for us to enjoy either in person with a ground pass or on the streams at home on Tuesday. Some of the leading lights include the former champion Jelena Ostapenko, Madison Keys, Andrey Rublev, Jessica Pegula, Camila Giorgi, Jannik Sinner, Daria Kasatkina, Danielle Collins, Sebastian Korda, Hubert Hurkacz, Denis Shapovalov, Elena Rybakina and Tommy Paul.
I have largely kept my powder dry in the early stages of the week because the best bets of the opening round in the men’s draw always looked like they would come along on Tuesday and I’ll get going with the first of three right from the start where the odds against on Facundo Bagnis to take a set off Daniil Medvedev is too big to ignore. This will be just the second match since Miami in March for Medvedev as he has had hernia surgery so he will be building up to 100% ahead of the hard courts where he could really dominate this season. His clay court record is bang ordinary for someone with his ranking so Bagnis should be able to take at least a set off him even if he doesn’t win the match. The latter can’t be ruled out but the Argentine pulled out mid-match in Geneva last week so we are taking a bit of a chance on his fitness. If he is anything close to 100% he should give Medvedev a much closer game than the odds suggest.
Marco Cecchinato had the finest fortnight of his career here in 2018 and the odds against on him to get the better of the Spanish veteran Pablo Andujar is just too big. Admittedly prior to Geneva last week the Italian had done nothing for ages but he wouldn’t be the first sports person to come into an environment where he has good memories and produce his best form. I don’t think he’ll need that though or anything close to it because Andujar is pulling up no trees himself this season and at 36 years of age you wonder how much is left in the tank of the Spaniard. He has lost his last five matches on the tour, all on this surface, and with the exception of David Goffin hasn’t really faced anyone of note in that time. I’ll back the environment to spark Cecchinato to get the job done here.
The final bet for me on Tuesday comes in the night session match where much like the opening match of the day I’m expecting a closer contest than the bookmakers when Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on Lorenzo Musetti. If that name rings a bell to you then it will be because on this very court last year the Italian was two sets up on Novak Djokovic in the first round before going down 3-2. Tsitsipas will know all about how that feels having done the same thing in the final. Musetti pulled out in Madrid which was the last time we saw him which isn’t ideal but he already has 10 clay court wins to his name in this spring swing. Tsitsipas is a class act and on his best surface but he’ll know the opportunity in front of him with every other leading light in the other half of the draw. That might bring its own pressure and while I expect the Greek to win, there is certainly enough in the game of the entertaining Italian to take this one to a fourth set at least, as we saw in Lyon last year when Tsitsipas won in a deciding set.
There is just the one bet that I like in the women’s draw on Tuesday and that comes in the match between Taylor Townsend and Caroline Garcia where despite not being seen on a competitive court since Miami in March, I like the home star to use the crowd to her advantage to win the match. To be fair to Garcia, she has posted on her social media channels that she has been practicing in Paris in the lead up to this event so while she hasn’t played on clay yet this season we know she is fit.
It isn’t like Townsend is fully up to speed herself. She only returned to action last month after having a child and although she has performed well on the American clay courts with a Challenger title and two quarter finals, even against an inactive Garcia this is a real step up in class. I wouldn’t rate this as the best surface for Townsend but it is definitely the best one for Garcia and assuming she can find some timing, and she’s been here practicing for a few days so you would think she will, then I expect the French star to give the home crowds something to cheer about here.
Back F.Bagnis to win a set for a 3/10 stake at 2.05 with William Hill
Back L.Musetti (+2.5 sets) to beat S.Tsitsipas for a 3/10 stake at 2.38 with William Hill
Back them here:
Back M.Cecchinato to beat P.Andujar for a 3/10 stake at 2.10 with Bet365
Back C.Garcia to beat T.Townsend for a 3/10 stake at 2.50 with Betway