2018 French Open Predictions

Form Labs search their extensive database to provide us with their 2018 French Open predictions. You can expect exclusive tips every day, all the way through to the finals. For the Men’s and Women’s draws.

Simona Halep v Sloane Stephens

Halep held onto the number one ranking with her win in the semi-final and she’s now in her fourth Grand Slam final. The last player to reach a fourth major final having lost their first three was Kim Clijsters and she also lost her fourth, but she went on to win her next four, so Halep will hope her turning point can come one final earlier. Furthermore, no women has ever lost their first three French Open finals.

The Romanian has won her last four meetings with Stephens, all in straight sets, and she’s won both their previous matches on clay. However, while the two most recent matches were last August, that was just after Stephens had returned from a long injury lay-off and, even though she went on to win the US Open, the American is playing at a consistently higher level right now.

The fact this is on clay is certainly in Halep’s favour though, as she’s now reached the final at five of the six Premier/Grand Slam clay events since 2017, and her record on the surface dwarfs any other player right now, with this also being her third final here in four years. Furthermore, her performance in the semi-final over former champion Garbine Muguruza was superb. The concern, however, is how she handles the pressure in the final, having lost six of her last seven – all of which she started as the favourite for.

Stephens, meanwhile, has never lost a WTA final, winning all six she’s contested since 2015, including her sole Grand Slam title last September in New York. She’s also won 11 of her last 16 completed matches when starting as the underdog as she’s been consistently underrated in the past year. Her semi-final was a lower quality affair compared to Halep’s, and certainly this is a step up from any of her opponents to date. However, her consistency, lack of errors, and movement, have been superb all tournament.

Halep’s clay record means we have to fancy her to win this but Stephens is the better value, and if you followed our pre-tournament advice to back the top seed it’s worth taking some cover now. However, the Romanian’s previous three major finals have all gone the distance, and we’d be surprised if this isn’t close, so Stephens is worth backing to at least cover the +3.5 handicap.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Stephens +3.5 at 2.10

Rafael Nadal v Juan Martin Del Potro

Nadal leads the head-to-head 9-5 but, unsurprisingly, the Spaniard has won both meetings on clay, while he’s won four of their five best-of-five set matches. That includes their last meeting, which came at this stage in the US Open last year when Del Potro took the opening set before Nadal hit back, dropping just five more games.

Nadal was under pressure in the last round as he dropped his first set here for three years, but he hit back to win with some ease in the end. He’s played 10 semi-finals at Roland Garros before and has won the lot of them, with only Federer and Djokovic ever managing to take a set off him.

Del Potro has been the favourite in each of his matches so far but that all changes here. On a hard court we’d probably have to fancy him given his form this year, but just seven of his 56 ATP semi-finals have come on clay and the surface counts against him massively as Nadal will be able to expose his movement. Nevertheless, the Argentine is as close to the top of the game as he’s been for years, and in the last 12 months he’s played five matches where he started as 2/1 or longer (all against Federer or Nadal) and he’s won at least a set every time, including winning two of the matches. He almost certainly can’t beat Nadal on clay, but with thunderstorms and high humidity forecast the conditions could at least help him and the 3-1 score looks the best value.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Nadal 3-1 at 4.2

Marco Cecchinato v Dominic Thiem

Cecchinato has a previous win over Thiem, though there are no guarantees he can remember that clash in a futures event five years ago, and it certainly has no bearing here.

Thiem took advantage of Alexander Zverev’s injury to cruise through in the last round and he’s now a massive favourite to reach a first Grand Slam final. This is his fourth semi-final of 2018, all on clay, and he’s won all of them. In fact, he’s played eight semi-finals on clay since the start of 2017 and the only two he’s lost were against Djokovic and Nadal. That shows where he stands in the current order of things on clay.

Cecchinato had never won a match at a Grand Slam two weeks ago but he’s now beaten two top-10 seeds plus Novak Djokovic. He did win a maiden ATP title on clay in April, but it was a lowly event and he was only playing in that after getting a Lucky Loser spot in the draw. It’s hard to imagine he can continue his run against Thiem, whose extra power threatens to punish the Italian’s second serve, but he hasn’t relied on luck in the previous round as he’s dominated the stats in his wins against all three seeds. Thiem had dropped a set in his previous three rounds before the quarter-final, where Zverev was unable to compete properly, and seven of his last 10 matches have been level after two sets so this could be closer than expected and we fancy the Austrian to come through this in four sets.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Thiem 3-1 at 4.15

Simona Halep v Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza has won three of the four previous meetings between the pair but the good news for Halep is that she won the only one that was played on clay. The bad news is that in their most recent clash – in the Cincinnati final last August she won just one game.

However, the Romanian has a history of collapsing in finals whereas she doesn’t show the same weakness in semis, where she’s won eight of her last 10 and she’s also won both her previous semi-finals here. Furthermore, she’s won seven of her last 12 matches on clay against the current top 10, albeit with seven going to a third set.

Muguruza barely broke sweat against Sharapova as the Russian’s radar was completely missing. The main problem for the Spaniard now is that she’s had a lack of time on court, having benefitted from a retirement in the previous round. Despite a reputation for being a big-match player Muguruza has won only half her completed semi-finals since the start of 2017, but she does have a 100% record in her three Grand Slam semis.

Both players have strong claims for winning this match, with Halep consistently the best performer on clay but Muguruza the stronger mentally. However, five of Muguruza’s last six clay matches against the current top 10 have gone to a third set and that looks the best bet.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Three Sets at 2.50

Madison Keys v Sloane Stephens

This is a repeat of last year’s US Open final, but it wasn’t a match-up anyone was expecting here. That meeting in New York went the way of Stephens, including a 6/0 second set, and she also won their other clash in straight sets.

Stephens was highly impressive in the last round as Kasatkina failed to find a way to break her down. It was the same in the previous round against the fancied Anett Kontaveit and she’s made hardly any unforced errors all tournament. In fact, she’s made just 83 compared to 111 from Keys, who has played a set less.

Keys’ form in the build up to this was poor as she lost in the opening round in Stuttgart and in Madrid before giving a walkover in the third round in Rome. Nevertheless, she’s yet to drop a set here, though she has benefitted from an easier draw than her compatriot. Moreover, she has a history of dominating in one round only to collapse in the next, as was the case in the US Open final and in the quarters at this year’s Australian Open. With Stephens making so few errors that could cause Keys to get frustrated as she did to an extent in the last round and we fancy a repeat of their previous meetings.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Stephens 2-0 at 2.46

Marin Cilic v Juan Martin Del Potro

This is surely the tallest French Open quarter-final in history with both men standing at 6’6” and we should be in for some big hitting from the pair. Del Potro has the overwhelming advantage in the head-to-head as he’s won 10 of their 12 previous meetings.

Our biggest concern over the Argentine was his fitness after an injury caused him to pull out in Rome but that looks OK now and he’s not been overextended so far in the tournament. Furthermore, Del Potro had a 15 match winning streak earlier in the season as he was the best player on the tour in March and he’s been performing at a consistently high standard since the US Open last September. That’s seen him win 10 of 16 completed matches against the current top 10 in that time, with three of those defeats coming against Federer and Nadal (although he’s also beaten Federer twice in that run).

Cilic survived a scare in the last round as Fognini came back from two sets down to force a decider and he’s lost all of his last eight completed matches against the current top 10 – his only win in this time coming when Nadal retired in the fifth set of their Australian open quarter-final. However, four of his last five Grand Slam matches against the current top 10 have gone to a fifth set (ignoring his clash with Kevin Anderson here a year ago when the South African pulled out in the second set) and he’s a great competitor who fights to the last point. Del Potro, similarly, has been involved in a number of five setters over the years but with his extra freshness we fancy him to shade this match in a decider.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Del Potro to Win 3-2 at 6.8

Rafael Nadal v Diego Schwartzman

These two have met three times on clay in the past and there are no prizes for guessing that Schwartzman has never won a set off Nadal. Rafa hasn’t actually lost a set at Roland Garros since the 2015 final and of the 37 sets he’s played here since then he’s dropped just 79 games, winning 23 sets 6/2 or easier.

Schwartzman came back from the brink in the last round but if he’s feeling tired he can expect Nadal to make him run twice as hard. Nadal is as short in the betting to win this match as he’s ever been for a French Open quarter-final. Just looking at his seven completed quarter-finals here when he started at shorter than 1.2, he won five by at least 11 clear games, with Nicolas Almagro on the end of the heaviest beating as he won just three games in 2008.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Nadal -9.5 at 1.90

Garbine Muguruza v Maria Sharapova

The two former champions left in the draw meet here, with Sharapova having won all three previous meetings between the pair, although the last of those was almost four years ago. Both players benefitted from retirements in the last round as they played just two games between them.

Sharapova will move back into the top 20 if she wins this match but with six of her last nine matches going to a third set we don’t expect a repeat of her demolition of Karolina Pliskova in the third round. Muguruza could yet end the tournament as the World No.1 and she is a formidable opponent in the later stages of events. She’s won nine of her last 11 quarter-finals and she’s won three of her last four at this round of a Grand Slam. However, she’s yet to be tested here and she had lost her last four matches against the current top 25, albeit with three going the distance.

This match could easily go either way but like their last two meetings between them we fancy a third set between this pair. That has often been the case throughout Sharapova’s career and since her return last year 11 of her 21 matches on clay have gone the distance.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Number of Sets – 3 at 2.44

Simona Halep v Angelique Kerber

After some surprisingly one-sided matches in the last round we have a re-match of the blockbuster semi-final from the Australian Open in January, when Halep triumphed 9-7 in the decider. The Romanian leads the head-to-head 5-4 but on her favoured surface she’s the clear favourite here.

Halep has reached the final at four of the five Grand Slam or Premier events on clay since 2017 – a record that far surpasses anyone else on the tour. Furthermore, after dropping her opening set in the first round she’s won six of her eight sets 6/2 or easier. Since the start of 2017 she’s won all 10 of her completed matches against left-handers including nine wins in straight sets.

Kerber has only ever reached one quarter-final here before and exited in the first round in the last two years. Furthermore, it’s six years since she made it past the quarters at one of the Premier events on clay and she’s never made a final – her clay record just doesn’t stack up to the top seed’s. Since 2017 she’s played six matches on clay against the current top 10 and she’s suffered four defeats in straight sets and this looks set to be another.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Halep to Win 2-0 at 2.18

Dominic Thiem v Alexander Zverev

These two met in the final in Madrid and they are starting to develop a rivalry that could define their careers as they look to step into the shoes of the older generation. Zverev won that meeting but Thiem leads 4-2 overall, although with all the previous five matches being level after two sets there’s very little between them.

Zverev is the underdog though on the basis that he’s had to survive three consecutive five-setters to get here. The good news is that none of those matches have been excessively long battles, although he’s still spent about three hours longer on court than Thiem has. The German’s form in the build up was superb as he won Munich and Madrid and he looked to have the beating of Nadal in the Rome final until a rain break. However, his inconsistency here suggests this could be a match with several shifts in momentum.

Thiem’s form is also good as he won the title in Lyon the week before this started and he’s looked the more impressive of the two here while he can also boast two victories over Nadal on clay since 2017. However, two of his last three rounds have been level after two sets and his record since the start of 2017 against the current top 10 as a whole isn’t great at W6-L14. Nevertheless, the Austrian’s better Grand Slam record and extra freshness suggests he’s the value to come through but we expect it to be in a hard fought four or five sets and will take the better odds on the latter.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Thiem to Win 3-2 at 7.0


Marco Cecchinato v Novak Djokovic

Cecchinato wasn’t a name being mentioned a week ago but he’s upset the 6th seed, David Goffin, and the 10th seed, Pablo Carreno-Busta, to make a debut Grand Slam quarter-final. Remarkably he’d never won a match at a Slam before last week but he’s somewhat of a clay court specialist and claimed a maiden ATP title on the red dirt in Budapest in April. In fact since 2016 93% of all the matches the Italian has played have been on clay but it’s hard to see him having the weapons to hurt Djokovic, who looks to be playing at his highest level in the last 12 months.

It took Nadal to beat the Serb in Rome and while he dropped a set to Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round he’s won his other three matches 3-0 and since 2016 he’s won all 12 of his matches here when starting as shorter than 1.2, with 10 wins in straight sets.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Djokovic to win 3-0 at 1.73


Yulia Putintseva v Madison Keys

A match between the world no.13 and the number 98 should be a straightforward result but neither was really expected to make the second week, with Keys not previously enjoying playing on clay and Putintseva having struggled for form over the last couple of years. The Kazakh evidently enjoys Roland Garros though as this is her second quarter-final appearance here in the last three years.

Keys is yet to drop a set as she’s reached her first quarter-final here but this is a tricky match to predict. They’ve met once before with Putintseva winning in a final set tie-break and although Keys has won six of nine matches on clay against players currently outside the top 50 since 2017 six have had at least 20 games and the better value is to take the ‘overs’ in the total games market.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Total Games Over 20.5 at 2.0


Sloane Stephens v Darya Kasatkina

These two have met twice before with one win apiece but it was the young Russian who won the most recent clash at Indian Wells in March. Kasatkina was impressive as she despatched the Australian Open champion in the last round and she’ll fancy her chances against the US Open holder with her skillset ideally suited to playing on clay. She was the junior champion here four years ago and after reaching the third round in her first two visits she is now into her first Grand Slam quarter-final. Furthermore, she’s won eight of her last 12 matches against the current top 10.

Stephens thrashed the in-form Kontaveit in the last round having survived a marathon in the previous round and she’s certainly a difficult player to predict as she hardly won a match following her shock US Open title last year until she won another huge title in Miami in March. She’s done well here previously, reaching the fourth round on four occasions, but that has generally seemed to be her limit on this surface as she’s never reached the quarters at either of the clay WTA Premier tournaments in Rome or Madrid and once again this looks to be the end of her road.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Kasatkina to Win at 1.8

Fabio Fognini v Marin Cilic

Fognini survived a five set battle with Kyle Edmund in the last round and he’s now a win away from matching his best ever Grand Slam performance – a quarter-final here in 2011. That would cap an excellent 12 months for the Italian who will climb to a new career high ranking if he wins this match. Over the past year he’s won half of his 20 matches when priced up as the underdog and looks to have a great chance here.

Cilic is a more regular presence in the second week of the majors but he’s only reached the quarters here once before and it is certainly his weakest surface. Furthermore, he’s lost five of his last six matches against the current top 25 and eight of his last 12 completed matches on clay against those players.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Fognini to Win at 3.05


Angelique Kerber v Caroline Garcia

Kerber leads the head-to-head between these two 4-2 but Garcia won the only meeting on clay and this will be just the second time the Frenchwoman has started as the higher ranked player. Garcia reached the quarter-final here 12 months ago and she’s been in good form for much of the last year, with excellent runs to the semis in Madrid and quarters in Rome in the build up for this tournament. Furthermore, she’s won 12 of her last 15 matches against left-handers.

Kerber snuck through via a couple of tie-breaks in the last round but she’s only once reached the quarter-finals here and this is certainly her worst surface. Moreover, she’s lost six of her last eight matches against the current top 25 – all in the last couple of months and all straight-set defeats.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Garcia to win at 1.95


Maria Sharapova v Serena Williams

This is the most eagerly anticipated match in the women’s draw, with Sharapova’s recent book adding further fuel to the rivalry. It’s been a very one sided rivalry on the court however, as Williams has won all of their last 18 matches, with Sharapova’s last win coming back in 2004. Furthermore, she’s only won one set off Williams in the last 10 years.

Williams has improved with every match and has been impressive since dropping the opening set against Ashleigh Barty in the second round and having won 10 of her 11 career fourth round matches at Roland Garros she’s likely to keep on improving. Sharapova’s demolition of Karolina Pliskova in the last round was stunning but her record against Williams is such that we have to take her on here.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Williams to Win at 1.74

Barbora Strycova v Yulia Putintseva

In two previous meetings Putintseva has never won more than three games in a set against Strycova and this should be a comfortable win for the Czech. While this might not be her best surface Strycova is the far superior player and Putintseva owes her place at this stage more to a soft draw than any particularly notable performances.

The Kazakh got one of the easiest seeds in terms of form and record on clay in Jo Konta and has then faced two players ranked outside the top 80. Prior to this tournament Putintseva had lost seven of her last nine matches and this is the first time she’s won back to back matches against top-100 ranked players in 16 months.

Strycova was on a poor run prior to this fortnight but she has impressed in her last two rounds and this is a second consecutive fourth round at a Grand Slam. Furthermore, she’s won 18 of her last 23 matches against players currently ranked outside the top 50.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Strycova Win at 1.64


Madison Keys v Mihaela Buzarnescu

Keys survived a bit of a wobble to beat Naomi Osaka in the last round and after Buzarnescu’s upset of Elina Svitolina this quarter now looks anyone’s. Keys has struggled for wins since reaching the quarters at the Australian Open and she’s also been affected by injuries. The draw has been kind to her though and she’s now on the brink of a first quarter-final at Roland Garros.

However, this is certainly the American’s weakest surface as she’s only reached the quarters or better at one Premier event on clay and has never won a WTA title on the surface. She has another problem here though, and that is her record against left-handers. She’s lost her last four against lefties and six of 10 since 2015 when the favourite.

Buzarnescu is something of a late developer with this being the 30 year old’s debut at Roland Garros. However, she was impressive in beating the tournament favourite in the last round and that’s been the case for much of the past 12 months as she’s improved her ranking from 374 to a projected 30 (and climbing) after this event. She reached two WTA finals this year, including on clay in Prague, and she’s won three of her last seven against the current top 25. The only question mark has been her ability to close out matches (though not a problem in the last round) as her first set record is even more impressive – winning 13 of 17 opening sets since switching to clay in April.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Buzarnescu to win the first set at 2.36


Dominic Thiem v Kei Nishikori

Nishikori has won both previous meetings between this pair and while his biggest weakness might be his body’s inability to last through several matches he should be relatively fresh after requiring just two hours on court in the last round. Having spent several months away from the tour as he recovered from injury Nishikori has impressed in recent months, gaining momentum through winning a couple of Challengers and then reaching the final in Monte Carlo where he beat Cilic and Zverev. He had another good run to the quarters in Rome where he beat Dimitrov and having reached the quarters here in two of the last three years he has every chance of making it three in four.

Thiem is on a seven match winning streak but he’s dropped a set in each of the last two matches when a heavy favourite and has had a relatively underwhelming year. Furthermore, he’s lost 12 of his last 19 matches against the current top 25 including his last two Grand Slam matches. However, both those went to a fifth set. Similarly two of Nishikori’s three Grand Slam matches since 2017 against the current top 25 have also gone the distance and while this looks a 50/50 call in terms of who wins – making the Japanese the value – it should be close and the 3-2 score appeals here.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Nishikori 3-2 at 7.0

Fabio Fognini v Kyle Edmund

These two are next to each other in the rankings and the markets are struggling to separate them too. However, our preference at the outset of the tournament was for Fognini and having conceded just 14 games in six sets we’ve seen nothing to change our minds. The Italian reached the quarters in Rome, where he took a rare set off Rafael Nadal, and it’s an example of just how good he can be on clay that he’s twice beaten Nadal on clay. After being more renowned for his meltdowns than his brilliance Fognini looks to have finally found some consistency in his career as he’s reached eight ATP semi-finals or better over the last 12 months, including two titles on clay. Furthermore, he’s won 18 of his last 28 matches when priced at 1.6-2.5 to win.

Fognini’s career might be having a revival but Edmund’s is very much on a constant climb. After making his first Grand Slam semi in January he’s reached an ATP final in Marrakech and performed well in Madrid and Rome. However, he’s still relatively inexperienced and has never won an ATP title so is set to find things a little tougher against one of the best clay courters on the tour. Furthermore, he’s suffered defeats to the likes of Joao Sousa, Andreas Seppi and Denis Shapovalov in recent clay events as he’s struggled for consistency, which was also his problem in a second set wobble in the last round.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Fognini Win at 2.0


Maria Sharapova v Karolina Pliskova

Sharapova’s runs to the quarters in Madrid and semis in Rome have seen her installed as one of the leading favourites here to claim a third French Open. However, the majority of her wins in those tournaments required a deciding set and she’s hardly been dominating her opponents. Furthermore, Ostapenko was the only top 10 opponent she beat in those tournaments and the Latvian’s lack of form was evident here when she lost in the opening round. Moreover, that’s her only win in her last four matches against the current top 10 and she’s lost five of seven matches when priced at 1.6-2.2 to win since returning from her ban as she’s consistently been overrated.

Pliskova is certainly a step up from Sharapova’s recent opponents and she’s in excellent form having won the recent title in Stuttgart and then reaching the semis in Madrid. She also reached the semis here a year ago as her record on clay has improved significantly over the past couple of years and she’s won her last five Grand Slam third round matches.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Pliskova Win at 2.04

Fernando Verdasco v Grigor Dimitrov

Dimitrov was pushed to the brink in the last round in a marathon lasting well over four hours. Having lost three consecutive matches in the run up to this fortnight the Bulgarian is clearly struggling to find his best form and, particularly on clay, he looks vulnerable. In seven previous visits to Roland Garros he’s never made it past the third round and has suffered four first round exits. Furthermore, he’s lost four of his last five matches against players currently ranked 11-50 and eight of his last 11 such matches on clay.

In contrast, Verdasco is very comfortable here and has made the fourth round here on six occasions, including 12 months ago. The Spanish veteran only just missed out on being seeded but he does have an ATP final to his name this season – on clay in Brazil – and he’s also beaten Dimitrov in 2018. If anything, Verdasco raises his game against the best players these days and since the start of 2017 he’s won eight of his 14 matches against the current top 10.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Fernando Verdasco to Win at 2.44


Katerina Siniakova v Barbora Strycova

Siniakova backed up her first round win over Victoria Azarenka to reach her second third round at a major. She’s now just a couple of wins from climbing to a new career high ranking and she’s enjoying a decent year as she reached the final in Shenzhen in January and reached the quarters and semis at two WTA events on clay in May. She also won a WTA title on clay last July when she beat top-10 players Caroline Garcia and Caroline Wozniacki in the semis and final. Moreover, she’s won 16 of her last 24 matches on clay when priced at 1.6-2.5.

In contrast, this is Strycova’s worst surface and she hadn’t won a match in more than three months prior to coming here as she’s suffered a loss of form since the Australian Open. Highlighting her weakness on clay is a record of just W6-L11 at Roland Garros since her first visit back in 2004 as she’s only once reached the third round and never bettered it.

These two Czech players have shared their two meetings since 2015 but it’s the younger player who looks to have the form and momentum right now to push on and reach the fourth round.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Katerina Siniakova to Win at 2.0

Pablo Cuevas v Kevin Anderson

Anderson sailed into round two but he promises to be tested more here against clay court specialist Cuevas. This is their first meeting in almost four years but the last time they went head to head it came down to a fifth set tie-break, with Anderson just edging things that day. However, the clay should play into Cuevas’s hands as Anderson won just six of his 13 sets on the dirt in his three warm-up events.

Cuevas was seeded as high as 22 here a year ago when he made the third round and while he’s struggled for form over the last 12 months he was impressive in beating Bedene in round one. With six ATP titles on clay, plus several Challenger titles, he’s certainly a dangerous opponent. Moreover, he’s won half his last 20 matches on clay against the current top 25 and he got some recent practice against a huge server in Madrid when he faced John Isner and didn’t face a single break point across all three sets (albeit he didn’t win the match). If he can keep that level of focus then he should have a great chance.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Pablo Cuevas to Win at 2.40


Angelique Kerber v Ana Bogdan

Ana Bogdan came through a tough opener against rising Czech star Marketa Vondrousova and now has her eyes set on a second consecutive third round Grand Slam appearance having also made it that far in Australia. With a couple of WTA semis to her name in 2018, including on the clay in Bogota, it’s been a successful season for the Romanian.

Kerber, meanwhile, has struggled to back up her early season form that saw her reach the semis at the Australian Open, as she’s suffered a couple of surprising defeats, and her record on clay suggests she’s vulnerable. This is the first time in three years that she’s made it past the third round and while she’s got a W11-L3 record on clay when shorter than 1.40 to win since 2016 she’s won only half those 14 matches in straight sets. We’d certainly consider laying the German but with Bogdan at a career high ranking and full of confidence she’s worth a punt to cause a major upset.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Ana Bogdan to Win at 6.20

Gilles Simon v Sam Querrey

These two met here five years ago when Simon ran out the winner after five sets. Querrey is the far higher ranked player this time around but he’d lost his opening matches at all three warm-up events he’d played on clay and with his wedding scheduled for the finals weekend his focus might not be 100%. Furthermore, that third round match with Simon five years ago is the only time Querrey has made it that far in 11 previous attempts at Roland Garros, as he’s lost his opener on eight occasions.

Simon, meanwhile, reached the final last week in Lyon and while his ranking has tumbled in the past 12 months it’s these sort of matches that should inspire him at this stage of his career. He’s reached the third round in six of the past seven years and has won 18 of 21 career matches on clay against Americans. More recently, while his ranking has suffered he’s actually won his last eight matches when priced at 1.5-2.5 – all since mid-March.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Simon to Win at 1.94


Mariana Duque Marino v Camila Giorgi

Giorgi took advantage of being drawn against one of the lesser qualifiers to advance with ease in the first round. However, she’s far from consistent and that explains why she’s failed to go past the third round at any of her last 18 Grand Slams. Furthermore, she’s never made the third round here with her high error-count not as compatible with clay as other surfaces.

Duque-Marino has won 14 of her last 16 matches and she’s very much a specialist on the dirt. She reached the third round here a year ago and she’s won seven of her last 12 matches on clay when the underdog – winning at least one set in 10 of those 12.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Duque Marino to Win at 2.8

LAY – 2-0 Giorgi at 2.3

Aljaž Bedene v Pablo Cuevas

Bedene is certainly the value as the outsider in this day one clash at Roland Garros. This is the first time the pair meet and we expect the higher-ranked Slovenian to show the form that took him to the Last 16 of Rome.

Bedene’s won 12 of his 18 clay court matches this season while Cuevas comes in here on the back of a first round exit in Rome to Cecchinato. Age seems to be catching up with Cuevas fast as the Argentine has just a 50% win rate on the dirt in 2018. That’s particularly worrying given clay is usually his best surface.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Bedene to Win at 2.12

Denis Shapovalov v John Millman

John Millman flies the flag for Australia on Day Three of the French Open as he faces up and coming youngster Denis Shapavalov. The Canadian is having a fine season on clay. His two defeats in the two clay Masters leading up to this Major were to both eventual winners.

In Madrid, Shapovalov lost just two sets defeating Sandgren, Paire, Raonic and Edmund on his way to his semi against Alexander Zverev, while in Rome he beat Berdych and Haase before losing to the greatest clay court player of all time.

Millman failed to qualify for either Masters event and his most recent outing on the dirt was a first-round loss to Juan Ignacio Londero in the opening round of the Heilbronn Challenger.

Shapovalov should prove far too strong here and we wouldn’t put anyone off backing a straight sets win.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Shapovalov to Win at 1.47

Kristyna Pliskova v Serena Williams

We can’t resist the best ever female sportsman at 1.53 in the first round of a Major even if she hasn’t played a game on this surface in over two years.

Kristyna is the much weaker of the two Pliskovas and a W/L record of 15-12 on tour this season is nothing to write home about. She will be facing the GOAT for the first time – for the stats-bods Serena’s lifetime W/L record is a quite incredible W790-L133.

The three-time Roland Garros champion is competing in her 16th French Open and she has only once fallen at the first hurdle. As we noted in our preview the draw to the Last 16 is favourable for Serena and who knows how strong she’ll be after a couple of games.

One thing we know for sure is that she wouldn’t be playing here if she didn’t feel 100%. That alone makes her an auto-back at these odds versus a limited opponent.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Serena Williams to Win at 1.53

Julia Goerges v Dominika Cibulkova

These two haven’t met since 2011 when Cibulkova came through in three sets and we think history will repeat itself again with the Slovak advancing to the second round.

Goerges comes into the tournament in poor form having suffered early exits in here last two events (Madrid and Nurnberg). In comparison, Cibulkova is in hot form having won all four matches in Strasbourg last week.

Goerges fell at the first hurdle in last years French Open and we can’t see why she’s so short to get over it this time around.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Cibulkova to Win at 2.2

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