Tennis specialist Craig Vickers (@craigvickers_) previews day nine of the men’s French Open and provides us with his best bets for the second Grand Slam of the year.
- 2019 Profit & Loss: +15.2pts
- Date: 26 May-9 June
- Venue: Stade Roland Garros, Paris, France
- Channel: Eurosport UK
Monday marks day nine at the 2019 French Open as we conclude fourth round action in the men’s draw.
There was no preview for Sunday’s action although, reflecting back to our bets the previous day, we scored our first successful double of the tournament.
Jan-Lennard Struff landed us a 2/1 winner when he edged out Borna Coric in five sets, while Dusan Lajovic, as he did twelve months ago, took Alexander Zverev to a deciding set but ultimately came up short.
On Sunday, however, we lost our quarter outright, Stefanos Tsitsipas, in a heartbreaking five-set loss to Stan Wawrinka.
The Greek converted only five of his 27 break point chances and he appeared utterly distraught in his post-match press conference, although the prospect of an all-Swiss quarter-final between Wawrinka and Roger Federer on Tuesday is mouthwatering from a neutral perspective.
Our remaining outright bet, Juan Martin del Potro, could seal his place in the last eight if he defeats Karen Khachanov later today.
And of the four men’s matches on offer on Monday it will be Dominic Thiem’s clash with Gael Monfils – the winner could face del Potro in the quarter-finals – that warrants a closer look.
Thiem hasn’t had it all his own way through the opening three rounds in Paris, requiring four sets to dispatch each of his opponents, and it could be a similar tussle with the Frenchman on Court Philippe-Chatrier at around 1:30PM GMT.
What has characterised the Austrian’s performance thus far has been brief wobbles before ultimately refocusing and flexing his clay-court muscles.
Tommy Paul – through dropping his forehand shorter to create better angles – and Alexander Bublik – with his unorthodox style of play – made inroads in Thiem’s game last week and Pablo Cuevas did likewise by snatching set two in the third round on Saturday.
Monfils doesn’t hit with fearsome power and the Austrian will enjoy having the ability to shape rallies considering the Frenchman’s deep position behind the baseline, but Thiem is still vulnerable considering the level Monfils has exhibited at times this week.
The Austrian has won all four of their previous matches and he should prove too powerful for Monfils even if the support will swing heavily in the other direction on the main court, but Thiem to win 3-1 seems the safer option and at 3/1 it is definitely worth a shot.
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic has been imperious thus far in Paris, but his focus will sharpen with Jan-Lennard Struff standing on the other side of the net.
The German is available at a staggering +8.5 games on the handicap at 10/11, which is curious pricing considering Djokovic has failed to cover that handicap in all three of his previous matches against lesser opponents.
He was also troubled during the early exchanges by the unheralded Salvatore Caruso in the last round, fending off four break points in the first set as the Italian swung for the hills.
Struff strikes a heavy ball and his confidence will be soaring after reaching the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career, which will make him a very dangerous proposition in the opening set.
His physical state is a concern, however, having played a lengthy match with Coric two days ago, and Djokovic is still the heavy favourite considering the level he has exhibited since the Madrid Open, but it would take a near-flawless display for the Serbian to cover the 8.5 game handicap.
With that in mind, we’ll take Struff to cover the handicap.