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French Open Betting: Dimitrov looks underrated by the market ahead of Wawrinka clash

French Open Betting: Dimitrov looks underrated by the market ahead of Wawrinka clash

Round three of the 2019 French Open begins on Friday in Paris and Sean Calvert is back to assess the eight men’s singles matches on day six.

Once again it was a case on Thursday of the underdogs on my shortlist doing better (much better) than the one I plumped for, as an injured Kyle Edmund retired against Pablo Cuevas, while Salvatore Caruso, Leo Mayer (and probably Martin Klizan) won.

Even the outright situation now looks bad, with Juan Martin Del Potro seemingly having a recurrence of his knee injury early on in a five set struggle over Yoshihito Nishioka.

We’re into round three in Paris and this round, historically, is the one that usually sees the most tie breaks, with 49% of the matches featuring one over the last six years (50% in the last three years).

It also has a slightly better record than rounds one, two and four when it comes to underdog winners, with 25% of them winning in the last six years, which is still below average, but better than the measly percentage on offer in other rounds.

Conditions look about perfect for tennis on Friday, with minimal wind and no chance of rain in 24C heat, if the forecast is correct, and I’m finding it harder to make up a shortlist of viable underdogs today.

Three injury prone sorts that have played a lot of tennis and are likely to be jaded are Nicolas Mahut, Benoit Paire and Filip Krajinovic, while Grigor Dimitrov is still grumbling about his shoulder problems and Pablo Carreno Busta is only just back from injury.

Unless Rafa Nadal is injured (and he has been less than crystal clear about how he is in interviews, unsurprisingly) David Goffin has very little chance indeed against the Spaniard on Chatrier.

Then we have the inexperienced Casper Ruud who faces an opponent old enough to be his father (indeed Ruud’s father played at the same as Roger Federer here once) and Ruud may well find the occasion too big for him.

So, pick the bones out of that lot.

If we start with Pablo Carreno Busta versus Benoit Paire, this one has been a good match-up for Paire over the years and he’s won the last three encounters between them, including in Barcelona quite recently, but that was very early in the PCB comeback.

The difference between them has mainly been Paire’s first serve getting him 10% more points than PCB’s first delivery (on all surfaces and clay only), as it’s PCB that’s won more points on second serve.

Had Paire not played a ton of tennis in the last week on a dodgy back I may have chanced Paire here, but surely he’ll be fatigued by now.

Filip Krajinovic is another who’s likely to be struggling physically and on clay at main level in his 25 career matches he’s only held serve 66.2% of the time and struggled against the better players.

Much of his good clay run lately has been in Challengers and against the likes of Albot and Herbert at main level, so combined with likely fitness issues and probably nerves as well on Chatrier I’d expect Stefanos Tsitsipas to win pretty handily.

If Nicolas Mahut is fit I wouldn’t be surprised to see him trouble the erratic Leonardo Mayer by trying to take Mayer’s time away with net play and aggression, but it’s a tall order for Mahut to get more out of his 37-year-old body after his efforts so far.

Mayer’s been serving well so far, but if he doesn’t continue that against Mahut and the Frenchman starts to get inspired again I wouldn’t be comfortable holding a betting slip on Mayer at 1.26 (he’s lost two of his last four matches when priced up in the 1.20-1.30 price range).

But at the prices I think I’ll have to take a small chance on Grigor Dimitrov against Stanislas Wawrinka, with the Swiss being priced up on one great match, where he hit all his spots against Cristian Garin.

This career series has been full of surprises, with the underdog winning in five of their last six clashes (and the one that wasn’t was more or less an even money match).

Stan won the two major meetings last year (as underdog both times) but it’s 4-4 overall in their series and Dimitrov has won two of the three on clay and has held serve slightly more often in the series on all surfaces (81.1% plays 80.2%).

On clay only Dimitrov has held serve 8% more often against Wawrinka and if his shoulder allows him to serve well again he looks about the most likely of the underdogs on Friday.

There are two issues with Dimitrov here: one is the shoulder problem and the other is a long five setter the other day, but he hasn’t had much tennis this year, so that match may actually have done him more good mentally than to his detriment physically.

That win against Marin Cilic was probably the best he’s played for a while and I think if he makes over 60% of his first serves (career average on clay is 62.5%) as he did against Cilic the +4.5 games handicap looks the bet here.

Stan has been very up and down and it’s asking a lot for him to play as well and hit as many lines as he did against Garin, which makes his price rather short to me.

It’s a risky one with Dimitrov’s shoulder issues, but it doesn’t look the most appealing of betting days on Friday.

Kei Nishikori should prove just a bit too good for Laslo Djere, who is playing well, but perhaps lacks that extra quality against someone like Nishikori, whose struggles lately have been against opponents with more weaponry than Djere.

And Juan Ignacio Londero will probably be too much for Corentin Moutet, who’s played above himself so far and his win over Guido Pella has to be tempered by Pella’s later admission: “I was not going to say anything, but the preparation I did to come here went wrong. After training with Thiem I hurt my back and almost did not play.”

I wouldn’t count Moutet out of this one by any means, with the French crowd likely to aid his cause, but I’m not sure I fancy him at 2.80 against a durable clay courter like Londero.

Best Bet

0.5 points win Dimitrov +4.5 games to beat Wawrinka at 2.04






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Sean Calvert
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