Welcome to Day 1 of the French Open 2013 Tournament. There are two matches that stand out for me today so lets get stuck right into things on Day 1. I am always cautious round 1, but hopefully my tips match up with yours!
Match 1 – David Ferrer vs Marinko Matosevic
Here we have it, one of the Aussie hopes up against arguably one of the best claycourters of recent years. Marinko Matosevic absolutely has his work cut out for him today, and I will show you a couple of key stats from Roland Garros’ past that back this up.
Some players like to cruise in the early rounds. They like to get on the court, coast, do what needs to be done (break once a set) and get off the court. Some others, like Ferrer, grind right from the first point.
Looking from 2010 onwards, David Ferrer has been absolutely brutal in the early rounds of the French Open. Let’s break down each of the first two rounds of the last 3 years.
- Round 1 – Defeated Guez 6-1 6-3 6-1 (total: 23 games)
- Round 2 – Defeated Malisse 6-2 6-2 2-0 RET
- Round 1 – Defeated Nieminen 6-3 6-3 6-1 (total: 25 games)
- Round 2 – Defeated Benneteau 6-3 6-4 6-2 (total: 27 games)
- Round 1 – Defeated Lacko 6-3 6-4 6-1 (total: 26 games)
- Round 2 – Defeated Paire 6-3 6-3 6-2 (total: 26 games)
So as you can see, he likes to do the business quickly, winning 5/5 in 27 games or less, and the other match where Malisse retired was heading for the same result. He loves the early stages.
You can have a look at how Ferrer has gone in the lead-up to Roland Garros in years past, and it is quite similar. He isn’t destroying players in the lead-up, he is getting some solid court time and some solid matches under his belt. He was ruthless in Acapulco, until meeting Nadal, made the final of Estoril and has come up against Nadal more times than most this year.
Ferrer loves Grand Slams. He loves the grind of best of 5 set tennis. He loves to absolutely wear you down to the ground, and Matosevic is going to find that out the hard way here I believe.
It is tough for Aussies on the clay. It isn’t our preferred surface, purely because we don’t grow up on it. It is foreign to us to an extent, and Matosevic is showing us that in 2013 on the clay.
After defeating a severely out-of-sorts Fernando Verdasco (at the time), it has been ugly viewing for Matosevic. Losses to Nadal 1-6 2-6, Troicki 6-7 3-6, Florian Mayer 2-6 6-4 2-6, Tobias Kamke 5-7 2-6, Florian Mayer again 2-6 7-6 4-6 and finally Robin Haase 1-6 4-6. Not exactly promising viewing there.
His wins during that time? Defeated 350th ranked Kevin Krawietz 6-2 6-4 and Alejandro Gonzalez due to retirement at 4-4 in the 3rd set.
The Final Word
I cannot go past the under 27.5 games at Bet365 here. Ferrer has Matosevic covered in absolutely every aspect of this match. I really cannot see Marinko getting anywhere near Ferrer in any set in my opinion. I was incredibly impressed by the most recent Ferrer-Nadal match. Ferrer is becoming more aggressive, more assertive, yet at the same time keeping his unforced errors down.
This has a 6-3 6-2 6-2 feel to it, and I cannot see Ferrer affording Matosevic any easy service games. This is a horrible match-up for the style of play of Matosevic, who has beaten 2 top 125 players on clay in his career (Verdasco and Kukushkin). It just isn’t great viewing and I believe Ferrer will put on an absolute masterclass tonight.
Suggested Bet Ferrer/Matosevic under 27.5 games at $1.72 at Bet365
Game 2 – Milos Raonic vs Xavier Malisse
Generally when I look to suggest a bet, it is due to backing a player I perceive to be in great form. Rarely is it opposing someone for playing absolutely terrible tennis. This match however, is a combination of both.
Milos has had a bit on an indifferent year, but considering his age and style of play, you almost have to expect it a little bit on the clay. A quote recently from him gave us a little insight to how he is feeling and how he is tracking: “My clay game has improved tremendously and now I play these clay events, including the French Open, with much more confidence and much more expectation of myself.”
Milos is very much a confidence player, and he has played some solid claycourt tennis this year. Wins over Davydenko, Robredo, Gulbis and Roger-Vasselin aren’t the worst form going around. 2 of his 4 losses on the clay this season (vs Nieminen and Verdasco) came in 3rd set tiebreaks, and the other losses vs a rampant Nadal and an in-form Kohlschreiber 6-7 4-6. He can be forgiven that day vs Kohlschreiber, as the windy conditions were absurd and played right into the hands of Philipp.
The key stat for Raonic here will be the 2nd serves. He is 7-1 on clay the last 12 months when he wins over 53% of 2nd serves. On clay the last 12 months Malisse has averaged only 44% of points won on opponents 2nd serve, not a great sign when coming up against Raonic.
The last 12 months clay form for Malisse is incredibly ugly. 2 wins and 5 losses. Of course it all depends on who you are playing, and if you hold your own against your opponent. That is where is becomes troubling. Let’s break down the clay form since this time last year.
- Defeated by Brian Baker 3-6 6-7 6-7
- Not what you want the slightest for your first round, knocked out by what turned out to be one of the stories of Roland Garros 2012. Still though, not to win a set is incredibly poor.
- Defeated by Grigor Dimitrov 3-6 2-6
- Served at 51%, won 55% of 1st serves, 44% of 2nd serves, broke once, broken 4 times. Not ideal.
- Defeated by Santiago Giraldo 1-6 2-6
- Served 51%, won 56% of 1st serves. 33% of 2nd serves, didn’t earn a break point, broken 7 times. Uninspiring, again.
- Defeated by Denis Istomin 3-6 2-6
- Served 66%, won 63% on 1st serve, 35% on 2nd serve, earnt 1 break point, broken 3 times. This against someone who loathes the clay.
- Defeated 135th ranked Daniel Munoz De La Nava 1-6 7-6 6-2
- Took 2 hours to defeat the Spainard, winning a much higher % of first serve points (76%) getting him over the line, albeit winning less total points.
- Defeated 843rd ranked Pere Riba 6-4 3-6 6-3
- And you’d hope he would, even though Riba is far far better than the ranking suggests.
- Defeated by Andrey Kuznetsov 2-6 1-3 RET
- All sorts of bad. I rate Kuznetsov but 40% of 1st serves won’t get you too far. Broken 3 times in the 1.5 sets.
So he struggled over the line when he should have won easily, and he was absolutely smashed (not winning a set) when he has lost in the last 12 months.
Malisse is a classic case of a guy just waiting to hit the grass court. He isn’t a claycourter, and 12-25 since 2006 on clay at ATP level backs that statement up. Of the 22 completed losses, 17 have been in straight sets, and a lot against players far far worse on clay than Raonic.
This has a very straight sets feel to it. I also like the under 33.5 games available at Bet365, for those that way inclined.
This has a 6-4 6-4 6-2 vibe to it. That being said IF this starts well, you need to remember Malisse loves a retirement, so it isn’t over until it is over. The stats say if Malisse is going to go down, it will be in straight sets.
Suggested Bet Raonic 3-0 at $1.75 at Betfair
NOTE OTHER OPTION ->
Under 33.5 games at $1.72 at Bet365
NO TIEBREAK at $1.80 at Bet365
Gilles Simon -6.5 games vs Lleyton Hewitt at $1.74 at Sportsbet/IASbet
Lleyton Hewitt hasn’t won on clay since Roland Garros 2010. 2010!!!!! That being said, only 5 matches on the red stuff. 5 matches in 3 years isn’t enough. Injuries have taken their toll on poor Lleyton, and history would suggest that he really doesn’t match up well against Simon, never getting beyond 3 games in 6 sets against the Frenchman.
Gilles should have too much class here. Hewitt just hasn’t been on the court enough of late to impact this match in my opinion.
5 Set Refund
Below are probably the ones that are the best outsiders to be a genuine chance.
1) Duckworth (vs Kavcic)
2) Steve Darcis (vs Michael Llodra)
3) Denis Kudla (vs Jan Hajek)
4) Leo Mayer (vs Andreas Seppi)
Solid Multi Legs/Plays to consider
– Kavcic/Duckworth over 3.5 sets
– Darcis/Llodra over 3.5 sets
– Serena Williams 1st set under 8.5 games
– Hajek/Kudla over 3.5 sets
Questions for Today
1) Is Pablo Carreno-Busta going to live up to the hype?
2) Is this the last time Hewitt will grace the courts of Roland Garros?
3) Will the cold conditions play into the hands of the big servers?
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk.
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By Carine06 from UK (David Ferrer Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons