Match. Material. Strike. Flame. Money. Burn.
No excuses. Bad capping. No idea how Pella lost. No idea why Kohl wouldn’t retire. Shouldn’t have backed Gasquet as it was easy to see when he, literally, ran out of gas.
One day erased all the good I had accomplished in the first three days of the French. Fuck.
All the futures survived, which is a nice cushion. 500/1 into the third round, as predicted, though he’ll get the opponent I wanted to avoid (damn Tsonga). Nadal cruised again, despite a small bump in the road at the end. Hopefully good things for Pocket Kings today. And I made a pink promise, so I’ll add a quarter unit on Zverev at 25/1.
There’s not a whole lot to go on here. There are rather large statistical differences between Djokovic and Laaksonen. But, not Nadal-esque differences. An average hold/break difference of 10% across three years doesn’t dictate a -15000 line. Furthermore, Laaksonen has only played five grand slam matches and he has kept every one of them close. He won two and lost three, the only match he didn’t win a set was against Delpo at the US Open and he lost 64,76,76. As we’ve seen with Fed and Nadal this week, they aren’t out to cover huge spreads, they’re here to win matches and conserve energy. I’d play Laaksonen or avoid. Pass.
Caruso is somehow surviving. He dropped a set to Gombos in qualifying and Dustin Brown on clay (career .400), then he somehow got past Munar in round one. He won only 19 more points than Munar despite winning 6 more games and he generated 11 break points despite only winning 37% of the points on return - basically he capitalized. He broke five times and in four of those games, he only needed one break point chance. That is fairly unique. I also think it might be repeatable against a guy with a lacklustre serve. Alas, I don’t bet Simon matches. And Simon actually has a decent track record in the early rounds of the French. I just don’t think he should be -334. Caruso plus the games or avoid. Pass for me.
It feels like I’ve been fading Albot for awhile. And it hasn’t been working out. But, here’s the thing; he isn’t very good on clay. The guys he beat in Geneva (Sonego, Londero, Dzumhur) and the guy he beat in round one here (Sandgren) are nothing special. Sonego is still fairly young, Londero doesn’t have much of a track record outside South America and Dzumhur and Sandgren are below 0.500 players on the surface. Struff also isn’t over 0.500 on clay but, he is getting better all the time and getting closer to that magical mark. He went 15-10 last year on the surface and his combined hold/break numbers on clay have gotten better each year. Struff also faced much tougher competition in round one here at Roland Garros and dispatched him in straights, while Albot struggled with Sandgren (four sets, two tiebreaks). I’ll back Struff.
Man, there are a ton of massive favorites on Thursday. A full half of the sixteen matches are lined with favorites of -800 or greater. It’s hard for me to analyze these because, the favorite almost inevitably wins and your are basically handicapping whether it happens in three sets or four (for all the “drama” and “upsets” on Wednesday, there were 11 matches with a favorite lined at -250 or greater and only TWO of them lost, that being Pella at -450 and Kohl at -900; the other “big” upsets were Cilic -225 and Berrettini -225). I am sure Coric wins this and I would imagine he wins in three sets but, even straight sets is lined at -175. Can he cover -7.5? Probably but, like Federer, Nadal and Djoker, if he gets up two sets to love, that third set will certainly be 6-4 or 7-5. So, does he win the first two sets 62,64 or 63,63? Or get a breadstick in there? Tough to say. In 35 career Slam matches Coric has only put up a 62 or a 61 in the opening set six times. I’ll pass on this.
How much does the Fog care? He has never gone past the quarters here and he’ll have to face, presumably, Zverev on Monday and Djoker on Wednesday should he choose to make it that far. He has struggled with Delbonis on clay before - they have played seven times and basically split the head-to-head with Delbonis actually winning twice on clay in the last three years. Delbonis’ record at the French is atrocious and neither guy had an impressive win in round one. Nor are their clay stats that dissimilar (of course you can chalk that up largely to Fog’s care factor - when he chooses to, he can vastly outplay those numbers). This is not a match I want to get involved in. If you to play it, maybe the over, however be advised that books see the same thing and have lined this at 37.5 instead of 35.5 like most other matches. Pass.
These two just played and that is never a good sign for whoever was the vanquisher in the first meeting. Fritz won in a tight three sets and I could easily see this going the other way. Their clay court stats are fairly close but, RBA has the better of them across the board and in the heightened stakes of a Slam, I could easily see him winning. Fritz’s win over Tomic in round one was his first ever at the French and not to be a downer but, it doesn’t mean anything - Tomic hates clay and barely showed up. I’m on RBA.
The Lajovic slump was real. Monteiro on clay is a decent scalp though. And a 20 year French qualifier may be just what the doctor ordered to get Lajovic on a roll. I don’t know enough about Benchetrit to make a case that he can upset the Serb and with the form that Norrie has I don’t know how much stock to put into Bench’s win in round one (he fucking destroyed Norrie). The stats obviously all line up in Lajovic’s favour but, I ‘ll gladly pass on this match.
I took out a future on Zverev just based on the incredible size of the outright number. And because, despite all his faults, I still think he can persevere to the quarters where, well, we’ll see what happens with Djoker. Zverev is making a mess of every match he plays - just look back to Geneva or round one here. This line is absurd considering the German’s form. But, you can’t trust Ymer who doesn’t have a ton of ATP level success outside of Sweden. I’m out on this match. I’ll just hope AZ gets it done in three or four so he can conserve some kind of energy and maybe re-group for Lajovic on Saturday. Pass.
I said Thiem might struggle this year at the French and he was a third set tiebreak collapse away from being in some real trouble in round one. Tommy Paul was playing great and up 4-0 in that tiebreak before he felt the nerves. He won one more point and only two more games. Today’s task is way easier for Thiem. A round one upset over Rudi Molleker was Bublik’s first win on clay in 2019. He went 1-5 last year. Bubik has never played the French before and in fact only has three Slam matches to his name prior to this week. He certainly did not cover the +9.5 line against Murray at Wimbledon (although he performed much better on hards at the Aussie). I suspect this may be a loose match from Thiem, akin to the fourth set against Tommy Paul. Things are going to drastically ramp up for Thiem on Saturday, so he is one big seed who won’t be looking to ease through matches. He’ll want to put the hammer down and I could see a 62,63,62 type of scoreline. He has covered similar spreads against similarly ranked players in the first three rounds in previous years - Ivashka and Berrettini last year; Tomic, Bolelli, Johnson and Zeballos last year. Thiem on the big handicap.
Edmund had to struggle past Chardy in five sets over two days. I suspect he is young enough that it shouldn’t affect him too much, especially since he had Wednesday off anyway. I hope Cuevas wins this so he can trouble Thiem but, the hold/break stats from the last two seasons are actually really close, as is the career winning percentage. Like the Fog/Delbonis match, this has been lined up at 37.5 games instead of the more common 35.5. I’ll pass on this altogether.
Like Coric, Verdasco has massive statistical edges but, unlike Thiem, I’m not sure Verdasco ever shows urgency. i have no doubt Verdasco wins but, he is always capable of dropping a set and I don’t think he’ll be racing to win 62 sets. Conveniently, his spread is only -6.5. That feels odd and further scares me - Zverev, Monfils, Coric and Delpo are all at -7.5. I’ll pass on this match.
Might we have a motivated Monfils? He laid the smack down on Taro Daniel in round one. The issue with that is Monfils has a bit of a history with that, and then disappointing in the next round. At the Aussie this year he dispatched Dzumhur in round one 60,64,60 then lost in round two. At the US Open he also served up two bagels, this time to Bagnis. He retired down two sets in round two. The one place he has backed it up is at the French. In 2009 he smoked Bobby Reynolds in round one and then covered -7.5 in round two against a guy I’ve never heard of. In 2017 he smoked Dustin Brown and then backed it up by smoking Thiago Monteiro. Last year at the French he covered -7.5 against Benchetrit and then covered -7.5 against Klizan. He has lost to Mannarino twice before but, they were both on grass. The much slower surface here should swing this in Monfils’ favour and I expect him to win big. He is having a banner year (when he has played) and I think he could be motivated to win a few rounds (the statistical differences on clay with Mannarino also make me feel comfortable, obviously).
Khachanov, like Monfils, has massive clay numbers in comparison to his opponent. And is lined appropriately at -1000. What is weird though, is that while Coric, Delpo, Monfils, etc have spreads of -7.5 and Verdasco is at -6.5, Khachanov is only at -5.5. My first thought, well, books must be expecting tiebreaks. And sure enough Barrere plays a bunch. On this Euro clay swing through April and March he has played eight tiebreaks in ten matches. But, he has only played ONE guy ranked in the 90. Lucas Pouille. And he lost 16,36. Khachanov should thump this guy. I’ll bite on what seems to be a “trap” line.
Speaking of Lucas Pouille. He hasn’t had the best season, since seemingly peaking at the Aussie. He played Bolelli in round one and that wasn’t a huge obstacle. Klizan is solid on clay, has much better hold/break numbers on this surface over the past two years, had to come through a treacherous five setter with Kukushkin and can keep up with Pouille in the tiebreak department. Klizan won 34 matches on dirt in 2018, he loves this stuff. Pouille won 3. This seems like a big price and I’ll take it.
I don’t want to bet on a Karlo tiebreak, coin flip match and Delpo should cruise but, has a big line. I’ll pass on both.
Struff/RBA ml, +108
Thiem -9.5, -110
Monfils -7.5, -120
Khachanov -5.5, -138
Klizan ml, +200