The second round of the singles action in the French Open concludes around the grounds at Roland Garros on Thursday when the players yet to step out onto the court since their first round win finally get the chance to do so.
It is a rare day in the early stages of a Grand Slam where we get the chance to watch the three greatest men to have played the game in action, with a decent line up in the women’s draw to accompany them on what looks like being a great day of tennis.
Day 4 Recap
It was a day where the big names in the main made it through, mostly cruising through to the third round but the odd one or two were made to work harder than they would have liked. There were straight sets wins for the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Fabio Fognini, Alexander Zverev, Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka while Daniil Medvedev and Serena Williams made it through but both dropped a set in doing so. Roberto Bautista Agut and Belinda Bencic were among the seeded casualties.
It was finally a winning day for us in this tournament although not nearly enough of one to eat into the losses of the first round but at least we are beginning to turn things in the right direction. The profit came from Daria Kasatkina who took Bencic to the cleaners. Annoyingly Guido Pella couldn’t follow it up. Despite serving for the first set he went on to lose that and while he offered resistance in the third just wasn’t good enough.
Philippe Chatrier Court
There is a really good schedule on the main Philippe Chatrier Court on Thursday and it kicks off with the 2019 champion and world number one Ash Barty taking to the court. She has a date with Magda Linette before Karolina Plsikova meets Sloane Stephens in one of the better looking women’s matches of the day. The day session then concludes with the great Roger Federer in action. He meets the former US Open champion Marin Cilic in a repeat of the 2017 Wimbledon Final. The night session sees Rafael Nadal looking to continue his dominance of this tournament. He takes on the home star Richard Gasquet.
Suzanne Lenglen Court
Elina Svitolina gets the honour of opening the show on the second court on Thursday when she meets the lowly ranked American player Ann Li before her fiancé Gael Monfils is back on the court. The enigmatic Frenchman meets Mikael Ymer. World number one Novak Djokovic is surprisingly shunted out to this court on Thursday. He faces Pablo Cuevas in match three on this court before the action concludes with Anett Kontaveit taking on another home player in Kiki Mladenovic.
Simonne Mathieu Court
The powerful Italian player Matteo Berrettini gets the action up and running on the third court on Thursday when he meets Federico Coria in what might be an awkward clash. Two more Italians step onto the court after him when the exciting youngster Jannik Sinner takes on his countryman Gianluca Mager. It is the women who conclude the action on this court. Jennifer Brady meets another home player in Fiona Ferro before the defending champion Iga Swiatek looks to get the better of Rebecca Peterson.
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Best of the Rest
There is still enough quality on the outside courts in the singles draws mixed in around the doubles action for us to enjoy. Sofia Kenin, Diego Schwartzman and Elise Mertens are the star qualify on Court 14 while the crowds will get to see players like Ons Jabeur, Aslan Karatsev and Coco Gauff on Court 7. Karolina Muchova, Taylor Fritz, Alex de Minaur and Jessica Pegula are some of the other seeded players in singles action.
I’ll take two bets in the men’s draw on Thursday with the first of them coming in the form of the clay court specialist Marco Cecchinato, the former semi-finalist in this competition. He meets Alex de Minaur who will give his all as always but he looks short of weapons to come through this match. These two met in the tournament last year and the Italian brushed the Australian aside without dropping a set. I’ve seen little since to suggest that anything different is going to occur here. I have Cecchinato a lot shorter for this so I’m happy to indulge here.
The other bet I like is for over 35.5 games in the match between Cameron Norrie and Lloyd Harris. Norrie never does things the easy way in Grand Slams so it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise in the world if he ends up being taken the distance here. He is in good form though having made two clay court event finals in the last couple of months and that confidence can serve him well in the tight moments. Harris was very good in dumping out Lorenzo Sonego in the first round and a repeat of that will make more than a match of things here. I’m expecting these two to have to slug it out for a while to determine a winner, long enough for over 35.5 games to land.
There is just the one bet which catches my eye on Thursday as the women are concerned and that comes in the first match up on one of the outside courts where Ons Jabeur is in action. While I recognise she has improved a lot over the last few years, I can’t help but think she is worth taking on. I say that for a couple of reasons. The first of those is that Jabeur has been inactive a fair bit recently due to injury and the second is that in her only meeting with Astra Sharma, the Australian actually beat her in the final of one of the Charleston events on clay.
I probably would have left the match well alone had Sharma not then looked pretty good in the first round here suggesting that her win in Charleston was no fluke. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see her follow up that win with another one here but given how the week has gone so far for me I’m happy to edge on the side of caution here and take advantage of the rather large handicap line on offer here to the tune of 5.5 games.
WON – Back M.Cecchinato to beat A.de Minaur for a 3/10 stake at 1.80 with Bet365
WON – Back C.Norrie vs L.Harris – Over 35.5 games for a 3/10 stake at 1.80 with Betway
Back A.Sharma (+5.5 games) to beat O.Jabeur for a 3/10 stake at 1.73 with William Hill
Back her here: