Big names ease through - Djokovic and Nadal
Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal got down to business with minimal fuss yesterday with easy victories, although Stan Wawrinka was unable to set up a clash what would have been a fascinating clash with Nadal featuring two previous winners at Roland Garros, with the Swiss man losing to Corentin Moutet in four sets.
Heavy favourites - Medvedev has plenty to prove
The market is expecting several other top players to get the job done easily today as well, with Daniil Medvedev, Jannik Sinner and Stefanos tsitsipas all overwhelming favourites for their first round matches. Casper Ruud, against the soon to retire Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, also fits into that bracket as well.
It's tough to dispute the majority of these, although Medvedev still has plenty to prove on clay. However, he will face tougher challenges than the Argentine veteran Facundo Bagnis, who retired last week in Geneva when a set down to Nikoloz Basilashvili. The time will come to fade Medvedev, but I'm not sure today is the time. I also think that Lorenzo Musetti could well give Stefanos Tsitsipas a tough time in the evening match, with the talented Italian still inconsistent but having plenty of upside.
Even money matches - Rune and Shapovalov
For today's value discussion, I want to focus on several clashes where the market is anticipating a more competitive match. The first is Denis Shapovalov against the Danish teenager Holger Rune, who has already started to create a decent reputation on clay on the main tour.
Rune actually has better clay data than Shapovalov in the last 12 months, having an almost 4% return points won edge over the Canadian, who has a slightly smaller advantage on serve - albeit with Shapovalov generally playing higher level opposition in bigger tournaments.
Both players featured last week in warm-up events, with Shapovalov losing his opener in Geneva to Ilya Ivashka, while Rune was defeated in a narrow three-setter in the semi-final in Lyon by eventual winner Cameron Norrie. So, there's quite a lot of evidence to suggest Rune will be competitive here and it's not a huge surprise to see the market correct itself and shorten Rune into a current 2.166/5 from an initial price in excess of 2.506/4.
Slight favourite - anti-Humbert play
The home crowd will be behind Ugo Humbert against Emil Ruusuvuori, but the Frenchman has a woeful record on clay on the main tour, winning just twice in the last 12 months on the dirt. His underlying data isn't disastrous, but opponent Ruusuvuori should have too much here - and probably deserves to be a little shorter than the 1.738/11 market line.
It's not a huge lean, but Ruusuvuori is today's selection - it's not really a pro-Ruusuvuori play, with both players more at home on hard courts, but more of an anti-Humbert play. On a day where there's not an abundance of value, I'm with the Finn today.
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