The third round of the French Open gets underway on Friday with eight matches taking place on the men's schedule. Dan Weston is back to discuss the day ahead...
"The price is basically assuming Medvedev is around a top-ten clay courter which is certainly questionable - and we can look at Opelka from a game handicap perspective."
Nadal still odds on to lift the trophy
Our four match winning streak was snapped yesterday with Facundo Bagnis losing to Jan-Lennard Struff, on a day where bigger names and favourites tended to get the job done. Aslan Karatsev's defeat to Philipp Kohlschreiber was probably the biggest shock, while Gael Monfils lost to Mikael Ymer - although it's important to point out that the current version of Monfils isn't, in my view, close to his peak.
After his straight set win over Richard Gasquet, Rafa Nadal is now the 1.814/5 tournament favourite to lift the trophy, with Novak Djokovic 5.95/1 and Stefanos Tsitsipas 8.415/2 the only other players in single-digit pricing, and after that victory, Nadal has won his last nine matches at Roland Garros in straight sets in a run which goes back to the final of 2019.
Fognini versus Djere a tough match to predict
In today's matches, there's a couple of spots which I'm keen to discuss. We mentioned the other day that Fabio Fognini is supremely inconsistent, but we are probably seeing 'good Fognini' so far in the tournament, having won twice in straight sets so far. Today he faces Federico Delbonis and if it wasn't for Delbonis having played a five-setter last time out against Pablo Andujar, I'd be fairly keen on the Argentine at 2.707/4.
This accumulated fatigue may also beset our hero of the early rounds, Laslo Djere, who has now played nine sets across his two wins to get to this stage. He's been on court for exactly eight hours so far and that's not really a positive before he faces top ten opposition in Alexander Zverev. Based on Djere's clay ability, Zverev looks short at 1.192/11, but there is that fatigue concern around Djere.
Opelka can compete with Medvedev
One player who has somewhat surprisingly impressed on clay this year is Reilly Opelka, with the big-serving American reaching the final of the Rome Masters (lost 4-6 4-6 to Rafa Nadal) and he's got past two clay-courters so far to get to the third round in Andrej Martin and Jaume Munar without absurd difficulty.
Today, Opelka faces Daniil Medvedev, who has been mediocre on clay both this year and in recent years compared to his hard court levels, and after wins against Alexander Bublik and Tommy Paul, the market now seems convinced that Medvedev has found his feet on clay and has chalked him up as the 1.3030/100 favourite to win this afternoon.
I don't agree with this at all based on numbers - the price is basically assuming Medvedev is around a top-ten clay courter which is certainly questionable - and we can look at Opelka from a game handicap perspective.
For a big-server, the +5.5 game line looks quite generous in favour of Opelka, and while the Exchange market is still forming for the game handicap, general market pricing suggests it will settle around the 1.774/5 mark.
Isner will need tiebreaks to defeat Tsitsipas
Finally, another big-server in action today is John Isner, who is likely to have to win tiebreaks and excel at key points if he is to defeat third-favourite Tsitsipas, but we've seen him do it before so shouldn't be ruled out even at a current 7.006/1. My model has the first set tiebreak at around a 43% chance, so across three sets, at least one tiebreak occuring is a high chance here even with such a pricing differential between the two players.
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