Men's French Open Betting: Five potential first round upsets in Paris

Kei Nishikori's body may let him down yet again this week
Kei Nishikori's body may let him down yet again this week

The French Open gets underway on Sunday - weather permitting - and tennis expert Sean Calvert assesses the chances of some lively betting outsiders in round one...

"Klizan was beaten by eventual champion Ernests Gulbis in a deciding set in Nice earlier this week, but he's in good form, fit and should be a tough opponent for Kei, who says he's 'not 100 percent fit.'"

Back Klizan to beat Nishikori at 5.04/1


Of the 64 first round matches played a year ago 17 were won by the betting underdog and of those two were won when the favourite retired and the biggest priced win was that of Nick Kyrgios, who beat Radek Stepanek.

Kyrgios has a crack at Milos Raonic this time around and isn't without a chance, but here are my five most likely upsets.


Alejandro Falla vs Benoit Paire

Seemingly, Falla crops up rather a lot in these 'potential upset' articles and the Colombian, who always plays above himself in majors is here again - and this time not solely for that reason.

His opponent Paire has been struggling badly with injury for a long time now and he wasn't deemed fit enough to play singles in Nice last week.

The Frenchman hasn't won a match since beating Albert Montanes in Casablanca - his only win this clay swing - and Paire retired mid-match in both Barcelona and Madrid.

The knee has been the problem for Benoit for some time and it's shown little sign of improving. It has to be highly questionable as to whether it can stand up to a likely testing battle on clay with a fired-up Falla across the net.

It could be a case of survival of the fittest here, as Falla has had a foot problem too, but he loves a major and has a good chance another scalp here.


Andrey Golubev vs Andy Murray

This is by no means a gimme for Murray and if he produces one of his more lacklustre efforts he could easily be finding a return flight to London to prepare for the grass swing earlier than expected.

Golubev loves a grind in the clay and with an 80% chance of rain in Paris on Monday this match will probably be played in tough conditions and it could become a proper clay court test for the Brit, who is far from at home on the dirt.

Murray had the right conditions for gallant failure against Rafa Nadal in Rome, but this match is a world away from that night match at the Foro Italico in a cauldron-like atmosphere and we might see something closer than 1.11/10 suggests.

Golubev has beaten Stan Wawrinka and Fernando Verdasco of late and hopefully he's over the abductor strain that saw him pull out of Nice last week.

Murray has beaten Golubev easily in the past, but not on clay and the Kazakh has a shot in this one.


Richard Gasquet vs Bernard Tomic

There are plenty of injuries concerning French players this year and Gasquet is another, having not played a match since Miami in March due to a back problem and is nowhere near match fit or sharp.

He may not need to be against the ever tough to predict Tomic, who certainly doesn't enjoy the clay but could still be good enough to cause big problems for a likely below par Gasquet here.

The Gasman's back has been the problem and he has only recently begun to serve and play points in practice again.

There's a decent chance he may not even play this match, but if he does he looks vulnerable - even to Tomic on clay.


Martin Klizan vs Kei Nishikori

Yet another injury issue - this time surrounding the king of them all Nishikori - whose hip problem will not respond well to a grind on heavy clay with Klizan, who loves playing in slow, damp conditions.

Kei was last seen in Madrid taking it to Rafa Nadal and was a 1.42/5 shot to finish that match and tournament off having been tipped in these very pages at 36.035/1, but injury struck and he's been off court since.

Klizan, meanwhile, has been returning to form and won Munich on the clay in slow, damp conditions a few weeks ago, beating Tommy Haas, Fabio Fognini, Mikhail Youzhny and Denis Istomin after coming through qualifying.

The Slovak was beaten by eventual champion Ernests Gulbis in a deciding set in Nice earlier this week, but he's in good form, fit and should be a tough opponent for Kei, who says he's 'not 100% fit.'


Gael Monfils vs Victor Hanescu

Another Frenchman, another injury problem, and this time it's Lamonf who's the struggler, with an ankle problem that he incurred by walking onto court in Bucharest back in April.

Ironically, it could be a Bucharest native that takes advantage of Gael's lack of fitness and Hanescu, who was born and bred in the city, looks to beat Monfils for the third time on clay.

Victor beat Monfils in Bucharest way back in 2007 and again in their most recent meeting in 2011 in Stuttgart and he performed well last time out by making the semi finals in Oeiras.

Under normal circumstances Monfils should win, but his physical condition would have to be a major concern here.


Recommended Bets

Back Falla to beat Paire at 2.111/10
Back Golubev to beat Murray at 9.08/1
Back Tomic to beat Gasquet at 4.57/2
Back Klizan to beat Nishikori at 5.04/1
Back Hanescu to beat Monfils at 3.412/5

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