My tennis picks for Day three of the French Open suffered from the crazy odds on Nadal which didn't work out. Day Four offers nice odds in the men’s draw and an interesting battle of two talented women.
Sabine Lisicki vs. Daria Gavrilova
The Russian/Australian has been making some serious noise on tour this season, with a 9-2 record on clay, including five wins on the main tour for the 21 year old who is ranked 46 in the world.
She beat Johanna Larsson in the first round 6-1 7-6 to set up this clash with the German fans’ favourite. Before getting to Paris Gavrilova had reached the semi-finals in Rome beating Ana Avanovic (ranked seven in the world), Timea Bacsinszky (24) and Christian McHale (66). She eventually lost to world number two Maria Sharapova, who must have been in the mood for revenge.
Sharapova was dumped out of Miami in the round of 64 by Gavrilova in straight sets (7-6 6-3).
Lisicki hasn’t had a very good season on dirt so far, with a losing 3-4 record. Among the players who have beaten her are Pavlyuchenkova (ranked 34), Vandeweghe (33), Bacsinszky (24) and Arruabarrena (79).
For me the German isn’t as confident as her opponent and their games against Bacsinszky is excellent collateral form, demonstrating clay gives the Russian/Australian the edge here in a pick ‘em.
Tennis Pick: Gavrilova win 1.83 (5/6)
Benoit Paire vs Fabio Fognini
The Frenchman’s only advantage in this match is the home crowd in my opinion, with a disappointing clay court season so far and a real struggle against world number 152 Gastao Elias 5-7 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-2. He has never got past the second round at Roland Garros and faces a man here who has had a pretty remarkable clay season to date.
Italian Fabio Fognini usually finishes with a two to one win to loss ratio on clay and concentrates on the clay, playing around 35 top class matches a season, so far in 2015 he has won 12 and lost seven which doesn’t look great on the face of it. It’s who those wins came against that is impressive, twice beating Mr Clay himself Rafael Nadal. Now obviously Nadal isn’t in top form, but it’s still a fantastic confidence boost for anyone.
The world number 27 went to the final in Rio having beaten the Spaniard only to lose to his compatriot David Ferrer. I’m tplacing my tennis pick on Fognini to make short work of Paire and win in straights/
Tennis Pick: Fognini win 3-0. 2.37 (11/8)
Bernard Tomic vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis
The Aussies will be excited about this Down Under with 19 year old Kokkinakis taking on the world number 26 who is three years his senior.
Kokkinakis’ overall record on the clay shows a 13-2 record, but 12 of those wins came on the Challenger tour. In fact he’s unbeaten at the second rung of men’s tennis on the dirt. He won in Bordeaux beating Thiemo de Bakker in three sets and came through his opening match in Paris in four. It wasn’t totally convincing against a lowly ranked opponent.
Tomic has had a nightmare this season. He won his first match of the clay season beating Lukas Rosol in three in Monte Carlo, but hadn’t won since in five until he avenged an earlier defeat to Luca Vanni in the first round in Paris winning in four sets.
The problem for older of the two Aussies is a virus. He withdrew mid-match in Nice having lost the first set 6-2 and said after his first round: ““I would like this sickness to go away. Battling with it, but I tried my best today. It took a lot out of me. We’ll see what medication and procedure I can take the next day to make myself feel a lot better for the next round.”
He’s also battling with a back problem, but will tough it out and fight against his countryman and Davis Cup colleague. If you want a bigger price take Kokkinakis to win in four at tennis odds of 3.75 (11/4), but I’ll play safe and take the win for the teenager.
Tennis Pick: Kokkinakis to win 1.57 (4/7) at William Hill