Bonjour! We’ve gotten started on the second round now, and been treated to plenty of exhilarating contests already, with four men’s matches having gone the full five sets at press time.
Day 5 sees the entirety of the Big Three on court, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on Court Philippe-Chatrier, Novak Djokovic on Suzanne-Lenglen. On the women’s side, tournament betting favorite Iga Swiatek is in action, along with no. 4 seed Sofia Kenin. Our matches of betting interest will guide you through the fifth day in Paris and provide some free tennis picks. Allez!
Kwon Soon-Woo vs. Andreas Seppi
Thursday, June 3, 05:00 AM EST on Court 13
One of the surprises this clay court season has been the vastly improved performance on the dirt from Kwon Soon-Woo. The South Korean had never won an ATP match on clay before this season, but in 2021 he's compiled an impressive 4-3 record.
Wins against established clay court specialists such as Roberto Carballes Baena and Facundo Bagnis were especially eye opening, whilst losses against Pablo Carreno-Busta and Novak Djokovic are nothing to be ashamed of.
Kwon started his third Roland-Garros campaign with his first win, over former world no. 5 Kevin Anderson. The South African has struggled for fitness for years now, but Kwon still did well to take the win as the big underdog.
Enter the ageless, Andreas Seppi. The 37-year old is still grinding away on tour after over 1200 matches, with his most dangerous performances usually coming on the Australian hard courts. Plenty of players have been upset by the gritty veteran who rarely relinquishes easy points from the baseline.
Coming into this Roland-Garros, Seppi won a grand total of zero clay matches in 2019, and lost six out of nine in 2020. So, after losing in straights to Sebastian Korda in Parma, it was certainly a shock to see the Italian oust 20th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in the first round as a +1000 underdog according to top betting sites. It has to be said that the young Canadian was woeful, however, hitting a staggering 60 unforced errors in the loss.
Neither player have done particularly well on the dirt in the past, but Kwon has taken clear steps forward this season, whilst Seppi has regressed. The last time the 37-year old made it beyond the second round at this tournament was all the way back in 2014.
Kwon is quicker, more solid from the baseline, in better form and the better player of the two. Despite that, the tennis odds have this a pick em. We'll gladly take the side of the South Korean in this one as a result.
Sofia Kenin(4) vs. Hailey Baptiste
Thursday, June 03, 2021 - 05:00 AM EDT on Court 14
What has happened to Sofia Kenin, who prefers going by Sonya, after winning the Australian Open title last year is a mystery. It's well documented how many WTA players struggle after surging to an early, unexpected maiden major, but it didn't feel like the mentally resolute Kenin would be one of them.
However, the American has indeed struggled. Last year she went on a horrid run until she showed up here at Roland-Garros to make the final out of nowhere. After a relatively bright start to 2021 she openly admitted her terror of facing "giant killer" Kaia Kanepi in the Australian Open. The 22-year old won but five games in a demolition that sent the reigning champion home in round 2.
Losing five of her last six matches since, and four on the spin, expectations were once again low coming into RG21, but a gritty three set win over the dangerous Ostapenko may well revive last year's magic for the talented counterpuncher.
The draw looks full of opportunity for the American, who faces her countrywoman Hailey Baptiste in the second round. Hailey has been doing damage on the ITF-tour, coming home with three titles in 2019 alone. Still only 19 years old, it will be interesting to follow her in the years to come.
Baptiste possesses a big serve and isn't afraid to come forward to finish the points at the net. Her playing style is not too dissimilar to fellow American Taylor Townsend, though the 19-year old isn't left-handed. However, her backhand and movement are major weaknesses and can easily be exploited by the very best. She's done well to qualify and win a main draw match at Roland-Garros, but now the real test will begin.
This looks like an excellent matchup for Kenin, who is a skilled counterpuncher with plenty of her own firepower, and she should be able to move Baptiste around and expose her weaknesses off the ground. Due to the no. 4 seed's weak form we're getting a nice discount on a spread that otherwise would've been at least -5.5 at online sportsbooks, which offers a nice buy low opportunity.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.