Come join us for an overview of the second day of Roland-Garros action, and get insight on value selections to start your tournament off with a bang!
The first day of the last Major in 2020 is in the books, and the second day of Roland-Garros is upon us. Heavy wind, rain, and cold temperatures were on full display and made for difficult conditions on opening day, and that is set to continue here.
Court Philippe-Chatrier has another stacked lineup, which sees Serena Williams starting her campaign against Kristie Ahn. Recent US Open champion Dominic Thiem is also in action, taking on the 2014 champion Marin Cilic. Our chosen matchups where our free tennis picks find value focus on the outside courts today, however. Let’s begin!
Guido Pella vs. Salvatore Caruso
Monday, September 28, Paris
It´s been a rough year for Guido Pella, who sports a 6-9 record on the year, including 2-5 on clay. The lockdown period was rough on the 30-year old, who wasn’t even sure about the continuation of his tennis career: “I don’t know if this pandemic isn’t the end of my career. At the moment everything is uncertain,” said Pella in an interview in June. Following the restart, the Argentinian was caught up in a controversial decision to be booted from “Cincinnati” as his fitness coach tested positive for COVID-19.
Pella has gone 1-3 since the restart, and not looked himself. Last time out he hit a whopping 24 unforced errors to only 4 winners in a heavy 6-2, 6-3 loss to Denis Shapovalov in Rome. His movement looked off at times, and there may be a niggling injury bothering the world no.37 at the moment.
That will spell trouble against the man nicknamed “The Wall”, Salvatore Caruso. While Pella lost in the first round of the US Open, the Italian battled valiantly to make the third round, despite mostly being known for his clay-court skills.
He also qualified for “Cincinnati”, defeating Jannik Sinner and Jordan Thompson as a +343 and +173 underdog respectively at Betonline. Back on the dirt, Caruso defeated Tennys Sandgren to make the second round of Rome before having the unenviable task of running into the eventual champion and world no.1 Novak Djokovic.
While Pella is being made the -140 favorite by the tennis odds at BetOnline and Caruso being given a +115 chance, this looks like a matchup where the wrong man is favored. Short on both matchplay and form, Pella looks opposable against a tough opponent who won’t give any point away for free.
The Argentinian was upset in the second round against Corentin Moutet here last year and has never been past that stage at Roland-Garros. Caruso came through qualifying and upset Jaume Munar and Gilles Simon back-to-back in making the third round. The Italian will move his opponent around the court, and it’s doubtful whether Guido can produce the level required to stand up to the task over the best of five sets format. At a +115 price with Heritage, we will back Caruso to win.
Free Tennis Pick: Caruso ML (+115) with (Heritage)
Iga Swiatek vs. Marketa Vondrousova(15)
Monday, September 28, Paris
Just 15 months ago, it was at this very venue the then 18-year old Iga Swiatek dominated her way to a Last 16 encounter with reigning champion Simona Halep. The young Pole got a stern reality check as she was overwhelmed in a 6-1, 6-0 beatdown, but it was a valuable learning experience for the pristine talent. Starting 2020 with a Last 16 run at the Australian Open, she was halted in an exceptionally close match against Anett Kontaveit. Spending lockdown playing clay-court exhibitions, Swiatek racked up a 9-1 record, including a straight-sets win against today’s opponent.
Once the tour resumed, the 19-year old has looked in good form, before the scorching Victoria Azarenka was too much in the third-round US Open encounter. One who would very much like to find some good form of her own is Marketa Vondrousova. The 21-year old Czech lefty played sublime tennis in making the 2019 Roland-Garros final but hasn’t been the same player since a season-ending wrist injury last July. An exceptionally shrewd player who angles, spins, and slices the ball combined with devious drop shots, we haven’t seen much of that Marketa this year.
Struggling for form all year long, the world no.19 was upset in Palermo, “Cincinnati” and the US Open, failing to make it beyond the second round in either tournament. Some signs of resurgence manifested as she took on Elina Svitolina in the Rome quarterfinal, however, where Vondrousova played the best match she has in 15 months. That level will be needed consistently if last year’s result is even going to be close to being replicated.
This is an intriguing stylistic matchup, where Swiatek’s variety-filled sweet ball-striking will face the varying spins, angels, and speeds stemming from the Vondrousova racquet. Usually deploying heavy topspin on her groundstrokes, the Czech may struggle in the damp conditions and weighty Wilson balls on display at this year’s Roland-Garros.
Iga hits a flatter ball, and we’ve seen throughout the first day of action that those with some extra firepower can hit through the slow courts well. The top sportsbooks seem to be pricing this matchup on old form, with Marketa found in the -185 range and Swiatek in the +150 range. Vondrousova hasn’t warranted such a lofty evaluation in quite some time now, and unless experiencing a sudden return to form she looks vulnerable here. A Swiatek win pays +154 with BetOnline, and we’ll pounce.
Free Tennis Pick: Swiatek ML (+154) with BetOnline