Fascinating opening day in prospect
Action starts in several hours in the French capital, and on a fascinating opening day even without the seeded big names taking to the courts – their tournaments will begin on Wednesday with the round one matches taking place today and tomorrow first.
Of the 11 matches today, there’s three matches that I want to focus on for discussion – my shortlist of today’s value. As always, I think it’s worth being cautious in round one with player motivation and fitness far from assured in many cases, but here’s my best selections.
Bublik with slight edge in Evans clash
Alexander Bublik 2.245/4 vs Dan Evans 1.784/5: I’m a little surprised to see Bublik as the underdog here, given that my model makes him a marginal favourite. Both players haven’t done particularly well of late, but in their meeting outdoors on hard court in August, it was Bublik who won in straight sets when a similar price to my model makes him today. I’m anticipating a pretty competitive clash but it’s the Kazakh who has the very slight edge in my book.
Mannarino should enjoy home conditions
Adrian Mannarino 2.8415/8 vs Nikoloz Basilashvili 1.538/15: This is a fascinating clash where I think the market have reacted to a little recency bias in favour of Basilashvili. The Georgian reached the final of the Indian Wells Masters in October – a fantastic achievement – but that was in much slower conditions than will be in play today and I think that the home player, the French veteran, Mannarino, can take advantage.
Mannarino is something of a quick-conditions specialist, performing well on grass and indoors and while he’s had an uninspiring year so far, shouldn’t be ruled out for an upset as an underdog today. He got the better of Andrey Rublev in Moscow several weeks ago, illustrating his danger indoors, and he looks a real threat to Basilashvili today.
High potential Brooksby can overcome age difference to defeat Murray
Andy Murray 1.645/8 vs Jenson Brooksby 2.526/4: There’s a 13 year age difference between the duo, with wild card Murray meeting qualifier Brooksby.
Murray still is nowhere near his previous best, and while he’s losing to decent enough players, he was beaten by the high potential Carloz Alcaraz Garfia indoors last week in Vienna.
Today, Murray meets another high potential young player in Brooksby, who is on the verge of the top 50 but is a player who I consider very capable of getting towards the top 20 next season. Brooksby reached the semi-final in Antwerp indoors several weeks ago as a qualifier, and while his wins in qualifying were uninspiring – three-setters against mediocre opposition – his level overall this year suggests he should be marginal favourite over Murray. Instead, the American is an underdog in one of the later matches today, and that’s today’s recommendation.
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