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French Open: Day 1 preview and picks

French Open: Day 1 preview and picks

French Open: Day 1 preview and picks
By Net Prophet

Here we go. I am the guy who will be covering the French Open on a daily basis.

You may wonder, who is this guy? Well, I don’t blame you.

I have the pressure of delivering winning picks and worthwhile return on your tennis bets, but most importantly, I need to convince most of you that wagering on tennis is as profitable as betting on the NFL, NBA or NHL.

It will reassure you that my professional life revolves around tennis. I have been working in the tennis world for some time now, travelling to most tournaments and knowing most of the players. My insights will give you good guidance from an inside perspective while being at the French Open.

I wish to stress, however, that my predictions will not reveal any information that can invade the privacy of the player or go against any inside information (current injuries, personal issues, gossip, etc).

During this hectic period, I quickly found time to write my Day 1 picks. It is important to note that for the past two years, the French Open has scheduled some matches starting Sunday. The reasons for this is not totally clear, but the argument is that the length of the matches on clay mixed with the heavy schedule of a Grand Slam often leads to some matches being played over two days.

Starting on Sundays allows the organizers to free up the schedule for the following days and ease up the court shuffle.

The players’ lounge is now as packed as it can get with most players and agents trying to book practice courts to get the best feel of the courts. You can already feel the tension mounting.

It makes sense to give you matches that offer a reasonable return rather than boring you with low odds favorites.

Reading from top to bottom on the Sunday schedule, the first matchup that I fancy is Emilie Loit from France to beat the Swiss player Bacscinszky.

Loit has the same small stature as Henin and plays at a similar intensity when she plays.  She is unfortunate to have been prone to injuries during her career but she often tends to come back strong. She is an excellent clay-court player, having already won a few WTA events on this surface.

Her opponent, Bacsinszky, will be playing her first match since suffering a leg injury six weeks ago. Potentially, the young Swiss player is very talented but she has struggled this year. Her lack of preparation on clay before such a big event against a competitive French player such as Loit in front of home supporters should be too much.

Next down the list catching my attention and worth a small stake due to its interesting odds is young Frenchman Ouanna to beat the Spanish player Granollers.

Big guy Ouanna was an excellent junior player, winning the Australian Open junior in 2003 before placing second the following year. His game adapts well to all surfaces and his aggressive style mixed with his charismatic personality should attract the crowd. I am convinced you would have heard more about him if it was not for all the injuries he has endured in the past five years. He won a challenger event a few weeks ago on clay which most certainly has helped him gain the wild card.

It would not surprise me if the match went to five sets with Ouanna having the edge at the end. His opponent Granollers has been disappointing this season on clay, recording only seven wins for 10 losses. I had expected the Spaniard to do better in Kitzbuhel last week as he tends to like the faster clay.

Three matches that have decent odds and that I would consider are Montcourt, Brands and Lisnard all to win.

Montcourt is playing Yen-Hsun Lu from Taipei, a good player but on clay his flat style of play does not give him much success. He is yet to win a match on clay as far I can remember. Montcourt is a talented player who could get his long awaited breakthrough at the French Open this year.

Brands revealed himself at Munich this year, reaching the semifinals. He plays an attractive game that suits all surfaces. He had some promising wins during the qualies against good clay players, confirming his ascension in the rankings. He should be well accustomed to the conditions when playing Robert Kendrick, who is yet to be as effective on clay as he is on hard courts.

Finally the small player Lisnard from Monaco is considered a Frenchman since he changed nationalities a few years ago. He is a dangerous clay-court player who spends most of his time at the back of the court. He is tough to play on this surface and Dudi Sela will have to change something in his game if he wants to start imposing his counter attack on clay.

Picks of the day:

Loit to beat Bacszinsky
Ouanna to beat Granollers
Montcourt to beat Lu
Brands to beat Kendrick
Lisnard to beat Sela

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