Bet Roland-Garros! Abrams picks 11 Men's Matches from the first Tuesday of the French Open
Amid a ton of first round Men’s Doubles matches on Tuesday, the French Open will present twenty Men’s first round singles matches. These range from the unknown (Harold Mayot, Artem Sitak) to the idolic (Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas), from the homeys (Gilles Simon, Richard Gasquet) to the Yanks (Sam Querrey, Stevie Johnson), from the Asias (Yasutaka Uchimaya, Yuichi Sugita) to the South American (Juan Ignacio Londero, Federico Coria), from the British (Liam Broady, Neil Skupski) to the Continental (Jaume Munar, Stefano Travaglia). And here’s eleven matches to bet on if you want to line your pockets this first Tuesday of the year’s third and final Grand Slam event.
Novak Djokovic over Mikael Ymer
Mikael Ymer is from Sweden. Born in Skovde, lives now in Stockholm. The 22-year-old has tried to model his game after that country’s greatest player, Bjorn Borg, with a right-handed forehand, a two-handed backhand, a tough serve, and all the athletic ability in the world. And although you might have heard of the 80th ranked Ymer, you probably haven’t seen him play, because he doesn’t stick around until the second week of the Grand Slams, unlike his idol. One other thing that’s different about Ymer: he’s known as the Black Swede, complete with the dreads of Bob Marley. When you get over that surprise, watch him play the world's #1 ranked player. He’s pretty good.
Denis Shapovalov over Gilles Simon
21-year-old Canadian teen sensation Denis Shapovalov has broken out of his own personal tram lines and is now competing with the best. He looked absolutely terrific in New York City, seemingly having tamed his wildness while keeping his aggressive groundies and attractive all-court game. He should take apart the aging Simon, a natural on the red clay, but that will be because Shapovalov is a butterfly emerging from his cocoon and Simon is like an animal who can no longer do the tricks of his youth.
Matteo Berrettini over Vasik Pospisil
Speaking of breaking out of personal tram lines, Italian Matteo Berrettini broke out of his own last year by getting to the semis of the 2019 U.S. Open. Now ranked 8th, Berrettini is the favorite in almost all of his matches, and he will be against the suddenly tough again Canadian, 76th ranked Vasik Pospisil. Its hard for me to remember January of 2014, when Pospisil was ranked as high as 25th in the world, but he seems to be playing some of his best tennis now at age 30. Still, it won’t help him take out the Italian. Look for Berrettini to move on.
Stefanos Tsitsipas over Jaume Munar
I picked Stefanos Tsitsipas to win the U.S. Open two weeks ago, and I thought that Tsitsipas did much worse than disappoint me—he disappointed himself. He seemed to regress, playing like it was 2015 and he was 17 years old again. Well, after getting to the finals of Hamburg last week, it seems like he’s playing better and is back to being 22. As long as he plays as he’s capable, he’ll take Spaniard Munar apart, but Munar is a gamer, and I expect this match to be competitive. This will be just what the Greek needs to give him some confidence on the red dirt here.
Andrey Rublev over Sam Querrey
If this match were on grass, Sam Querrey would have a chance. If this match were on hard courts, it might be a real barn burner. But it’s not on either of these surfaces, and Querrey, now 32 years old, has seen better days. I think the Yank stands no chance and he’ll simply be a sparring partner for the rapidly improving Andrey Rublev, who won Hamburg last week beating, in succession Tennys Sandgren, Tommy Paul, Roberto Bautista Agut, Casper Rudd, and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Roberto Bautista Agut over Richard Gasquet
The classy Richard Gasquet is 34 years old now and appears old. RBA is 32 years old and seems spry as a kitten. Therein lies the current difference between the two. RBA holds a 6-2 lifetime edge over the hometown kid and I see little chance for Gasquet to improve that record.
Ugo Humbert over Marc Pohlmans
This is a tough match to call because it’s on clay, but France’s 22-year-old Ugo Humbert should have enough firepower in his lefthanded deliveries to derail Marc Pohlmans, a 23-year-old Australian who is ranked 122nd currently. Neither is terribly efficient on the dirt, but Humbert is the better overall player.
Marcos Giron over Quentin Halys
Quentin Halys is a 23-year-old homeboy who got a wild card into the event because he’s French. Giron, however, is a real player. He’s had some ups and downs, with the downs mostly coming from injuries over the past 18 months. But Giron is back, and he’ll take Halys to the cleaners after giving the homeboy his due for the aces I expect the tall Frenchman to hit.
Cristian Garin over Philipp Kohlschreiber
I love watching German Philipp Kohlschreiber play and always have. The trouble for him is that he’s 36 now, turning 37 in two weeks. He’s done, and Cristian Garin, a 24-year-old from Santiago, Chile, will see to it that the German finds it out for himself.
Dusan Lajovic over Gianluca Mager
Dusan Lajovic, the 30-year-old from Serbia will win this match. Here’s how to tell: Lajovic has won over $5.7 Million in prize money, and Gianluca Mager, a 25-year-old Italian, has won a half a million dollars. Case closed.
Stevie Johnson over Roberto Carballas Baena
On paper this match should be an easy win for American Stevie Johnson. Johnson has a career winning record, RCB does not. Johnson has won 4 career titles, RCB has won one. Johnson is bigger (6’2” to 6’), stronger (190 lbs to 170 lbs), and more experienced ($6.3 million in prize money to $1.9 million). But RCB is a tough customer, is at home on clay, having grown up in Spain, and can hit all sorts of backhands, which Johnson struggles with. So, Johnson will win because he’s a better athlete, not because he’s a better tennis player. But a win is a win.