This article is part of our Tennis Picks series.
It can be said that Day 2 is when the French Open begins in earnest, as top seeds like Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic get their first taste of action. While we are still working with information such as recent form, head-to-head records, and surface familiarity, our tactics will change slightly in the coming days as we incorporate what players have done in this tournament into our selections. This will be particularly important for men's action, as someone who had to play a tough five-setter is likely to be more worn down than a player who polished off a victory in straight sets. As always, all Tennis Odds & Lines are taken from DraftKings Sportsbook, but prospective bettors should feel free to search for the best lines available for these matches by checking mobile sportsbooks such as FanDuel Sportsbook, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, or any of the other best sports betting sites.
As a reminder, the men play best-of-five-set matches at Grand Slams, while women's matches are best of three just like the remainder of the WTA Tour schedule. We will highlight underdogs in the first section labeled "Upset Alert," while significant favorites will be listed in the "Lock it in" section. Finally, we'll take a look at players who can be had at a bargain in the "Value Bet" section.
Don't look now, but Bautista Agut is in danger of notching a losing record on clay for the first time since his sophomore campaign in 2010. The Spanish player has been a mainstay on the ATP tour for over a decade but has looked labored on the court of late, as he struggled to reach the second round in Barcelona before winning just four games against Marco Cecchinato. While Wu's season didn't get off to the best start, he has some nice wins under his belt on this surface, topping Richard Gasquet in Rome before making quick work of Cecchinato when the two met in Geneva. At 35 years old, it's worth wondering if Bautista Agut is slowing down, which could present a nice opportunity for Wu.
Arthur Fils (+285) vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
Fils picked quite a time to announce himself to the ATP circuit, running through a field that included Felix Auger-Aliassime and Francisco Cerundolo to take home the title in Lyon. The French player appears to be in fine form as he looks to break into the ATP's top 100, posting a record of 12-4 this year. Davidovich Fokina has been rounding into form as well heading into Roland Garros but has registered a hold percentage of just 73 percent on clay compared to the 78 percent mark of his opponent. This should help Fils get out in front and pull away from the Spaniard over time.
Lock it in
Even if Norrie hadn't bested Paire in their only two meetings, it would be hard for me to pick the French player over a skilled opponent, as most of the time spectators are just waiting to see how long he will play before he loses interest. Luckily, we won't have to worry about what perceived slight will throw the 35-year-old off his game, as he is just 8-8 on clay courts this season and has yet to record a win on the ATP Tour. By contrast, Norrie is riding high in 2023, notching a 16-6 record on clay to complement a 27-10 mark overall.
I may have had some unflattering things to say about Altmaier in relation to Frances Tiafoe, but betting is always matchup dependent, and the German player has a nice one in front of him. While he hasn't performed well at the Tour level this year, Altmaier has recorded a 9-2 record on the Challenger circuit, winning a title in Sarasota in April. Huesler has spent less time away from the ATP tour, going 2-2 on the Challenger circuit while notching an 8-14 mark on Tour. While it may not seem like much separates these two at first glance, it's worth noting that Huesler will come into The French on a four-match losing streak and has tallied just two wins on eight attempts on clay this year. Meanwhile, Altimaer is 6-2 in his last eight matches, having logged a win over the surging Yannick Hanfmann over that span.
Neither Nakashima nor Shapovolov has performed well on clay this season, but this is a spot where recent form really makes the difference, as the American put his best foot forward in Lyon, dropping a tough three-set match to Arthur Fils in the semifinal round. By contrast, the Canadian hasn't made it past the second round of a tournament since the Australian Open and has played just three matches on clay all season. We also must note the dramatic rise in Shapovalov's double faults this year (9.4 percent rate), which should allow Nakashima to hang around in service games.
The vast difference in clay experience here is almost enough for me to make a pick without further investigation, as Etcheverry has compiled an 18-10 record on the soft stuff this season, while Draper has won three of his five matches on the dirt. Three of those wins for the Argentine came in a loaded Challenger field in Bordeaux, in which he bested ATP regulars like Ilya Ivashka, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, and Jan-Lennard Struff before being beaten by Ugo Humbert in the final round. Draper hasn't played poorly when he's been on the clay, but familiarity should see Etcheverry take over the match, as this will be Draper's first time at Roland Garros.