This article is part of our Tennis Picks series.
The final day of Round 1 at the French Open produced some absolute fireworks, as the (-1400) favorite and World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev was beaten in five sets by clay specialist Thiago Seyboth Wild. While I didn't see enough to predict the upset, we can allow that win to serve as proof of concept for the strategy of looking for underdogs against higher-ranked players who don't consider the dirt to be their best surface. The tennis gods gave while taking away from us on Tuesday, as we hit our second longshot when Guido Pella bested Quentin Halys, but were stunned when a hobbling Gael Monfils showed the heart and toughness to survive a deciding set.
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. In order to make our picks, we consider things like career records at Roland Garros, recent form, and head-to-head match scores against an opponent where available. 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.
Musetti looked like a world-beater on the soft stuff in 2022 but appears to have taken a significant step back this year, logging a mediocre 10-8 record. While he has picked up some impressive wins of late, Musetti has thrown in his share of clunkers throughout the current swing, such as losing to a player outside the top 100 in Alexandre Muller in Marrakech. Schevchenko has been incredibly tough on clay, easily disposing of Sebastian Baez before taking a set from Jannik Sinner in Rome. I expect Shevchenko's comfortability on clay to give him a real shot here, as he has won 14 of the 20 matches he has played on the surface this year.
You wouldn't know it from the scoreline, but Pegula didn't look her best in a victory over Danielle Collins, converting an abysmal 27 percent of second-serve points. Giorgi isn't the cleanest player on Tour but will continue attacking from the first ball, which will allow her to apply pressure and potentially force a few more double faults than her opponent would generally hit. It must be noted that Giorgi hasn't beaten Pegula on clay in two attempts, but there may be something in her current form that we can exploit.
Lock it in
Pouille did well to advance past his first-round opponent in straight sets, but the French player simply isn't match-fit to challenge someone like Norrie, who is already in the midst of the best clay court season in his career. Meanwhile, an elbow injury has limited Pouille to just two matches on Tour this season. While Norrie gave us a scare when he dropped two sets to Benoit Paire in his first-round match, the British player's fitness in the deciding frame was likely what allowed him to take home the victory. This cardio will be his best weapon against an opponent who has struggled at Roland Garros in the best of times (7-9 career record).
Van Assche has put together a nice season on clay in 2023, but losses to players like Mikael Ymer leave me unconvinced that he is ready to meaningfully challenge Davidovich Fokina, particularly since the Spanish player beat his French counterpart fairly comprehensively when the two met in Estoril in April. Fokina notched a win over one of the hottest players on tour when he took out Arthur Fils in Round 1, and will likely be too much for an inexperienced player who has played a lot of tough tennis over the past week.
Shapovalov survived a surging Brandon Nakashima to win his first-round match in five sets, but as previously mentioned, a move past Round 2 here would mark his best showing since the Australian Open in January. The Canadian player picked up the victory despite hitting 15 double faults and committing 68 unforced errors. He will need to up his game significantly to have a chance against Arnaldi, who hit just three double faults and committed 25 unforced errors in his win over Daniel Elahi Galan.
Schwartzman pulled off the improbable in his first-round match, burning yours truly by coming back from a two-set deficit to knock off Bernabe Zapata Miralles. As impressive as the victory was, it's simply not possible to ignore the 3-11 record he's notched on clay this year or the fact that Borges hit a whopping 77 winners in his first-round win over John Isner. Borges can play a very physical brand of tennis, which is something I'm not sure Schwartzman can stand up to after his grueling match on Sunday.