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Monday, 26 May 2014

French Open Day 2 Picks 2014 (May 26th)

The French Open got underway on Sunday, but I didn't really have the opportunity to put together anything for the first day play, although I have my outright picks which can be read here.

I am still not used to the idea that this Grand Slam begins the tournament on Sunday rather than the traditional Monday, especially not the staggered nature of the First Round. That brings a different problem if the weather plays havoc with the tournament as might happen on Monday where there is scheduled rain and thunder storms in Roland Garros.

Day one also provided no real surprises as the big names moved through including Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska.

Now the top two favourites in the men's draw get a chance to move their tournament on to the Second Round and both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are big favourites to win their first matches.

Albert Montanes - 6.5 games v Kenny de Schepper: At first glance, I did think this was a big number for Albert Montanes to cover against an opponent that has as big a serve as Kenny de Schepper.

However, the serve aside, I don't think de Schepper is capable of keeping up with the clay court veteran and that was shown in a heavy loss to the Spaniard back in April during the start of the European clay court swing.

If the rallies are extended for more than three shots each, I would favour Montanes to win the majority of the rallies and that should help him move through in straight sets. I would expect Montanes to grind down de Schepper and find a way to win the match with a 63, 64, 64 scoreline and move on to the Second Round.

Ivan Dodig v Marcel Granollers: I can understand the reasoning behind having Ivan Dodig as a fairly big underdog to win this match as his game doesn't exactly translate onto the clay courts. Dodig likes to play a serve-volley game where possible and that is more suited to the faster surfaces, while the conditions here won't be the best for him either.

Usually, backing a Spaniard at the prices would look the shout against Dodig, but Marcel Granollers is another player that prefers the faster courts and is someone who is not in the best of form.

Granollers has a losing record for the season and confidence has to be in a low place at this moment in time which makes this a tricky First Round match.

I will say that Dodig also has a losing record, but at least has won a few more matches over the last month and I will have a small interest in him winning this match.

Fabio Fognini - 6.5 games v Andreas Beck: You always have to have some respect for those players that have won three rounds during the qualifiers to reach the main draw at a Grand Slam, but Andreas Beck doesn't really compete at this level these days.

The draw also gives him a match against an opponent that should have been looking forward to the French Open after some of his performances over the last twelve months. Fabio Fognini had a great summer on the clay courts and had started 2014 effectively to think he could perhaps challenge his personal best of a Quarter Final here in Paris, especially as the clay courts makes this his favourite Slam.

However, Fognini has lost three matches in a row and his performances on the clay courts over the last six weeks have been disappointing to say the least.

In saying that, I still expect the Italian to be too good for Beck and he could perhaps record a similar win that he had over this opponent last season in the First Round here.

Stanislas Wawrinka - 7.5 games v Guillermo Garcia-Lopez: Stanislas Wawrinka may have won in Monte Carlo on the way to the French Open, but I think there is little doubt he has had a difficult time following up his Australian Open Grand Slam win.

There have been a number of up and down performances from the World Number 3 in the months following his maiden Grand Slam success, but perhaps getting back into the best of five set arena will help him settle down a bit more.

Playing someone like Guillermo Garcia-Lopez looks a testing First Round match for Wawrinka, but the latter has dominated the head to head between the players and I think he will have too much power and consistency for the Spaniard to deal with.

Garcia-Lopez has a serve that can be attacked and I think Wawrinka will end up powering through after a tight first set and move into the Second Round with a 75, 62, 64 win.

Mona Barthel v Karin Knapp: Karin Knapp must have been extremely relieved by the week she had in Strasbourg as she made it to the Semi Final and also snapped an eight match losing run in the process.

However, I am not convinced that she has done enough to make this First Round match an almost pick 'em contest against Mona Barthel who made the Quarter Final in Nurnberg last week and who has at least being winning some matches over the last six weeks.

To be fair, the majority of those wins have come in qualifiers, but Knapp hasn't been performing above that level of late and I think Barthel has a very good chance of winning the match.

Being on a clay court might actually favour Knapp, but the damp conditions expected may expose some of fragilities when it comes to consistently finding the court. Knapp likes to harness her power, but that can lead to mistakes on the slower courts and Barthel may just have enough to come through in three sets.

MY PICKS: Albert Montanes - 6.5 Games @ 1.80 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Ivan Dodig @ 2.88 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Fabio Fognini - 6.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Stanislas Wawrinka - 7.5 Games @ 2.25 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Mona Barthel @ 1.80 Pinnacle (2 Units)

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