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Tuesday, 30 May 2017

French Open Tennis Day 3 Picks 2017 (May 30th)

The remaining First Round matches are going to be completed at Roland Garros on Tuesday as the second Grand Slam of the season sees all the players in the draw get their initial forays into the draw under their belt.

A lot of the leading contenders in the men's and women's draws have already made their appearance in Paris, but Tuesday will see a few more get their title challenge underway.

The one thing that has stood out so far is that the men's tournament does look like it will be mostly about Rafael Nadal who looks the best player in the draw. There are some younger players who may feel they have 'nothing to lose' and could challenge the 'King of Clay' but it will be a big task for anyone in a best of five setting.

Novak Djokovic did ease through, but his vulnerabilities still look like they are there and he will need to improve massively to win the title here and we won't see the best of his partnership with Andre Agassi unless they move it beyond the time in Paris.

On the other hand, the women's draw looks very, very open as most have suggested prior to the tournament beginning. It does feel a 'surprise' name could go on and win the title here although there are plenty of big names in the draw who will believe things could open up for them over the next few days.

Nick Kyrgios - 1.5 sets v Philipp Kohlschreiber: Backing Nick Kyrgios is never an easy option, despite the clear talent I think the man possesses, because you are not always sure where his priorities are lying. At the moment tennis has taken a back seat to his family issues with the passing of his grandfather, and I do wonder if he is fully ready to compete at the French Open.

A poor loss in Lyon in a match Kyrgios would have been favoured to win has raised further doubts, but I think the Australian can win a tough looking First Round match.

In previous years facing Philipp Kohlschreiber would have been a short straw prize for a Seeded player in a Grand Slam, but the veteran is not up to the level he has shown previously. He did reach the Final in Marrakech but Kohlschreiber has lost a lot of matches in recent weeks and the wins have simply not been coming which should knock some of the confidence from his play.

This match will be won or lost on the racquet of Kyrgios as far as I am concerned. The serve is a monster weapon and can make life very difficult for Kohlschreiber to get his teeth into this match and Kyrgios is going to provide the heavier groundstrokes which should see him move into a position to win the match.

The question is how Kyrgios is feeling, but I think he is going to be good enough in the First Round to win this one and I think he does that in three or four sets.

Andy Murray - 6.5 games v Andrey Kuznetsov: If you didn't know how difficult 2017 has been for Andy Murray, this kind of spread underlines the point for you. Usually Murray would be a very, very big favourite to win a First Round match at the Grand Slams, but his own recent performances have been poor by the standard he has set through his career and Murray faces a dangerous opponent in the First Round.

Only last week saw Andrey Kuznetsov reach the Semi Final in Geneva before coming unstuck against Stan Wawrinka and the Russian is a player who has plenty of talent coming off the racquet. He is happy on the clay courts and will have some special moments on the court, but Andy Murray at his best wins this match.

Now I know Murray has been far from his best in recent weeks and has admitted the toll of trying to reach the World Number 1 spot has hurt him. He has been struggling to get back to his best tennis, but Kuznetsov will give Murray a rhythm to play with and is also aggressive enough to make mistakes on which the World Number 1 can thrive.

I also think it has to be noted that Murray has lost to some solid clay courters over the last few weeks and I am not sure I put Kuznetsov in that bracket. While Kuznetsov did well to reach the Semi Final in Geneva, he has not really beaten someone of the quality of Murray and I think those factors come into play on Tuesday.

There will be moments for Kuznetsov as I said, but Murray can come through with a 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 kind of win to move clear of this handicap.

Jeremy Chardy - 6.5 games v Radu Albot: There have been serious signs of decline from Jeremy Chardy and the majority of his time over the last few weeks have been on the Challenger circuit. His World Ranking has dropped to a point where he would have had to Qualify for the two Masters events in Madrid and Rome and Chardy did quite a bit of winning back at the Challenger level.

The draw does look a good one for Chardy who is facing an opponent who is also more comfortable at the Challenger level than the main Tour. Radu Albot's step up to the main Tour level has resulted in four straight losses on the clay courts and Albot is now just 2-7 on the main Tour on this surface.

This time last year Albot pushed another Frenchman to five sets when ultimately falling short against Benoit Paire. It means Albot will understand the atmosphere and the fans being against him, but I think Chardy is arguably a more consistent player than Paire with the latter's form fluctuating between sets.

Paire is clearly a better player than Chardy with his high surpassing the latter's ceiling, but I think Chardy's steadiness will give him a chance to win this match against Albot with relative comfort. The Chardy serve can be broken, but he will be able to roll through enough service games to put the pressure on Albot who is going to need to work much harder to hold onto his service games.

It could end up with Chardy coming through with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win and a place in the Second Round on Thursday.

Tomas Berdych - 6.5 games v Jan-Lennard Struff: There are a few veterans on the Tour who are not at the level they were producing eighteen months ago and Tomas Berdych is one of those names. He is still showing enough on the clay courts to have a decent run at the French Open, although I think the days people suggested he was a dark horse to win a Slam are now behind him.

I will give Berdych some credit and say he has been producing some solid wins on the clay courts over the last few weeks and I do think he will be too good for Jan-Lennard Struff.

The German played well in a couple of tournaments earlier in the change of surface which suggested Struff was getting to terms with the clay courts and how to play on them. However his best results remain off the main Tour and Struff has been playing back down to the more usual level than the one he showed at Monte Carlo.

Struff has a decent serve, but the slower surface means he needs to have some patience to his play and I am not sure he can produce enough quality to avoid the unforced errors that comes with his style. He will also be facing plenty of firepower from the Berdych side of the court and I can see the Berdych serve being a difference maker at key times in this match.

The big serve was too much for Struff to deal with in a recent loss to Sam Querrey and I think Tomas Berdych will be a little too good in the three sets they compete in. It should mean Berdych is able to work his way to a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win on his way through to the Second Round.

Sorana Cirstea v Shuai Peng: My initial starting point with this pick is I actually had Sorana Cirstea going into this First Round match as the favourite to beat Shuai Peng. That automatically got me interested in backing the Romanian even if she is not exactly the most convincing player on the Tour to back.

However Cirstea has put plenty of wins on the board during the clay court swing and she is very comfortable on the surface. That can't be said for Peng despite her run to the Semi Final in Strasbourg last week as that is an exception to the general rule for her on this surface.

I do think both players will have their chances to break serve and that there will be swings of momentum through the course of the match.

However I do think Cirstea is the more productive player on the clay and can battle her way to the win. I wouldn't at all be surprised if we see three sets in this one, but I will edge towards Cirstea as the underdog.

Caroline Garcia - 5.5 games v Nao Hibino: Injuries and personal issues have been affecting the Caroline Garcia performances over the last few weeks, but she did have a decent run in Strasbourg last season. This also looks a decent First Round match against Nao Hibino who has lost five of her six matches on the clay courts this season.

Hibino has not played a lot of clay court tennis throughout her career and she was beaten heavily at the hands of Simona Halep when playing at the French Open for the first time last season. This time she will be facing a quality opponent and also one who will be backed by the partisan Parisian crowd on Tuesday.

There was enough solid tennis from Garcia last week which will give her some confidence to take into this home Grand Slam. There has to be some concern with the lack of matches of late and the fact that Garcia is not someone who has won too many matches in dominant fashion.

However I think Garcia has the better serve and should be clinical enough on the Hibino service games to give herself every chance to cover this number of games. The last couple of losses taken by Hibino have come in straight-forward fashion and she has not been able to cover this number in either.

As long as Garcia punishes Hibino when the break point chances come her way, I think she will be good enough to earn a 6-3, 6-3 win in front of her own fans.

Tatjana Maria - 4.5 games v Ying-Ying Duan: This is Grand Slam is played on the clay courts and that is not a surface Ying-Ying Duan has enjoyed at any point in her career. Duan was battered by Sam Stosur in one of two losses on the surface in 2017 and I think the lower Ranked Tatjana Maria will be too good for her.

Maria saves her best tennis for the clay courts and she has had a few wins on the surface over the last few weeks, although no one will confuse her for a potential Grand Slam winner.

Duan has lost all four matches she has played on the clay courts and she would not have got within this number in any of those. This is arguably as winnable a match as she could play, but Maria has won enough matches to think she will be too good in this one.

I don't think it will be completely one-sided because Maria is a player that will give Duan some chances, but I like her to win this one 6-4, 6-3 as her superior clay court nous and experience shows up.

Anastasija Sevastova - 4.5 games v Annika Beck: This has not been a good match up for Aanstasija Sevastova in the past as she has been beaten in her two previous matches against Annika Beck and she has won just six games in that time. Both matches were played on the clay courts with the last one coming in the middle of the 2016 season and that has to be a concern when you think I am backing Sevastova to cover a big number.

That is mainly because Sevastova has shown some solid clay court tennis in the last few weeks and has the confidence of a number of wins behind her. Reaching the Quarter Final in Charleston and Stuttgart and following that with a Semi Final run in Madrid means Sevastova has got plenty of wins to lean back upon.

It is much better than the form Beck has shown who has won two of six matches on the clay courts and one of those came thanks to an opponent retiring from the match. Beck has been competitive in a couple of losses and she is a player that can defend effectively and shift the pressure onto Sevastova who can push too hard and produce plenty of errors.

Sevastova will have to be careful, but she has a decent first serve which can set up points for her against an opponent who has very good movement and is effective defensively. However Beck will allow Sevastova to dictate the points and the performances of the last couple of months has to set up the Latvian to produce a big effort here.

Beck's serve is one that can be attacked by Sevastova and I think she will be able to produce the break points. Things won't be comfortable with some long rallies to be played by both of them, but I like Sevastova to come through with a 7-5, 6-3 win.

MY PICKS: Nick Kyrgios - 1.5 Sets @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 6.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Jeremy Chardy - 6.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet365 (2 Units)
Tomas Berdych - 6.5 Games @ 1.91 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Sorana Cirstea @ 2.25 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Caroline Garcia - 5.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Tatjana Maria - 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet365 (2 Units)
Anastasija Sevastova - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

French Open Update: 9-5, + 6.44 Units (28 Units Staked, + 23% Yield)

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