Tennis Betting Advice - June 2021

French Open: Day 3 – two quirky players at 40/1…

Tuesday 1st June 2021

In your Ones to Watch email today:

  • Day 3…
  • Two quirky players at 40/1…
  • Play starts 10am…

Good morning and welcome to Day 3 of your French Open 2021 daily service.

I’ll be in your inbox every morning for the next fortnight. If you have any questions or want to drop me a line during the tournament, I’m on hand via email:  

Actions and reactions…

Tennis can be a lonely sport. Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli made that point on Sunday night. Anyone could find it tough to be in the limelight. No matter if it’s a side effect of being extremely good at your job. No matter if the cash rolls in.

And if you’re battling with a mental health issue, then the world of high-profile professional sport can put a real strain on you. I’m talking here about Naomi Osaka. A four-time Grand Slam winner by the age of just 23, Osaka withdrew from the French Open yesterday evening.

The tennis news is dominated by the story this morning, so I won’t go into it all here. But I will say this. I reckon history will show that the powers that be at the French Open didn’t come out of this looking too good. A bit behind the times, I think. Rather than getting bogged down in the imposed rulebook, what was needed here was simple: compassion.

Market movements…

Returning to our Ones to Watch business, the withdrawal of Osaka from the bottom half of the draw means the Outright Winner market has seen an adjustment overnight. And after two other Grand Slam winners – Garbine Muguruza and Bianca Andreescu – were knocked out in the 1st round on Monday. The women’s event is once again worthy of the anything-can-happen tag, ‘it’s wide open’…

In terms of the players that we’ve got in the book already, and after having each got through the 1st round, the price shifts are as follows:

  • Paula Badosa 25/1 pick on day one. Now 16/1 at best, and 12/1 in general
  • Veronika Kudermetova – 100/1+ early-bird pick, 50/1 on day one this week. Now 28/1 at best
  • Leylah Fernandez – 100/1+ pick. Still available at triple-figure odds today
  • Jessica Pegula – 125/1 pick yesterday. Now 80/1 & 66/1 in general

One out of 256 would be great…

Another thing about tennis is that every week, pretty much every player goes home disappointed. Or at least wondering what could’ve been. Only one person gets to lift the trophy – and that’s the ultimate goal.

In a Grand Slam like the French Open, 128 players line-up in the field. Across the men’s & women’s tournaments, that’s 256 names…

At the odds we go for, I’d be delighted if we got one player through to the latter stages with the chance to challenge for the title…

It’s not a firm-set rule, but at a Grand Slam, I tend to have around 10 Each Way picks in total in the Outright Winner markets. Sometimes more, sometimes less. It depends on the specific tournament, draw, and prices, of course.

If we take that 10-pick figure, then that means I’m covering 3.9% of the total field, across the men’s & women’s combined. And invariably, the 10 players I might put up are not going to be in with the 5/1 favourites for the title…

With odds of 25/1… 50/1… and the really, really big outsiders at 100/1 and bigger. It only takes one...

And I’m never trying to ‘pick the winner’ at any given tournament. Here at Ones to Watch, we back appealing outsiders at attractive Each Way prices. When one hits form at the right time and makes it all the way to the final, the rewards are there. That doesn’t happen at every tournament – but at the odds we play at, it doesn’t need to.

When a 100/1 shot wins, like Iga Swiatek at the French Open last year, it’s all smiles and then some. When a player crashes and burns in the very first round, like my 150/1 pick Petra Martic did yesterday, it stings in the moment. But all will be forgotten in the long run. In 12 months from now, we won’t remember that Martic match. But if you were on Swiatek last year, then I don’t think you’ll ever forget that one.

Two quirky players at 40/1…

The 1st round completes today. I’m adding two more names to the Outright Winner book. By getting on these two now, we can ensure the best prices – in the event of any upsets seeing the big names tumble.

The two players I’ve got in mind today are both intriguing characters on court. They’re thinkers. They’re smart. They’ve got humour, but can look grumpy. They’re often poker-faced, and can stay calm and think clearly on the big points. Both have got the inner determination to succeed, to improve. They love winning more than they fear losing.

In the women’s game, that name is Karolina Muchova. The Czech was on our pre-season Ones to Watch list for 2020, a year that was of course cut short in terms of tournaments and court time. Now age 24, Karolina has set herself up for a career breakthrough year in 2021.

Muchova started the new season with a best-ever Grand Slam run, reaching the semi finals at the Australian Open. We duly added her to our book as a 50/1 early-bird pick for Wimbledon this summer.

On the hard courts in Melbourne, Karolina beat world no.1, Ash Barty to reach the semis. On the clay in Madrid last month, she beat world no.2 Osaka, and went on to reach the quarter finals. Muchova has the skills and temperament to play Grand Slam tennis. You don’t see many players with that combination. Outsider odds of 40/1 appeal.

In the men’s, the quirky player with the big game is Daniil Medvedev. The Russian appeared on our pre-season Ones to Watch list in 2019. He went on to reach the US Open final that year, from ante post odds of 100/1. The rangy 25-year-old is now up to no.2 in the world. This guy is the real deal.

Medvedev has arrived in Paris declaring somewhat mysteriously that, all of a sudden, he feels good about playing here. In the past, he’s made no secret of his distaste for clay courts in general. But Daniil doesn’t lack confidence, and he’s not the kind of player that will turn up at Roland Garros every spring just to collect a pay cheque. Speaking last week after playing his first practice sessions here in Paris, he said:

"I feel happy about life. I feel happy about tennis … So far I have been playing amazing. I mean, I didn't feel that it was clay. I was playing like on hard courts.”

Four 1st round defeats in a row at this venue were then put to bed on Monday, with Medvedev winning his first ever match at the French Open. Beating Alexander Bublik in straight sets, 3-0. Seeded no.2, and in the side of the draw that avoids the traditional big three of Nadal, Djokovic & Federer, this Next Gen player can make himself a contender here.

I’m compelled this morning to refer back to what I wrote on day two of the French Open last year, when the Russian was also a 40/1 outsider:

To put those odds in perspective, consider this: he went off at 14/1 at the US Open last summer [2019], and reached the final. At the Australian Open, the bookies had Medvedev at 8/1 at best. And at the US Open, Daniil started as a 6/1 shot. The reason for the huge price difference is the playing surface. Medvedev has never won a match on the Roland Garros clay courts. But all that form refers to before his big breakout run last summer. The Russian is now a Top 5 player, and challenging for the biggest titles. This is the guy that beat Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas on clay at Monte Carlo, and reached the final in Barcelona. He can play on clay … Medvedev has got the mindset and stamina to reach Grand Slam finals. This French Open presents a chance to back him at a big price.

Back to the current tournament, Medvedev is 40/1 for the title, and in the 4th Quarter of the draw. World no.5 and fellow Next Gen star Stefanos Tsitsipas is the favourite in this section. But unlike Medvedev, the Greek 22-year-old is yet to reach a first Major final. The expectation is that it will come. But if these two young men do face off in the quarter final next week, the head-to-head record could prove significant: it’s 6-1 to Medvedev. And that includes victory in their sole previous encounter on clay.

Sevastova v Brady…

Here’s a Match Winner price that I like the of this morning. Jennifer Brady’s French Open records reads: 1st round, 2nd round, 2nd round, 1st round. The American has just split with her coach. Her career clay-court match win-loss is an uninspiring 45-43.

In comparison, Anastasija Sevastova is much more comfortable and experienced in these conditions, having reached the 4th round in her last visit to Roland Garros, only beaten by the eventual runner-up. The Latvian’s career match record on clay is 242-101.

The bookies have priced this match up as 50-50. The value is with Sevastova at Even Money. Play starts 10am.

Ones to Watch

Match Winner

  • Anastasija Sevastova to beat Jennifer Brady is Evens (2.0) with Bet365, BetVictor, NetBet, 10Bet

Women’s Outright Winner – Each Way

  • Karolina Muchova is 40/1 with Bet365 and in general

Men’s Outright Winner – Each Way

  • Daniil Medvedev is 40/1 with Bet365 and in general

Each Way terms: 1/2 odds 1-2 places.

I’ll be back tomorrow morning with your Day 4 email, when we’ll be getting stuck in to the 2nd round matches.

Enjoy the tennis…

Best wishes,

Oliver Upstone

Tom Wilson

Ones to Watch