Tennis Betting Advice - June 2021

French Open: Day 7 – Middle Saturday magic at 100/1…

Saturday 5th June 2021

In your Ones to Watch email today:

  • Day 7…
  • Medvedev building momentum…
  • My Saturday selections…

Good morning and welcome to Day 7 of your French Open 2021 daily service. I’m in your inbox every morning. If you want to get in mine, email me at:  

Tight margins: 52% an average, but not a rule…

I’ll never cease to be fascinated by the tennis scoring system.

On Thursday afternoon, our 40/1 Ones to Watch pick Casper Ruud won more points than Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (188-173) – but lost the match, 7-6, 2-6, 7-6, 0-6, 7-5.

In the evening, our 25/1 women’s Outright Winner selection Paula Badosa won fewer points than her opponent Ana Bogan (116-121) – and saved a match point – to win the match. Coming from a set down to prevail 2-6, 7-6, 6-4.

Last year I heard John McEnroe talking about the average percentage of Total Points needed to win a match. He was referring to some data that I admit I don’t have to hand. But Mac said the number-crunchers had discovered that if you can win 52% of points in a match, then on average, that will be enough to get the W by your name…

Ruud claimed 52% of points yesterday, but lost.

Badosa took just 49%, yet managed to win.

The truth remains that, in high-level sport, and in a game of small margins like this. Some points mean more than others. That match point that Badosa saved could end up being very significant.

One player that won by a comparatively large margin yesterday was Daniil Medvedev. Our 40/1 pick made impressively light work of our 1,000/1 rank outsider Reilly Opelka. The Russian moved smoothly in to the Last 16, with a straight-sets victory, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4. Medvedev won 59% of the points.

The Outright Book…

Our Ones to Watch approach is to back appealing outsiders at attractive prices. That means we will invariably place more losing bets than we do winners. But the rewards are magnificent when they come.

As we approach the end of week one of the French Open, we’ve got five of our 11 initial Outright Winner selections still in the frame.

The women’s Last 16 will be without several of the very biggest names. Along the way in week one, be it through withdrawals, injuries, or defeat. The draw has opened up…

After Aryna Sabalenka was beaten in the 3rd round on Thursday, the top three seeds are all out. With world no.1 Ash Barty and no.2 Naomi Osaka both already departed.

Last year’s 100/1 victor, Iga Swiatek, started this week as the 11/4 (3.75) favourite, and is now just 6/5 (2.2) to defend her title. You and I are on the hunt for the next big Grand Slam breakthrough…

Our women’s list consists of:

  • Paula Badosa 25/1 – now the 8/1 second-favourite – through to the 4th round
  • Karolina Muchova 40/1 – now 25/1 at best, 22/1 in general. Plays in the 3rd round today
  • Jessica Pegula 125/1 – 100/1 – now 66/1. Plays in 3rd round today
  • Marta Kostyuk 160/1 – 80/1 – now 50/1. Plays in 3rd round today

Medvedev building momentum…

In the men’s, we’ve left the big boys to it in the top half of the draw…

Reigning champ and record 13-time Roland Garros winner Rafael Nadal is odds-on at 8/11 (1.73) to take the crown again. He faces a fellow left-hander in the 3rd round this afternoon, Cameron Norrie. Whey they met on clay in Barcelona last month, Rafa prevailed 6-1, 6-4. Bet365 have Norrie at 18/1 for the upset today, which is about as big as you’ll see for any match at this level.

Elsewhere in that top half, world no.1 Novak Djokovic is also looking menacing. Novak is 4/1 at best. If Roger Federer wasn’t in that side of the draw with Nadal & Djokovic, then his current price of 50/1 would be crying out to be backed. But then again, if Roger was in the more open-looking bottom half, then he’s wouldn’t be 50/1 in the first place…

That bottom side of the sheet is being billed as the land of hope and opportunity for the next generation. The 22-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas is looking to reach a first Grand Slam final, and is just 9/2 (5.5) at best to win the title. Next line in the bookies’ eyes is Alexander Zverev, aiming to win a first Major. The 24-year-old German is 10/1.

We’re on another of the top-class Next Gen men. And at a fantastic price:

  • Daniil Medvedev 40/1 – now 25/1 & 22/1

The reason for the big Medvedev price was that, until this week, the 25-year-old Russian had never won a match here at Roland Garros. Daniil is looking good so far, with bigger tests to come. The early signs in week one though, are that he’s finding his groove on the clay. If that continues, then odds of 40/1 for the world no.2 may well end up looking very good for us indeed.

A cow on ice, and a dog in the dirt…

Medvedev’s Paris progress reminds me of one of our French Open title winners from a few years back – the now-retired Maria Sharapova

Another well-travelled and smart Russian, Sharapova once famously said she felt like ‘a cow on ice’ on the clay. Maria went on to make a mockery of that self-assessment, lifting the French Open trophy not once, but twice.

Medvedev raised a few smiles earlier this season, openly vocal about his distaste for life on the clay. Jokingly asking aloud during a match, ‘You like to be in the dirt like a dog?’

Three wins this week doesn’t mean we can get too excited about our 40/1 men’s outsider yet. But I do feel like we’re on one of the right underdogs here.

In a piece for the official Roland Garros website, respected tennis writer Chris Oddo also made these good points this week. Adding encouragement to the case for Medvedev:

“The French faithful seem eager to get on his bandwagon as well. It isn't just Medvedev's daring tennis or underdog mentality that appeals to the Parisian sensibility, he also speaks fluent French, thanks to years of training in the south of France and the tutelage of his French coach, Gilles Cervara.”

Potential upsets on Day 7…

If you’re looking for two match outsiders to cheer for today, then at 4/1+ apiece. Philipp Kohlschreiber and Anett Kontaveit will have their backers…

Kohlschreiber, 37 years of age and enjoying a surprise burst of form here, is no stranger to a big win on the Paris clay. He knocked out Novak Djokovic in 2009, helping pave the way that year for Federer to win his one & only French Open title.

More recently, the experienced German pulled off a 7/1 upset in the 2nd round this week, beating one of 2021’s form players, Aslan Karatsev. This time, Kohlschreiber is a little shorter in the Match Winner betting, at 4/1, taking on one of the tour’s most prolific men on clay, Diego Schwartzman.

Kontaveit faces the unenviable task of facing Iga Swiatek. The Estonian can draw on a 2-0 head-to-head record in this match-up. As long as nobody reminds her that both those wins came before the Polish youngster blasted her way through the Paris field in 2020. And neither of those victories came on clay. Anett can match Iga’s power at times. But in terms of mental strength in the big-pressure moments on court, it’s hard for me to trust the 9/2 underdog in this one.

Three contenders to go the distance…

Yesterday’s three-set selections didn’t take me anywhere, but I’m convinced we’re going to see some rollercoasters and nail-biters in the next few days. And three more women’s matches fit that potential bill for me today…

Barbora Krejcikova v Elina Svitolina

Krejcikova is on a seven-match winning streak on the clay, and has won nine of her last 10 – with the only defeat coming against Swiatek. Svitolina has made the French Open quarter finals three times in the last six years. She’s one of the toughest outs on the tour for opponents; Svitolina has lost nine matches all season, and six of those went to the full three sets.

Sofia Kenin v Jessica Pegula

This all-American clash should be entertaining. In 2020, Kenin was a big star for us, winning the Australian Open at 50/1, then reaching the French Open final as a 40/1 pick. Sonya’s form slumped off in-between, and since. But now that Kenin no longer has her father as her coach (something I thought needed to happen for a while), she’s showing signs of getting back to form. Pegula is the big-price American we have on our side this time, in the book at 100/1+. Jessica won’t fear the challenge today, and this match could really turn out to be a long grind.

Maria Sakkari v Elise Mertens

Mertens has an impressive 22-7 match win-loss record in 2021, including two finals on the WTA Tour. Sakkari is less consistent, but dangerous when she hits her stride. The Greek player has won five of her last seven on clay. Four of those seven matches went to three sets. Unlike the other two encounters listed above, Mertens and Sakkari have played each other several times before. The head-to-head is 4-3 to the Belgian, with two of the last three meetings needing a deciding set to separate them.

  • The treble for all three matches to go Over 2.5 Sets is 13/1, with each priced at around 7/5 (2.4) and 6/4 (2.5) in the Total Sets markets. As with yesterday, I’m combining those three selections in a Trixie (three doubles and a treble)

Middle Saturday magic at 100/1…

Following the scent of a big-odds outcome, I’m also having a smaller bet on three 2-1 Set Betting scores in those selected matches. With the combo paying 100/1 and more…

My three picks there are Mertens to win 2-1, which looks a bit of value to me at 4/1. Krejcikova to continue her fine form, and pile the pressure on the favourite, Svitolina – with the 2-1 score also a 4/1 shot for the underdog. And as a saver of sorts for our tournament pick Pegula, Kenin 2-1 at 3/1+.

With the Total Sets option my main angle here, I’m splitting a stake four ways in a Trixie across these more ambitious Set Betting selections. The 2-1 treble pays 107/1 at Boylesports, 102/1 William Hill, 99/1 Bet365.

These matches start from 11am.

Ones to Watch

Total Sets

  • TRIXIE. Three women’s matches as named above: Over 2.5 Sets (or Total Set: 3). Best prices with Bet365 and BetVictor

Set Betting

  • TRIXIE. Mertens to win 2-1, Krejcikova to win 2-1 & Kenin to win 2-1. Best prices with Boylesports, William Hill, Bet365

I’ll be back on Sunday morning with your Day 8 email. And next week, as well as the French Open, we have the start of the grass court season – with tournaments in Stuttgart and Nottingham. Lots to look forward to.

Enjoy the tennis…

Best wishes,

Oliver Upstone

Tom Wilson

Ones to Watch