The first round of play continues at the prestigious French Open played at Roland Garros. The first round is stretched over three days as 128 participants on the men’s and women’s sides vie for the ultimate clay-court crown. Unlike other Grand Slams, the French Open starts on a Sunday and not a Monday.
This is because clay-court matches can be a grind, and it gives the tournament director more time to make sure all the matches are completed on schedule. Let’s take a look at our second day of action to find winning tennis picks.
Madison Keys vs. Anna Kalinskaya
Monday, May 23, 2022 – 10:15 AM EDT at Court 7
After a strong start to the season, Madison Keys has struggled in her most recent events. Madison Keys won the title at the Adelaide tournament, and then made the semifinals in the Australian Open before falling to Ash Barty. She followed that up with a quarterfinal run in Indian Wells where she lost to Iga Swiatek. Her clay results have been rather unimpressive, however.
She lost in the second round in Charleston and then fell in the first round in Madrid and Rome. She is 1-3 on the clay season so far. After looking at these pedestrian results, you would think that Madison Keys does not have a chance for an impressive performance here this fortnight.
However, she is nicknamed "Grand Slam Keys" for a reason, and always raises her level of play when entering a big event. Can she follow up her semifinal performance in Australia with another surprising run? I believe so, and she's often been able to flip on her form like a light switch in the major events.
Anna Kalinskaya also comes into the matchup with a poor clay swing to warm up for the tournament. Kalinskaya opted out of the major tournaments on the Road to Roland Garros and instead played 2 Challengers and a 250 at WTA Rabat in Morocco. Kalinskaya is also 1-3 on the clay season with her only win coming in the Paris Challenger event.
Like Keys, Kalinskaya will be looking to up her level of play on the big stage. However, Kalinskaya does not have the track record of rising to the occasion like her opponent today. I like Madison Keys to get the win here, but unfortunately, the WTA odds are too high to make that a viable wager.
At -260 on the money line and -4.5 on the game spread, the books have accurately priced this match. We are not finding an edge on Keys to open this tournament strong. Because I do like this match to stay close, I believe the best angle to approach this
match is the Over.
I like the Over more than the +4.5 games because while Madison Keys can drop into lulls of her level of play, she could also have a dominant third-set if they get that far, which would destroy your game spread.
Therefore, I think the best way to approach this match is by betting Madison Keys/Anna Kalinskaya Over 20 games.
Benoit Paire vs. Ilya Ivashka
Monday, May 23, 2022 - 09:30 AM EDT at Court Simonne-Mathieu
Benoit Paire continues to be an enigma in the tennis world. The charismatic French player is known for his roller coaster levels of motivation. This season, however, Paire has definitely been fighting hard in his matches. Unfortunately, this does not always translate into wins.
Paire had a six-match losing streak that lasted from January to March and then did not win another match for a full month between March and April. Paire sandwiched a lone win in between a 6 match and a 5 match losing streak. Paire is 3-3 since those terrible streaks. Paire has also shown fight, with his three wins being three-set matches.
His most recent loss was in Geneva to top clay player Casper Ruud, and he cannot be downgraded for a loss to such a top player.
Paire has made runs at the French Open before, and in 2019 he made the round of 16. Paire has been fighting and maybe the fruits of his labor will finally bloom in front of his home crowd this fortnight.
Ilya Ivashka is the top-ranked Belarusian player. He is coming off a strong performance in Geneva where he defeated Marcos Giron and Denis Shapovalov before falling in the quarterfinal.
Ivashka struggled with his fitness last season but he looks back to being fit and in form. Last season, Ivashka had a great clay swing but fell in the first round of the French Open.
Ivashka hopes to avoid a similar fate today against the talented yet mercurial Frenchman. Ilya Ivashka and Benoit Paire have never played and this will be their first meeting. Although Ivashka comes into the match in better form, Paire's top level of play is higher, he just finds it less frequently.
I think the ATP odds give us value on Benoit Paire to get the upset here. The most important thing that Paire showed in his recent losses was a fighting spirit. Paire has all the talent to beat the top players, he just struggles with motivation and effort. But a fully motivated Paire is a player to be reckoned with and I believe we will see that today.
His recent results and level of effort show that he does care about making a mark in the world of tennis and not letting his career slip away. I believe he will get a chance to prove that in front of his home fans today. Our second bet for today's French Open action is Benoit Paire ML.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.