Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Fabio Fognini
We’ve got eight third-round matches on the schedule Saturday as Day 7 unwinds at the French Open. Favorites dominated the tournament over the first few days, but we did finally see some life from underdogs on Friday with plus-money wins from Fernando Verdasco, Marco Cecchinato and most likely Karen Khachanov, who won the first two sets over Lucas Pouille before play was halted.
After looking at Saturday’s card, it seems to me that favorites should have another strong showing — with not many tempting underdogs to choose from. Among the bigger-priced dogs, I suppose Stevie Johnson looks to have the most juice, as Marin Cilic has advanced to the quarterfinal only once in his career at Roland-Garros. He also has a history of shaky losses on clay, including a loss in the first round against Marco Trungelliti in 2016. So I’d err on the side of caution before throwing him into any parlays as a “lock” — but I’m also not rushing to back Stevie Johnson.
You could also possibly make a case for Albert Ramos, as Juan Martin del Potro still has injury questions. And maybe Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who should find his way into a few tiebreaks with John Isner. But other than that, Max Marterer, Kevin Anderson and Rafael Nadal should all get through with ease.
Let’s take a look at the two ATP plays I bet for Saturday before closing with a quick look at the WTA card.
Day 7 Parlay Potential
- Borna Coric (-154) vs. Diego Schwartzman
- Max Marterer (-400) vs. Jurgen Zopp
- Kevin Anderson (-833) vs. Mischa Zverev
I’m high on Borna Coric ahead of his match against Diego Schwartzman, although Coric’s price has jumped from -133 all the way up to -154 over the past 24 hours. At that price, there’s slightly less value with the Croat, but he’s never dropped a set to Schwartzman in two meetings, and I fancy Borna to go another round here given his form over the past few months.
Schwartzman is a good player, but he tends to get overpowered by players with bigger games. Coric, who’s improved greatly over the past year, has developed a much bigger game — hitting deep strokes and going for lines — and should be able to put out points on his own terms. Schwartzman is a classic counter puncher, but Coric is no slouch at turning defense into offense in his own right, and I give him the edge from the baseline.
- Kiki Bertens (-154) vs. Angelique Kerber
- Elise Mertens (-278) vs. Daria Gavrilova
Both players are just in a different class than their opponent on the clay. In fact, Elise Mertens took out Daria Gavrilova last year at the French and Bertens did the same to Kerber in 2016.
Both should be too good tomorrow — and make for a nice double when you parlay them together (pays out +124). — Stuckey