2019 ATP French Open Round 3 Betting Preview: Is Alexander Zverev in Trouble?

2019 ATP French Open Round 3 Betting Preview: Is Alexander Zverev in Trouble? article feature image

Geoff Curry, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Fabio Fognini

  • Round 3 of the 2019 French Open continues Saturday at 5:00 a.m. ET, so get your bets in early!
  • Sean Zerillo details his two favorite plays on the men's side on the final day of the third round.

On Friday, Laslo Djere (+300) failed to put away Kei Nishikori despite a two-break lead in the final set; hitting 20 of his 64 unforced errors in the fifth set alone.

Fortunately, Djere covered the game spread (+6) easily, but that was a crushing moneyline beat to begin the day.

On Saturday, there are two matches that I bet on; one of which was a look-ahead matchup that I had eyed when the draw came out, and the other based upon a player whose stock is visually trending upwards at Rolland-Garros.

Odds, especially live odds, swing quicker in tennis than in any other sport, so stay tuned on Twitter for my entire ATP French Open betting card for Saturday, June 1. 

Fabio Fognini vs. Roberto Bautista Agut

Friday, 5:00 a.m. ET

Foginini is one of the most enigmatic players on tour. He consistently maintains a high ranking (current world No. 12), but has never cracked the top 10 and only recently received his highest career ranking (No. 11) on May 20.

“Fogna” is a clay-court specialist who has nine career titles, eight of which came on dirt. Throughout his career, he has consistently racked up enough points to maintain a high ranking by performing well at ATP 250 and 500 tournaments while failing to make it to the big rounds at Majors or Masters events.

However, Fognini dented that narrative by winning the Monte-Carlo Masters in April, while beating world No. 3 Alexander Zverev (7-6, 6-1), No. 9 Borna Coric (1-6, 6-3, 6-2), and No. 2 Rafael Nadal (6-4, 6-2) consecutively, just to make it to the final.

He became just the fourth player to defeat Nadal three times on clay, alongside Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, and Gaston Gaudio.

Fognini has a spotty history at the French Open, making it past the third round only twice (2011, 2018), and never beyond the Quarterfinals.

However, he also had a spotty history at Masters events before April, and that storyline changed quickly.

Fognini looked extremely engaged in his second-round victory over Federico Delbonis: consistently fist-pumping and yelling to the crowd after big points, and smashing his racquet when he fell behind before rallying back at crucial moments.

Fognini has an 8% edge in the return stats over Bautista Agut, ranking 5th on clay over the past year by winning 33.4% of his return games.

However, the Spaniard has an edge of 7.3% in service stats, winning on serve 53.8% of the time (27th).

If any sets go to a tiebreak, Fognini has a distinct advantage – winning 58.8% of his tiebreaks on clay over the course of his career while Bautista Agut has been below average at tiebreaks (47.4%).

Head-to-head matchups are overrated for handicapping future matches, but Fognini has won six of the nine contests between these players with a 3-1 record on clay.

Bautista Agut won the only 5-set match between the two (2013 Australian Open) and also has the most recent victory (6-4, 6-4) on the hardcourts at the Miami Masters earlier in 2019.

It’s not often that you get to back a motivated and engaged Fabio Fogini. On Thursday, it looked like he still had plenty more left in the tank after a harder than it looked four-set victory.

THE PICK: Fabio Fognini (-130) Moneyline

Dušan Lajović vs. Alexander Zverev

Friday, 5:00 a.m. ET

Oddly, this was the one match that I was looking ahead to as a potential upset play when the draw came out, figuring that you could get juicy odds on what should ultimately be a close matchup.

These two played a five-setter at the 2018 French Open, with Zverev prevailing (2-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2).

Lajović is 28-years-old, hasn’t made it out of the second round since his first entry into in the main draw (4th round, 2014) and is just 7-6 on clay and 13-13 overall in 2019. He also dropped five of his final six matches before arriving in Paris.

But that losing streak began after a surprising run to the final in Monte-Carlo, where Lajović defeated world No. 21 David Goffin, No. 5 Dominic Thiem, and No. 14 Daniil Medvedev before losing in straight sets to Fognini in the final.

The Serbian’s clay court stats suggest that he can keep up with his younger German opponent here.

Lajović has a two percent edge on the serve (78.6% to 76.8%) while Zverev has a 3.2% advantage on the return (30.2% vs. 27%). Neither are particularly good at tiebreaks, though Zverev has the edge there too (48.3% vs. 37.8%).

Zvererv has been tested more than Lajović has been over the first two rounds. The German went five sets in his first match and won his second in a third-set tiebreak. Lajovic won both of his matches in straight sets, only losing two games on serve.  

However, Lajović is also in the doubles draw and has advanced to the Round of 16, with his next match coming on Sunday. Though he’s played two fewer sets than Zverev, he’s made up for that energy in doubles activity.

I grabbed Lajović shortly after the line opened near +350, suggesting a 22% win probability, and it has now moved in his favor closer to +300 (25% probability).

THE PICK: Dušan Lajović (+360) Moneyline