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2022 French Open Best Bets, Odds, Preview: Clay-Courters to Excel in Sinner-McDonald & Goffin-Hurkacz (May 28)

2022 French Open Best Bets, Odds, Preview: Clay-Courters to Excel in Sinner-McDonald & Goffin-Hurkacz (May 28) article feature image
Credit:

Clive Brunskill/Getty. Pictured: David Goffin.

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With the top half of the men’s draw set for the second week, it’s over to the men in the bottom half to try and secure their places in the latter stages of the French Open.

The draw was favorable to everyone in the bottom half to begin with, and the chance to make a surprise run has only increased for many who weren’t considered favorites from the outset as Stefanos Tsitsipas hasn’t looked at his best through two rounds.

Let’s delve into a pair of seeds’ matches that have a great chance to make a statement in the coming days in Paris.

Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.

Jannik Sinner (-1665) vs. Mackenzie McDonald (+850)

5 a.m. ET

Getting the day started on Court Simmone-Mathieu is Italian youngster Jannik Sinner. As one of the favorites to emerge from the fourth quarter, his path to the fourth round is about as fortunate as he could have hoped for.

No disrespect to American Mackenzie McDonald, but there are certainly tougher opponents on clay than he in the third round of a Grand Slam.

This matchup also works well for Sinner, whose serve is good enough for him to hold on a consistent basis, and whose shotmaking and ability to break will be assisted by McDonald having a tough time to really dictate behind his serve.

McDonald had a breakout campaign last year on the dirt, but in 2022 his record hasn’t been good and points won behind both first and second serves have declined by several percentage points, while his hold percentage has dropped off a cliff, falling from 79% in 2021 to 63% in 2022. Last year appears to be more of an outlier than anything.

With Sinner more at home on the clay – which helps mask his movement issues and his ability to return well – and as he continues to thrive on both his forehand and backhand wings, the Italian has a tremendous chance to not just move through to the fourth round, but do so efficiently.

Pick:  Sinner -8.5 games (+110 via DraftKings)

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Hubert Hurkacz (-150) vs. David Goffin (+115)

8:15 a.m. ET

Two matches later on the same court, it’ll be Hubert Hurkacz taking on David Goffin in what could be one of the more underrated matches of the day.

It’s a rematch of the pair’s two tiebreak first-round matchup in Rome, just with much higher stakes and in a longer format.

After starting the year in awful form, Goffin has hit his stride during the clay season. He won the title in Marrakech, then made the third rounds in Monte Carlo and Madrid.

Having had to play the talented Jiri Lehecka and always-tough out Frances Tiafoe in the opening two rounds, Goffin has earned his place in the third round.

Hurkacz has also been much better this season on the slower clay, having added a bit of rally tolerance to his game.

His first serve and forehand combination is also going to be dangerous – regardless of surface – but Goffin possesses the right mixture of traits to challenge and beat the big-serving Pole.

With a sneaky amount of pace behind his first serve and his groundstrokes, Goffin has the ability to stick with Hurkacz in sets that do end up being serve-oriented.

He’s won an impressive 73% of points behind his first serves & over 50% behind his second on clay this season. Goffin’s hold percentage of 80% is also impressive given the surface.

The big advantage comes on return, where Goffin is the far superior player. His ability to play – and win – longer rallies is an advantage on return, and his backhand is much more reliable than his counterpart’s.

Factor in a break percentage approaching 30% (Hurkacz’s is just 19%) and you’ve got the makings for an upset in this match.

Pick: Goffin ML  (+115 via BetMGM)

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