2022 French Open Odds, Predictions, Previews: Cilic to Dominate as Favorite (May 28)
John Berry/Getty. Pictured: Marin Cilic.
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When the French Open draw was released and it put the three favorites to win the tournament – Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz – in the same half, opportunity was created for all those finding themselves in the opposite half.
That may not hold true for anyone more than the big Croatian Marin Cilic. Playing an aging Gilles Simon, the question is, can he seize the chance presented to him to reach the second week in Paris?
Let’s jump into that match as well as the tilt between Casper Ruud and Lorenzo Sonego.
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Marin Cilic (-665) vs. Gilles Simon (+450)
9 a.m. ET
Let’s be real here, Cilic has been dealt one heck of a hand to this point.
His draw has been Attila Balazs, who has just returned from injury and used a protected ranking to enter, Marton Fucsovics, who can grind you down, but is no fan of red clay, and now a 36-year-old Gilles Simon in the twilight of his career.
There are numerous reasons here to lay the games, even with the spread sitting at 7.5. The first is the gas tank of Simon. The Frenchman has put in an admirable effort to get to this point. Taking out Pablo Carreno Busta as one of the longest underdogs on the board and then grinding down American Steve Johnson? Exemplary performances.
The problem is, he did look like his legs were getting really heavy in the latter stages of that second round match with Johnson.
Enter Cilic, whose game has some similarities to Johnson’s, but is head-and-shoulders above it. The Cilic serve – even on clay – is a handful to deal with. The Croatian has won over 75% of points behind his first serve on clay this season and his second serve has also held up well.
Cilic’s forehand is an elite weapon, and the backhand isn’t nearly as attackable as Simon’s previous opponent.
The 7.5-game spread would be an intriguing look, especially at plus money, before factoring in the fact that Simon’s serve is vulnerable and the later sets provide a great chance for Cilic to put up a lopsided set, which comes in handy in situations like this.
Pick: Cilic -7.5 games ( +110 via DraftKings)
Casper Ruud (-625) vs. Lorenzo Sonego (+425)
10 a.m. ET
Another one of the many matches that has a rather decisive favorite on the board for Saturday features Ruud and Sonego. This one, though, has the potential to be more exciting than the odds would suggest.
Billed as one of the heirs apparent to the likes of Nadal and Djokovic on clay, Ruud plays with some of the heaviest topspin on tour, making him an absolute menace to play against.
At just 23-years old, Ruud has already stocked his trophy case with seven ATP Tour titles on the red dirt. The caveat? All seven came at the 250 level.
His talent and abilities on the surface are undeniable. The problem is, he’s not quite the dominant player that the betting markets make him out to be. Ruud already has three outright losses as an overwhelming favorite this season and he has failed to cover the game spread in many others.
Ruud enters this match in-form, having reached the semifinal in Rome (losing only to Djokovic), winning Geneva and he is now in the third round in Paris.
Even then, there have been some question marks. He needed a third-set tiebreak in Geneva’s final against Joao Sousa (+500) and four sets – three of which went to a tiebreak – against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (+1400) in the first round at Roland Garros.
In Sonego, he will get someone who is all-too-used to playing against topspin being a clay-court specialist himself. Sonego can deal with the extended rallies and shotmaking at a high-enough level to find winners of his own. His two-handed backhand is solid enough to hold its own if Ruud tries to target it with that topspin forehand, as well.
Considering Ruud’s underwhelming play this season, including in his wins, and Sonego’s competence on the red dirt, backing the Italian to take a set at -120 is a decent look.
Pick: Sonego +2.5 sets (-120 via DraftKings)