2023 French Open Expert Picks | Pliskova vs Stephens & Haddad Maia vs Maria

2023 French Open Expert Picks | Pliskova vs Stephens & Haddad Maia vs Maria article feature image

Robert Prange/Getty. Pictured: Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Sunday at Roland Garros was exciting and the first-round action continues on Monday!

I’ve found value on two of Monday's matchups — Pliskova vs Stephens and Haddad Maia vs Maria.

Read on for my 2023 French Open expert picks.

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

2023 French Open Expert Picks

Karolina Pliskova (-138) vs Sloane Stephens (+115)

5:45 a.m. ET

Karolina Pliskova last played in Rome, where she suffered a disappointing 6-7(3), 2-6 defeat to Anna Bondar. Pliskova, known for her serve, won just 54% of her service points and was broken on four occasions. The Czech also won just 33% of her return points, breaking twice.

Pliskova has gone just 2-2 on clay for the season. As a professional, Pliskova is a solid 157-115 on the dirt. The Czech's game doesn't work very well on clay. Slower conditions neutralize Pliskova's big serve and her flatter groundstrokes don't cut through the court nearly as well. Pliskova is also not the best mover, which works against her on clay too.

Sloane Stephens lost 1-6, 1-6 to Lucia Bronzetti in the Rabat semifinals. Stephens won just 42% of her service points and was broken five times. She won just 30% of her return points, failing to generate a break point.

However, Stephens has played lots of tennis on clay this year, going 10-4 on the dirt in 2023 with a WTA $125k title in Saint Malo. The American is quick, anticipates well and hits with consistent depth. Stephens' ability to neutralize power and counterpunch with good pop and excellent precision is world class. While Stephens' motivation can waver, that shouldn't be a problem here.

I see Stephens' loss to Bronzetti as a "schedule loss" with Roland Garros approaching, especially given that Stephens just played a physical match against Peyton Stearns in the quarterfinals.

Pliskova's game already doesn't work particularly well on clay and her loss to Bondar was troubling.

Stephens should return well and force the Czech into a physical match where her mediocre movement will be exposed.

Pliskova shouldn't overpower Stephens, with the American instead retrieving plenty of Pliskova's groundstrokes, absorbing her pace and daring her to press with her flat groundstrokes in a vain attempt to hit through her.

Pick: Stephens ML (+115 via FanDuel)

The must-have app for sports bettors

The best betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Beatriz Haddad Maia (-400) vs Tatjana Maria (+310)

9 a.m. ET

Beatriz Haddad Maia last played in Rome, where she made the quarterfinals, but fell 7-6(2), 6-7(6), 3-6 to Anhelina Kalinina. Haddad Maia won just 52% of her service points, getting broken eight times. But, the Brazilian did win 46% of her return points, breaking on six occasions.

She might only be 6-4 and clay this year, but she has a strong 202-102 career-record on the dirt. Haddad Maia's heavy, lefty forehand is crucial to her successes, as her rally tolerance and controlled aggression from this wing are superb. The Brazilian's serve is tough to handle, as well, and she is fairly solid from her backhand wing, although it can break down.

And, while Haddad Maia experienced calf discomfort during the Kalinina match, she is a very physical player and the injury didn't look serious.

Tatjana Maria most recently was in Rabat, making the second round but losing 7-6(1), 4-6, 5-7 to Lucia Bronzetti. Maria won just 52% of her service points, getting broken on seven occasions. However, the German won 52% of her second-serve returns and broke Bronzetti's serve five times.

While Maria is 11-5 on clay in 2023, seven of those wins came either on a slick, indoor surface or in altitude, which helps Maria's game. In fact, both of Maria's clay WTA Tour titles were in altitude conditions.

The German has a fairly big first serve and excellent variety, with her slices giving opponents fits. She also has a high tennis IQ and tries to move forward when she can. But, the clay reduces the effectiveness of Maria's first serve, her slices to sit up more and it's harder to come to the net.

Haddad Maia is the better player in these conditions. She has the rally tolerance to withstand the barrage of slices and the patience to wait for the right moment to strike.

Maria will likely press when she's unable to gain an early edge in points, making ill-fated forays forward. Haddad Maia should drag Maria around with her forehand as well.

Finally, when looking at Elo ratings, Haddad Maia's overall Elo is 206.9 points higher than Maria's and her clay-court Elo is 158.8 points above the German's.

Pick: Maria to NOT win a set (-130 via FanDuel)

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.