French Open 2023 Previews: Best Bets for Day 3, Including Zverev vs Harris
Andreas Solaro/Getty. Pictured: Alexander Zverev.
It's the third and final day of Round 1 at the French Open in the 16th arrondissement in Paris.
Some big names are set to get their quest for the Coupe des Mousquetaires underway, including Alexander Zverev. The big German is playing at the venue for the first time since seriously hurting his ankle in 2022.
Let's break down his match with Lloyd Harris, along with the contest between Emil Ruusuvuori and Gregoire Barrere.
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French Open 2023 Previews
Alexander Zverev (-2500) vs Lloyd Harris (+1100)
6:30 a.m. ET
After a disappointing loss in the quicker conditions of Geneva a week ago, Zverev is set to get his campaign at Roland Garros underway on on Tuesday.
It's a pretty nice draw to ease himself into, as the big German is tasked with hard courter Lloyd Harris, who is still returning to form. He hasn't found much success this season outside of some Challenger Tour events in Asia.
Now, he's tasked with a much tougher opponent, on a much slower surface where the one thing that has worked well for him in recent times.
Throw in the fact that Zverev is a much better returner than just about anyone he's played to date, and it becomes hard to see the path for Harris to keep this one close, barring an incredibly sloppy and poor match from Zverev.
The South African played just one tuneup event, needing three sets to beat an extremely out-of-form Challenger Tour guy in Manuel Guinard in qualifying, before he was easily sent packing by Arthur Rinderknech.
Having this total set at anything above 28.5 to 29 games seems wild to me, let alone the 30.5 that we're seeing in the market at present.
With my numbers showing Zverev winning this with at least one lopsided set more often than not, this number leaves room for a potential 7-5 set along the way and still being able to cash the under.
Pick: Under 30.5 games (-115 via FanDuel)
Emil Ruusuvuori (-225) vs Gregoire Barrere (+180)
8:30 a.m ET
In this match between two traditional hard-court players, give me the underdog that's well over the +150 mark for a few reasons.
First, we've seen the crowds at the first few days at Roland Garros. They've been enormously supportive of the French players, and I wouldn't expect anything different for Barrere here. Just how impactful is that? Who's to say? It certainly can't hurt though.
Secondly, among these two, Barrere is far less prone to committing unforced errors. While both may tend to play a flatter style, Barrere does tend to have some rally tolerance to his game, whereas the Finn plays a much more boom-or-bust type of game. On a slow court, that can be an important distinction.
Finally, I'm much more impressed by the Frenchman's development on clay over the course of the past two seasons.
Last year he turned some heads with a few results, but in 2023 he's played with more spin, more margin for error and looks like he's getting more comfortable moving on the dirt with each passing season. That adjustment and improving comfort is also a nice advantage to have against someone like Ruusuvuori, who has eked out a pair of razor-thin victories against Ugo Humbert, and then only has wins in 2023 against Frances Tiafoe, Alexander Bublik and a doubles pro in Hugo Nys. None of those players are known for their clay-court prowess.
I can't have Ruusuvuori such a large favorite here against someone who has established himself as a tour-level caliber player and shown improvements on the red clay.
Pick: Barrere ML (+180 via FanDuel)