French Open Day 3: Best Bets For Wolf vs Nishioka & Paul vs Stricker

French Open Day 3: Best Bets For Wolf vs Nishioka & Paul vs Stricker article feature image

NurPhoto/Getty. Pictured: JJ Wolf.

The final day of the first round at the French Open is here. 20 spots remain in the second round at Roland Garros and battles for them are set to be thrilling.

American youngster and college phenom J.J. Wolf faces the relentless lefty Yoshihito Nishioka while the older American Tommy Paul takes on Swiss up-and-comer Dominic Stricker.

Here are my picks and analysis for these two matches.

Note: Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing Australian Open matches.

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J.J. Wolf (-115) vs Yoshihito Nishioka (-105)

5 a.m. ET

Both of these players would likely agree that clay is their least favorite surface. For Americans and Japanese, they largely don’t play on clay growing up. The movement on the surface comes less naturally and for the style of tennis that Nishioka plays, that hinders his strengths significantly.

Nishioka got the best of Wolf at a Challenger last year on hard courts. In these conditions, Nishioka presents a difficult matchup for Wolf. he plays deep, loopy lefty forehand to the Wolf backhand. On hard courts, Nishioka has the ability to recover quickly from defensive positions and continually ask questions of Wolf.

Things will be different on clay. Wolf is a natural athlete and he has produced respectable results on clay this season. On clay, the time it takes to recover after a shot on the run is much greater than on hard court. Wolf will be able to play strike first tennis with his powerful serve and attack Nishoka's serve as well. Once he’s on attack, Nishioka will struggle to find his way back into the point.

Trust Wolf to be the aggressor and for his power to be too much for Nishioka to recover from on clay.

Pick: Wolf ML (-115 via DraftKings)

Tommy Paul (-265) vs Dominic Stricker (+210)

5 a.m. ET

Paul is a phenomenal mover on hard courts but he has struggled to transfer those skills to clay. He reached the final in a Challenger this year but the competition he faced en route was mediocre. Against Brandon Nakashima last week, his compatriot was able to hit through him and consistently find himself on the attack. Stricker has the strength to produce power that resembles Nakashima’s.

The Swiss has much more experience on clay than Paul. Although it may not be his favorite surface, he has two Challenger titles on clay in the last year with one coming this month. The big serving lefty has the ability to hit through high quality opponents and can take the match off of their rackets.

Stricker enters as a lucky loser so he will be playing with nothing to lose. I believe he will be able to hit freely and dictate with his serve causing the American lots of problems. He may not win the match, but it will be a battle.

Pick: Stricker +5.5 games (-125 via DraftKings)

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