French Open Odds & Picks | Karatsev vs Tiafoe, Paul vs Jarry
Julian Finney/Getty. Pictured: Tommy Paul.
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We've reached the second round of the French Open, and the profitable spots have only just begun to hit the board. I'm eyeing two matches featuring Americans, but I only believe in one to win.
Let's get into how to bet Karatsev vs Tiafoe and Paul vs Jarry on day 5 at Roland Garros.
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French Open Odds & Picks
Aslan Karatsev (-114) vs Frances Tiafoe (-105)
8 a.m. ET
All my chips are on the table for this one considering I've been championing Aslan Karatsev's real chances to win this quarter. Nothing's changed since the draw came out last week, however. I'm still a big believer that the Russian takes this match in somewhat easy fashion.
The fact is that Karatsev is arguably the hottest clay-courter left in this draw, maybe aside from Carlos Alcaraz. He came through qualifying to make the semifinals in Madrid, and unfortunately for the players in the draw here at Roland Garros the wins came too late for him to skip qualifying. He tore through three relatively difficult matches in straight sets to make the main draw and had a pretty no-nonsense win over the big-hitting Alexei Popyrin in the first round, meaning he's well up and running.
With 14 wins in his last 16 matches, it's safe to say Karatsev is back to his old ways. If you'll recall, it was at the Australian Open two years ago where the journeyman used a tough qualifying draw to his advantage, building up some momentum and reaching the semis, where he was ultimately taken out by Novak Djokovic. He used the pandemic to his advantage in the year prior, getting on court however he could and playing a total of 42 clay-court matches to gain confidence.
Karatsev has beaten some of the best in the world on clay, including Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev. When he's at his best, he's a very hard man to stop given his relentless hitting from the baseline and other-worldly returning, and it would seem right now he's at his best.
On the other side of this matchup we have the complete opposite of Karatsev in Frances Tiafoe. He's played just six matches on European clay this spring, going 3-3 in those contests. He also benefited from a great draw in the first round against one of the coldest players in the world in Filip Krajinovic.
Tiafoe has only won two matches in his career at Roland Garros and he's struggled on clay over the last five years with a 29-24 record. That's not even considering the fact that he's 7-3 at the Houston Open during that time, which features clay that can't compare to European clay.
The American has made his money and made a name for himself by smoking the ball on North American hard courts during the summer. He'll have his moments this season, but I don't think Roland Garros will be his fortnight. Back Karatsev to keep on rolling.
Pick: Karatsev ML (-114 via FanDuel)
Tommy Paul (+116) vs Nicolas Jarry (-142)
8:30 a.m. ET
It seems like every year we have to talk about the fact that Tommy Paul was a boys singles champion here at Roland Garros as a junior, but I haven't heard that narrative spun once this week. So, in case you didn't know, Paul is very familiar with these courts in Paris and for his career has done very well for himself on clay, with a 115-64 record across all levels.
It's always hard to get a read on the American's level, which fluctuates a ton over the course of the season, but it would seem like his 5-5 record on the clay this spring isn't really fair to the tennis he's played. He faced a couple of massive servers on fast clay to begin matters, before dipping down to the Challenger level to pick up some decent wins en route to a final, and he fell victim to a red-hot Cristian Garin in Rome before picking up an excellent win over an in-form Gregoire Barrere in Lyon.
So, I think there's some positive signs here that Paul – one of the world's 20 best players at the moment – is finding his form.
Now, it's hard to discuss form without talking about Nicolas Jarry. If Karatsev isn't the hottest player in this tournament it's surely the Chilean, who mowed down a murderer's row of opponents last week in Geneva to claim the title. It's a scary proposition to fade him right now, but every run comes to an end.
Jarry had an easy draw in the first round and will face a much different kind of opponent than he's been playing over the last couple of weeks in Paul. Not only does the American own a 2-0 head-to-head advantage over Jarry over the course of their careers, but he's going to extract errors out of the Jarry racquet and get a ton of serves back in play. Paul's got a wealth of good experience playing the likes of his best friends Reilly Opelka and Taylor Fritz in practice sessions as well as John Isner. He's very capable of making Jarry work for his holds here, which is something that the big hitters he's been facing have been unable to do.
To me, this is the ultimate contrarian spot. I don't know how many people are flocking to bet on Paul over a red-hot Jarry, yet the line has hardly budged. Paul has the tools to pull off the upset, and he's been putting in the work in recent weeks to get his level back up. I could see this being the launching pad into a nice Roland Garros run.
Pick: Paul ML (+116 via FanDuel)