French Open Odds, Predictions, Previews: Kvitova on Upset Alert Against Saville (May 25)
Adam Pretty/Getty. Pictured: Daria Saville.
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Time for the second round at Roland Garros! With first round action officially concluded, the top half of the men’s draw and bottom half of the women’s are set to open second round action.
Let’s take a look at a pair of matches to watch for on Tuesday.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.
Tallon Griekspoor (-244) vs. Brandon Nakashima (+198)
8:30 a.m. ET
In a match where neither player was expected to be in this position, one of Tallon Griekspoor or Brandon Nakashima will end up in the third round at Roland Garros.
It’ll be a tough ask for the American, however, for a few reasons.
First, he’s giving up a lot in experience, comfort and ability on the red clay. This is only his third season playing professional tennis on the dirt, and his wins are of a limited nature.
This season alone, Nakashima has struggled mightily with Barcelona qualifier Nicolas Alvarez Varona despite being a massive favorite and he lost in straights to tour-level players like Casper Ruud, Grigor Dimitrov and Botic van de Zandschulp.
His lone wins have come against Ugo Humbert – whose style isn’t all that compatible on clay – and twice against the man he beat in the first round, Kamil Majchrzak. Even in that first round matchup, he had to fight back from two-sets-to-one down.
Sscond, his groundstrokes just don’t work as well on the red dirt. He doesn’t hit with a ton of pace to begin with, so having the surface eat up what pace he does have is tough.
Nakashima’s opponent in this round is someone who prefers being on the clay and has all the necessary tools to handle Nakashima. Griekspoor has the serve, he has good pace on his groundstrokes, he knows how to hit with spin and he has racked up his fair share of Challenger titles on the surface.
After a standout 2021 season, Griekspoor struggled to find any rhythm and had just one tour-level win between the Australian swing and clay season.
Back on clay, he’s managed a 5-2 record since Rome, where he qualified and lost in three sets to Sebastian Baez. Griekspoor’s other loss also came in three sets against Reilly Opelka in altitude.
With the wind at his back after having upset rising star Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, the only thing lacking from his game this clay season – form – seems to have returned.
Statistically, he also dominates this matchup. In the last 52 weeks on clay, his hold plus break percentage at tour level on clay is right around the 100% mark, despite his struggles. Nakashima’s is lagging well behind at 85%.
Given the stylistic, statistical and experience edges Griekspoor has, this spread should be closer to 5.5 or six games than the 4.5 available.
Pick: Griekspoor -4.5 games (-112 via FanDuel)
Petra Kvitova (-227) vs. Daria Saville (+180)
10:30 a.m. ET
If you’re looking for an underdog to back on d fayour, look no further than Daria Saville, who’s taking on one of the bigger servers tennis has seen in Petra Kvitova.
Kvitova rolled through her second set to reach this stage against Anna Bondar, but keep in mind she was down a break an had to save a break point on Bondar’s serve in the opening set.
Bondar had also played a lot of tennis last week in Morocco and actually withdrew from her semifinal encounter with American Claire Liu. While not a guarantee, there’s a chance much of that tiebreak and second set scoreline were more a byproduct of Bondar’s issues than Kvitova’s dominance.
As for the rest of her clay season? Kvitova hadn’t won a match. In Charleston – played on the quicker green clay often found in the United States – she had to retire down a set and 2-3 to Magdalena Frech.
In the quick indoor Stuttgart event, it was an out-of-form Pliskova that took her out in her first match. In the altitude of Madrid? A straight sets loss to Jil Teichmann. One win with a potential asterisk doesn’t offset the struggles she’s had.
Saville, on the other hand, is one of those pesky defenders that prolongs rallies, gets everything back and uses angles to try and pull you off court before hitting through the open space.
With the help of the slow red dirt, she’s more than capable of absorbing Kvitova’s power and exploiting the lack of movement.
This match could devolve into a nightmare for both women on serve, but it should be much closer than the odds would indicate.
Pick: Saville ML (+180 via FanDuel)