French Open Round 2 Odds & Pick: Diego Schwartzman vs. Aljaz Bedene (Thursday, June 3)
Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images. Pictured: Aljaz Bedene.
Diego Schwartzman vs. Aljaz Bedene Odds
|Time||Thursday, approx. 7 a.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday and via DraftKings|
Diego Schwartzman is in a section of the draw that has lost its favorite, 8-seeded Andrey Rublev. Can he capitalize on the upset, and set up a likely clash with his kryptonite Aslan Karatsev?
He’ll have to go through Slovakian Aljaz Bedene next, in a match that shows value for me. Rain is in the forecast for Thursday in Paris, but luckily it’s expected later in the afternoon. This match has a chance to get in, scheduled second on Court 14.
There are only two players who would not trade in their 2020 clay court seasons for Diego Schwartzman’s: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. That’s how good the Argentine was. He beat Rafael Nadal and made the final in Rome, then beat Dominic Thiem and made the semifinal at Roland Garros.
Expectations were high for the 28-year old coming into 2021 off his career-best season. But Schwartzman has taken a step backwards — maybe multiple steps. He went 2-5 on the European clay swing. Schwartzman suffered from some tough first-round draws in Casper Ruud and Aslan Karatsev, but his straight-set losses to Felix Auger-Aliasime and Richard Gasquet coming into the French Open were flat out alarming. Schwartzman played these matches having clearly lost all his confidence, bleeding errors and unable to hit damaging groundstrokes.
He did get through his first round match at Roland Garros easily, against Yen-Hsun Lu, but it’s very difficult to read into that result. Lu was likely one of the worst players in the field of 128. He’s been largely inactive for a couple seasons and has just one tour-level victory since April of 2018.
Bedene has been a pro’s pro for a while now. He’s a respectable 14-11 in 2021 and 8-6 on clay. His best wins of the year came against Jannik Sinner, Sebi Korda and David Goffin, with the latter two coming on the dirt. The Slovak has reached the third round in Paris twice. He did it last season by beating Arthur Rinderknech and Nikola Milojevic, before falling to Stefanos Tsitsipas. He comes off a four-set win over Adrian Mannarino, who is ranked 36th but can’t stand the clay.
Bedene isn’t exceptional at any one thing. He’s very technically sound off both wings. The backhand is more of a rally extender, while his forehand has good enough precision to be reliably offensive in the midcourt. His serve is average, as is his movement. Bedene’s solid yet somewhat bland game has made beating top players a challenge in his career, but he’s a tour mainstay who can make some noise when the circumstances are right.
Diego Schwartzman vs. Aljaz Bedene Pick
The head-to-head in this matchup might surprise you. Bedene won his first four meetings with Schwartzman. He lost for the first time against the Argentine in 2019 Buenos Aires. The total combined sets stand at 9-3 in favor of Bedene.
Schwartzman’s form made him a fade candidate for me at the start of the tournament. Now he faces someone who he’s struggled with throughout his career. Yet, he’s still a heavy favorite based on his 2020 success and long-term track record. That all seems pretty irrelevant at the moment for Schwartzman. Rome is one of his favorite events, but his level in his first match against FAA wouldn’t have been good enough to beat most players in the draw.
Bedene is unlikely to gift Schwartzman mistakes. I look for Schwartzman to continue to struggle with confidence and feel the added pressure of defending his semifinal result. If the Argentine is himself, he should be able to handle Bedene easily. But when has Schwartzman looked like himself in the last couple months? I gladly take the +260 on the Slovakian.
Pick: Bedene +260