French Open Round of 16 Picks: Kasatkina & Mertens to Advance into Roland Garros Quarters
NurPhoto/Getty. Pictured: Daria Kasatkina.
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The French Open round of 16 is upon us! We're down to the final 16 men and final 16 women in the singles draws as the prestigious second week gets underway.
Let's take a look at two of the four women's matches on offer on Sunday, featuring two resurgent players in Elise Mertens and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova going head-to-head, as well as the in-form Elina Svitolina taking on the rock solid Daria Kasatkina.
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French Open Round of 16 Picks
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (-110) vs Elise Mertens (-110)
5 a.m. ET
Despite the comeback from a set down against Anastasia Potapova in the last round, I remain unconvinced by Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova's run to the fourth round of the French Open.
Against both Liudmila Samsonova (not a clay courter by any stretch) and Potapova, the veteran Russian looked like the second best player on the court for much of the match. While there's something to be said about the perseverance and ability to buckle down when her back is up against the wall, it isn't exactly the most sustainable brand of tennis.
Mertens hasn't been the best version of herself on the court either over the course of the last year or so, but taking a closer look at some of her losses in 2023, she has lost a lot to some of the better players in the game. Veronika Kudermetova, Elena Rybakina, Aryna Sabalenka and Caroline Garcia have all taken her out of events this season. There are some poor losses sprinkled in there as well, but the fact is, Mertens remains one of those players that can be described as "very good, just not great."
This week she hasn't dropped a set, and I'd make the case that wins against the likes of Camila Osorio and Jessica Pegula in relatively convincing fashion are more impressive than what her counterpart in this one has managed.
I have her a slight favorite for Sunday's round of 16 tilt, so I'll take this price.
Picks: Mertens ML (-110 via PointsBet)
Daria Kasatkina (-175) vs Elina Svitolina (+135)
8:45 a.m ET
It hasn't taken much time at all for Svitolina to get right back into the swing of things. After needing four events to get her feet under her, the former No. 3 player in the world has reached the semifinal of a WTA 125K event, won a 250 and is now into the second week at Roland Garros.
She's already vaulted herself back into the world's top-200 and in the live rankings her fourth round points have her just outside the top-100. She's been finding a better and better level as the clay season has progressed, but she's up against a different level of competitor in Kasatkina on Sunday.
Kasatkina may not possess the biggest serve in the field (in fact, she's much closer to the lightest serve remaining), but she's only been broken seven times through three matches. Her return game is obviously one of the best in the women's game – after all, you don't get to be in the top-10 with a well below average serve and no return game.
For me though, this simply comes down to the matchup. Svitolina doesn't possess a big enough serve to push back on the pressure that the Russian is likely to apply on a consistent basis. The other problem for Svitolina is that while she has found some rhythm of late, she has just one win that could be categorized as impressive (against Martina Trevisan in the first round here) and the unforced errors have been a problem.
Playing someone who thrives off waiting out those unforced errors and is much more likely to emerge victorious over the course of a potentially lengthy match, that isn't the best news for the Ukrainian.
I'll accept the short moneyline price here.
Pick: Kasatkina ML (-175 via BetMGM)