Jiri Vesely vs. Steve Johnson Odds, Picks, Predictions: Unfavorable Matchup Will Limit American (May 24)
Martin Keep/Getty. Steve Johnson hits a backhand return at the Australian Open.
- Jiri Vesely is short favorite against Steve Johnson at the French Open.
- Luke Holmberg sees value in fading a man that hasn't played in a month.
- Read on to see his best bet for the Tuesday match.
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Jiri Vesely vs. Steve Johnson Odds
|Time||10:30 a.m. ET|
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Two players who could desperately use a win face off in the first round of the French Open.
Jiri Vesely owns a 1-0 head-to-head record over opponent Steve Johnson. The victory came last year in Parma by a score line of 7-6, 6-2.
With a player in Vesely struggling to find wins and another in Johnson who simply has not been on the tennis courts, this is an interesting match to break down.
Let’s dive into it.
Johnson Has Questions Surrounding His Game
Johnson played his last match over a month ago in the American clay court season when he fell to the world No. 296. Having been out of competition, he will be entering drastically different conditions in Europe.
Johnson played only Houston, Sarasota and Tallahassee (all playing like or being green clay). That’s insufficient preparation for the French Open.
Although he has a respectable 9-9 record here at Roland Garros, in each previous year he has played some sort of warm-up tournament in the European clay swing.
Johnson plays with a serve and forehand dominated game style. He looks to put you on the defense early and control the point, which does not have the same impact on clay courts as it does on grass or hards.
Johnson’s backhand is the clear weak point of his game, slicing essentially every time and using it almost solely as a defensive/neutralizing shot. If Johnson can’t find a way to dictate with his forehand, winning the match becomes nearly impossible.
Vesely a Capable But Struggling Clay-Courter
Vesely broke onto the scene this year in Dubai with consecutive wins over Marin Cilic, Roberto Bautista Agut, Novak Djokovic and Denis Shapovalov before falling to Andrey Rublev in the final.
Following a difficult year with multiple setbacks, Vesely has shown flashes of his once major potential.
Despite his sub-par movement, Vesely has decent clay results, reaching the third round of the French Open in 2017. However, he comes in following four straight losses on the surface this year.
Vesely plays with a cannon serve and a forehand with significant topspin but he has the ability to dictate and create angles off both wings.
The Czech loves to hit spinning forehands while controlling the point and he puts his lefty advantage to good use between his serve and forehand.
As evident with a straight-set victory last year, this is not an ideal matchup for Johnson.
Vesely will be able to target the Johnson backhand with his heavy lefty shots. With Johnson simply chipping his backhand back into play, Vesely will be able to find his rhythm and consistently break through in points.
Although Vesely is coming in with poor form during this European clay season, his results are much more comforting than Johnson not playing any matches.
I expect Vesely to dominate his service games and find enough ways through Johnson’s serve with the potential leakage of errors from limited match form.
Pick: Vesely -1.5 Games (-125 via DraftKings)