Thursday French Open Odds, Picks, Previews: Hugo Gaston to Stay Hot in Round 2 (May 26)
John Berry/Getty. Pictured: Hugo Gaston.
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There are a host of entertaining matchups to choose from on Thursday’s slate at the French Open and in this piece we’ll be looking at one match from the men’s draw and one from the women’s.
Countryman Hugo Gaston will go to battle with Pedro Cachin, while American Katie Volynets will look to play spoiler against Elena Rybakina.
Here is how I’ll be betting each second-round matchup.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.
Hugo Gaston (-110) vs. Pedro Cachin (-110)
6:15 a.m. ET
There’s no question Hugo Gaston is simply a different player in Paris than he is everywhere else. The Frenchman feeds off of the crowd to elevate his game and frustrate his opponents as much as anyone and that’s what he did against Alex de Minaur in the first round.
Gaston uses an extremely unique style of play, dispatching consistent drop shots and aiming to move his opponents around as much as possible.
Interestingly, over the past three years Gaston actually has more wins in the two ATP events held in Paris than he does anywhere else. He’s picked up 12 wins in Paris and 10 wins everywhere else. That doesn’t account for the Challenger level, but it gives a good picture of how Gaston’s level changes based on location.
Pedro Cachin dropped his final qualifying round match against Pavel Kotov, but a lucky loser berth revived his French Open hopes and he took full advantage in round one.
The Argentine beat Norbert Gombos in four sets to reach the second round. He excelled behind his serve as he won 80% of his first-serve points and 50% of his second-serve points. However, Cachin made an excellent 69% of his first serves, alleviating the pressure on him.
Of course, Gaston is a completely different opponent than Gombos. While Gombos is a ball-basher who looks to take the initiative in points with power and offensive hitting, Gaston looks to counter-punch and take the initiative in creative ways.
As an opponent, Cachin should suit Gaston’s preferred style, hitting into his groundstrokes and leaving himself vulnerable to counter-striking.
Expect a number of breaks and long rallies in this match, but Gaston is deserving of a far stronger price.
Pick: Gaston -110 via DraftKings
Elena Rybakina (-500) vs. Katie Volynets (+370)
7 a.m. ET
Elena Rybakina fought past Aranxta Rus in three sets to secure a second-round berth in Paris, but it’s been an up-and-down clay season for the world No. 16.
Rybakina lost two of her first three matches of the season in Charleston and Stuttgart before winning two in Madrid and Rome, respectively. A majority of clay tournaments were strategically played in faster conditions and that allowed Rybakina to use her strengths more.
In the lone tournament Rybakina played in conditions that resemble that of Roland Garros, Rome, she did well. Rybakina beat Lauren Davis and Elina Avanesyan before falling to Jil Teichmann in a tough three-setter.
Katie Volynets took a unique path to qualifying for the French Open as she earned a Wild Card via the USTA’s reciprocal deal with the French Tennis Federation. Volynets competed across a host of American clay events and secured enough points to be the USTA’s representative in Paris.
The American is most comfortable on clay, a rare trait for an American player, but her 1599 Elo Rating on clay is over 150 points better than her hard-court Elo.
Volynets advanced past Viktorija Golubic in the first round after limiting the Swiss to 56% of her first-serve points and 29% of her second-round points.
While Rybakina is the stronger player, Volynets is solid enough on clay to control the play for periods of time when Rybakina struggles to string quality points together.
At 5.5 games, this spread is too heavy and a sound performance from Volynets should secure her a cover.
Pick: Volynets +5.5 games (-120 via DraftKings)
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