Thursday French Open Predictions | Paolini vs Baptiste, Kalinskaya vs Andreescu

Thursday French Open Predictions | Paolini vs Baptiste, Kalinskaya vs Andreescu article feature image

Robert Prange/Getty. Pictured: Bianca Andreescu.

After three rain-filled days of first round action, the field has been whittled down to 64, and now we know who plays in the second round, with each day seeing an entire half of the draw hashing it out on the grounds at Roland Garros.

Here are my picks for Jasmine Paolini vs Hailey Baptiste and Anna Kalinskaya vs Bianca Andreescu in my Thursday French Open predictions for May 30.

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Thursday French Open Predictions

Jasmine Paolini (-476) vs Hailey Baptiste (+360) 

9:50 a.m. ET

It's going to be a boom or bust type day for me at Roland Garros from a betting standpoint. A lot of the underdogs on the slate are certainly deserved of that description, but I think the extent to which the market values their opponents is borderline disrespectful.

I maintain that Baptiste has one of the more promising and intriguing games of the players ranked around her.

She has a very nice serve, powerful groundstrokes, can mix in some spin and has the variation to keep players on their toes with the slices and dropshots. The net game isn't the worst, and outside of unforced errors and the occasional poor attitude on court, there isn't much of anything holding her back.

Sure, clay may not be her preferred surface, but she's shown she's far more competitive than the odds have indicated she would be on a consistent basis this year. Remove her lone stop on the ITF Tour this spring against a strong young player in Eva Lys and she's really pushed players as a sizable underdog and covered her fair share of spreads as a favorite. That kind of consistent undervaluation also reaffirms my stance that she's being mis-priced in this spot.

As I mentioned, there's no way I'm going to contest the fact that Paolini should be the favorite. She's a top-15 player at the moment and has been inside the top-30 for quite some time. She possesses the ability to prolong rallies and really ramp up the pace on her forehand to an extent I'm not sure many are aware of.

I'm just not going to pass on a bet that only needs to win 20% of the time to break even backing the talented American.

Picks: Baptiste +1.5 sets (+130 via DraftKings) | Baptiste ML (+360 via BetRivers)

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Anna Kalinskaya (-163) vs Bianca Andreescu (+130) 

9:55 a.m. ET

Playing just her second match back from injury, we're seeing Andreescu at a price on clay that we otherwise never would against a hard courter and flatter hitter like her good friend Kalinskaya.

There didn't appear to be much rust in her first match back against the ever-consistent and physical Sara Sorribes Tormo and she even made tactical adjustments in that match (went to the moonball that the Spaniard simply couldn't punish) that I was pleasantly surprised to see.

Andreescu is by far the better all-court player here, even if her Russian counterpart has obviously had the much better season.

Kalinskaya has very little track record on clay and her opening match against the underpowered Clara Burel (who has seen her form regress in a big way since Australia) left a lot to be desired. The rest of her clay season has been no better. She was beaten routinely by Elina Svitolina and Sara Bejlek, then had other losses to Sara Errani and fellow hard courter Xinyu Wang.

There's simply no chance you're going to convince me that she's the better player on a slow clay court in this matchup.

We have seen players look good in their first match back and fade in the second, but Andreescu returning at a Grand Slam helps in that regard. It ensures she gets a day off between matches, which reduces the likelihood of physical effects carrying over.

Let's beat the market in what amounts to a race to see who can properly gauge the Canadian's level sooner.

Pick: Andreescu ML (+130 via bet365)

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