Wednesday French Open Previews | Picks For Zverev vs Etcheverry, Ruud vs Rune
Icon Sportswire/Getty. Pictured: Casper Ruud.
A thrilling day is ahead of us at the French Open as two spots remain to be decided in the semifinals.
In a rematch of last year's dramatic quarterfinal, Holger Rune battles Casper Ruud. Before that, however, we will see Alexander Zverev competing for a third consecutive semifinal spot at the tournament against Tomas Martin Etcheverry.
Tensions will be high, nerves will be in play and fortune will surely favor the bold on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
Here are my picks and analysis for these two matchups.
Note: Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing French Open matches.
Alexander Zverev (-275) vs Tomas Martin Etcheverry (+225)
9 a.m. ET
Etcheverry has had a terrific run to back up a phenomenal start to his 2023 campaign. He has solidified himself as a competitor on the ATP tour and is promised a ranking no lower than 31 after this year's French Open. Etcheverry earned his first and second top 20 wins of his career last week and followed those up with a thrashing of Yoshihito Nishioka. I have been a believer in Etcheverry during his run, but it's hard to see it continuing into the semifinals.
The Argentine has not dropped a set thus far, but faces an opponent that will bring a much different level of play to the court. Zverev is inching closer and closer to his form from a year ago, and he may be finding it at the perfect time.
Zverev is multiple tiers above Etcheverry in terms of skill, and even more so when looking at experience. This is by far the best run of the Argentine's career but surely nerves will impact his performance on center court. Regardless, the level of tennis he is currently playing is undeniable. Both of these players are coming off night matches, a situation that Zverev strongly prefers and thrives in. The conditions will be much different and Zverev will need to make some adjustments to keep this match comfortably in control.
Combining nerves with the level and consistency of aggression it will take for Etcheverry to keep this match close, I have to back Zverev to roll through this round without too much of an issue. I think we will see Zverev take a set by a double break, so even if he drops a set he should still have enough to cover the game spread.
Pick: Zverev -4.5 games (-125 via DraftKings)
Casper Ruud (-125) vs Holger Rune (+105)
2:15 p.m. ET
There is already a rich history between the 24 and 20-year old Scandinavians. Ruud leads the head to head 4-1, but Rune took their most recent meeting, rallying from a set and a break down in Rome. Beyond that, everyone will remember their feud from last year's French Open. Ruud took the match in four sets after which Rune made accusations of poor sportsmanship by his opponent in the locker room. No one knows what truly happened, but it has sparked a bit of a bitter feeling in this rivalry.
Let's talk first about Ruud, a man who reached World No. 2 last fall and was just one match away from holding the title of No. 1. Enter 2023, he has had an abysmal year compared to expectations. Ruud entered the European clay season at 5-6 on the year before finally showing some signs of regaining his form. He has since amassed a 15-5 record, including an ATP 250 title, yet you still feel like his level is not quite there.
I have not hit the panic button on the Norwegian quite yet. My belief is that Ruud has been doing some toying with his game, trying out some new strategies and thus leading to some poor results in the process. I think he is finally beginning to feel comfortable on the court again and has a history of performing better at big tournaments.
Now for Rune. The Dane is an extremely talented player who, despite his natural talent, is earning a poor reputation in the tennis world. From his on court antics to borderline cheating on a clear double bounce against Francisco Cerundolo, Rune is struggling to build a positive image. For as talented as he is, Rune's fitness is very sub-par. He earned a walkover earlier this tournament sparing him some on-court time, but he still seemed to be struggling late in his last match. It has become a trend for him in extended matches and I think that may be his pain point in this match.
I see no reality in which Rune takes this match in straight sets. This is a good stylistic matchup for Ruud and he could easily be 5-0 in this rivalry. Ruud has pristine fitness and as the match goes on, the further the match will tilt towards him. The winner of this match will hold a ranking higher than the other and I strongly expect that to be Ruud. He will avenge his Rome loss and Rune will walk off the court wondering what he can do to make a deep run at a Grand Slam event a possibility.
Lastly, this line opened at +110 for Ruud. It's not surprising to see the number move this far already and I'm still happy to take the -125.
Pick: Ruud ML (-125 via DraftKings)