We had a strong start to the week in Paris regarding our First Round accumulators. Charlie’s accumulator of Shapovalov, Carreno Busta, Fritz, Dimitrov and Cilic lost by one leg (Cilic), but my five-fold accumulator of Carreno Busta, Gasquet, Draper, Fritz and Shapovalov came in at 4.1/1, meaning we are 3.1 units up for the week so far!
In the Second Round, the top eight seeds begin their campaigns. Conditions in Paris look fairly quick, which is something to bear in mind for any bets made during the rest of the week.
Medvedev to beat De Minaur 2-0 4/6
After an up and down year, Daniil Medvedev has looked back to his best in recent weeks. He secured impressive wins over Ruusuvuori and Bautista Agut in Astana, and took a set off Djokovic before retiring. He won the Vienna title last week, beating the likes of Thiem, Sinner and Dimitrov with ease. The only player to cause him problems was Shapovalov in the final, with the Canadian providing big serves and big groundstrokes.
Alex De Minaur is not someone who possesses either. He did get an impressive win over Korda yesterday in three sets, and these quicker conditions will allow him to penetrate the court better than usual, but beating Medvedev on current form requires a more effective aggressive game style than De Minaur possesses. In some recent matches, Medvedev has slow balled his opponents, giving them no pace to work with and forcing them to attack. This was used to great effect in a 6-1 6-1 win against Bautista Agut, and I think it can work effectively in this matchup too. De Minaur is not good enough aggressively to be immune from Medvedev’s excellent defensive skills and passing shots, and will be forced into overpressing and making errors. Furthermore, with Medvedev’s serve on these quick courts, De Minaur will not get many chances to break, whereas even with De Minaur’s serve having improved this year, Medvedev will inevitably create break opportunities due to the quality of his returning. I don’t see Medvedev having any problems with the Australian here.
Tsitsipas to beat Evans 4/11
Stefanos Tsitsipas has been in patchy form all year. Recently, he had good wins against Hurkacz and Rublev in making the Astana Final, but lost the Stockholm Final the week after to the in-form Rune, and lost to Coric for the third time in a row in Vienna. Despite this, I think he will be too strong for Dan Evans here, an opponent who he has dominated in the past. They have played three times (once on hard), and Tsitsipas has won in straight sets every time, never dropping more than three games in a set. The serve will be a key factor in these fast conditions, with Tsitsipas possessing the far more powerful and reliable serve. Evans has to take care of business behind his own serve, and it is rare he plays a set let alone a match without getting broken. Furthermore, Tsitsipas will be able to dictate the rallies with his powerful forehand: allowing him to keep Evans camped in his backhand corner, and wait for a ball to drop short where he can attack into the space with great effect. I expect the Greek to extend the head to head to 4-0 in his favour.
Dimitrov to beat Fognini 1/4
Grigor Dimitrov has had an underwhelming season by his standards, but was able to find some form last week in Vienna, beating Rublev and Giron to make the Semi Finals. His form looks to have continued this week with a nice win over van de Zandschulp in two tiebreaks in the First Round. Fabio Fognini has had a poor year, and hasn’t won back-to-back matches since April. He required a lucky loser spot to get into the main draw this week, and avenged his qualifying loss to Fils in three sets in the First Round. Like in the two previous matches described, serve will be a key differential, with the Bulgarian having the more potent serve. It looked to be firing on his run in Vienna. The quick conditions also favour Dimitrov, both men possess a lot of talent but Dimitrov’s slice and feel are more suited to indoor hard, and he is more comfortable at getting lower on the low-bouncing surface than Fognini who prefers a much higher bouncing ball. Dimitrov has won both of their previous indoor hard court meetings, and I don’t see Fognini changing that pattern.
Paul +4.5 games vs Nadal 4/6
Tommy Paul has been a revelation in the second half of the season, beat Alcaraz in Montreal in sensational fashion, and pushing eventual finalist Ruud to five sets at the US Open. He has been playing much more aggressive tennis, looking to dominate rallies with the forehand, and has also improved his serve. He was able to beat Bautista Agut in the First Round in straight sets.
Rafael Nadal did not look right physically at the US Open in his loss to Frances Tiafoe, and has only played one doubles match since then, at the Laver Cup. There is a great deal of uncertainty regarding his fitness and what level he will produce this week. Nadal’s record on indoor hard is very poor by his standards, as the quick conditions make it possible for opponents to hit through him. Paul has the serve and the weapons to really trouble Nadal on this fast court, and I imagine Nadal will start slowly, since it has been almost two months since his last singles appearance. I expect Paul to push Nadal close here, making a games handicap a good bet.
Four-fold accumulator: 3.73/1