French Open Day 11 preview and best bets: Cilic riding wave of confidence

Marin Cilic
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Ricky Dimon

Tennis · 3 weeks ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

The French Open semifinals will be set when play in Paris concludes on Wednesday night. On the men’s side the remaining spots in the last four are entirely up for grabs, as no competitor seeded better than seventh is still in the bottom half of the draw. The top half of the women’s bracket is a different story, as world No. 1 Iga Swiatek is three wins away from triumphing at Roland Garros for a second time.

Let’s take a look at some of the best bets to be made for Day 11.

Marin Cilic ML over Andrey Rublev (+116)

To be honest, this is a tough one to call. That being said, I am not going to pass up plus money on Cilic when the match is quite obviously on his racket. If he plays well, he is going to win. If he plays great — like he did against Daniil Medvedev on Monday — he might even win with ease. Cilic is coming off an alarming 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 blowout of the second-ranked Medvedev and the 33-year-old Croat has dropped only one set in the entire tournament. Rublev has been far from dominant so far in Paris, and he has also been fortunate. The world No. 7 got waxed by Jannik Sinner 6-1 in their opening set on Monday but eventually advanced via retirement (the Italian had a left-knee injury). Rublev is the higher-ranked man and has been to this stage of slams more often than Cilic over the past four years, but it’s Cilic whose confidence level is greater at the moment. Sound the upset alert.

Casper Ruud vs. Holger Rune Over 37.5 games (-115)

Rune is capable of winning this match, so backing him on the +180 money line could be a good play. However, the safer bet is on the over. Rune is the naturally more talented of the two players with a higher ceiling, but he is just 19 years old and his fitness has been a question mark throughout the early stages of his career. Plus, Ruud is the No. 8 player in the world for a reason. He has been in awesome form over the past two seasons and he is by far at his best on clay. The chances of Rune sweeping him off the court quickly are slim. They just faced each other in Monte-Carlo earlier this spring and the 23-year-old Norwegian survived a tough 7-6(5), 7-5 encounter. I expect a similar kind of struggle in this one.

Parlay: Iga Swiatek -1.5 sets over Jessica Pegula and Daria Kasatkina ML over Veronika Kudermetova (+122)

A wakeup call may be just what the doctor ordered for Swiatek. The 2020 French Open champion is on a 32-match winning streak and for the most part has not even been tested. However, she actually dropped a set in her fourth-round match against Qinwen Zheng. Swiatek promptly responded by dominating the next two sets 6-0, 6-2. Six of the eight sets she has won this fortnight have been 6-2 or worse. It is also worth noting that Swiatek beat Pegula in straight sets when they squared off earlier this spring in Miami, and that was on a hard court — which favors the American. Clay obviously favors Swiatek.

As for the all-Russian affair between Kasatkina and Kudermetova, don’t overthink the numbers in front of you. Kasatkina has not lost a single set at this French Open and no set has been more competitive than 6-3. She also leads the head-to-head series with Kudermetova 1-0. Back Kasatkina with confidence.

The Pickswise tennis handicappers are on hand throughout the entire tennis season, bringing you the best free expert Tennis Predictions and Picks from top events including the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open.

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