French Open Day 5 preview and best bets: The Keys to victory
Well, this French Open got interesting really quick. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have eased through their first two matches, but both Alexander Zverev and Carlos Alcaraz came within one point of losing on Wednesday. Each title contender managed to survive, but on the women’s side upsets have not just been close – they’ve happened. Emma Raducanu on Wednesday became the latest high seed and former Grand Slam champion to exit the tournament.
What will Thursday do for an encore as second-round action wraps up? It’s time to take a look at some of the best bets to be made for Day 5.
David Goffin ML over Frances Tiafoe (-135)
Let’s count the ways in which Goffin should be a bigger favorite than -135 on Thursday. The 31-year-old Belgian is in better form (17 match victories this season compared to Tiafoe’s 12, plus he won a clay-court tournament prior to the French Open), he leads the head-to-head series 3-1 and his history at Roland Garros is far superior (six trips to at least the third round — including one quarterfinal appearance — whereas Tiafoe had never won a main-draw match prior to this fortnight). The American did well to defeat Benjamin Bonzi on Tuesday, but Goffin is a considerable step up in competition. Plus the Belgian might as well be playing at home in Paris; his crowd support there is always off the charts.
Hugo Gaston ML over Pedro Cachin (-110)
The second round of a Grand Slam on Court Suzanne Lenglen is a massive occasion for both of these guys. I expect Gaston to handle the situation better. The 21-year-old Frenchman made a run to the French Open fourth round in 2020 and he upset Alex Minaur in five sets in front of a raucous crowd on Tuesday evening. Prior to this week, Cachin had never won a main-draw match at a Grand Slam. In fact, he had never even played one. The Argentine is ranked No. 153 in the world, almost 100 spots behind Gaston. Those numbers point to a Gaston victory, and with home-court advantage, the Frenchman has every reason to take care of business.
Parlay: Marin Cilic ML over Marton Fucsovics and Madison Keys ML over Caroline Garcia (+118)
In this case of Keys-Garcia I’m fading the crowd favorite. Heading into the French Open, Garcia had not played a match on clay and had won just a single match since the beginning of Indian Wells in early March. The Frenchwoman will have to do a lot more than beat Taylor Townsend in round one to inspire any kind of confidence. Keys is obviously a whole different beast of an opponent.
Meanwhile, all signs point to Cilic taking care of Fucsovics. The 33-year-old Croat may not be the player he was when he won the 2014 U.S. Open, but he is in resurgent form and back up to No. 23 in the rankings. Cilic lost a grand total of three games in his first-round match on Monday. Fucsovics has not been playing well this year and over the past four seasons he is a mediocre 30-28 on clay.
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