The game of the day is arguably this clash between the former Grand Slam champions. They have played each other on many occasions over the years with not too many of those clashes in the opening round. Whilst Azarenka has certainly had more recent success with a win in Doha earlier in the season, I am backing Kuznetsova to pull off an upset here. She has the most wins on clay amongst active players when taking on top 10 ranked players. With no matches on Clay this season Svetlana will need to rely on all that experience to see off last year’s US Open finalist. Neither player has had much success in Roland Garros in recent years and the underdog has a good opportunity to at least make it into round two in 2021.
Pablo Andujar looks well placed to cause an upset in this opening round match up with two time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem. Andujar is certainly a clay court specialist with his win rate at over 50% on the dirt. The Spanish veteran has beaten Roger Federer in the build up to Roland Garros and enjoyed a semi-final run in that tournament. Thiem on the other hand has shown shaky form in 2021 with some surprising early round defeats on his record. Given these struggles and Andujar’s recent form, a shock first round exit for the 4th seed is on the cards.
The final match on opening day on Court Philippe-Chatrier sees fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas take on the ageing Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. The Greek seed has had a promising Clay court season this year with a Monte Carlo Masters title to his name. He has also pushed Nadal and Djokovic hard in their recent games. With a favourable draw for this tournament I expect Tsitsipas to make a statement and blow away Chardy who has not shown any real form on Clay this year.
- Azarenka v Kuznetsova – Kuznetsova match betting – 5/2
- Thiem v Andujar –Andujar match betting – 11/2
- Tsitsipas v Chardy – Tsitsipas -9.5 set game handicap – 4/5
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