Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: French Open Men - Second Round Preview

French Open Men - Second Round Preview

Stan Wawrinka

The 124th edition of the French Open has thrown up some intriguing second-round matchups. Damien Kayat previews Stan Wawrinka vs Dominik Koepfer and Martin Fucsovics vs Albert Ramos Vinolas.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

ATP Tour 2020
French Open
Stade Roland Garros, Paris, France (Outdoor Clay)
Selected 2nd Round Matches- 30th September

Stan Wawrinka (16) (3/10) | Dominik Koepfer (49/20)
The road to recovery has been a long and winding one for Stan Wawrinka. The three-time Grand Slam Champion seemed destined for early retirement following a series of debilitating knee injuries. But he worked his way back to fitness and impressed in 2019, reaching the Rotterdam and European Open Finals. The Swiss then started 2020 in encouraging form, reaching the semi in Qatar prior to a quarterfinal run in Melbourne. His victory over Danil Medvedev in Melbourne seemed to indicate that he was ready to mix it up with the big boys again. I feel that the Covid break was probably detrimental to his reintegration into the game. His opening-round loss in Rome seemed to indicate as such. But his first-round victory over Andy Murray was surprisingly emphatic (though it was overshadowed by the subsequent social media war between Nick Kyrgios and Mats Wilander). The 2015 champion will be hoping that a win over an undisputed great will help galvanize his campaign. 

The rise of 26-year-old Dominik Koepfer has been meteoric. This was a man who was ranked as low as 1825 in 2016. As a then 22-year-old, he seemed destined to operate within the relatively obscure world of Futures and Challenger tennis. But then came a bolt from the blue. He then enjoyed a nearly unheralded run to the fourth round of last year’s US Open. Enter his post-lockdown clay-court form. Koepfer entered the Rome Masters as a qualifier and managed to make it all the way to the quarterfinals. He beat established players such as Gael Monfils and Alex De Minaur (this despite the fact that he had never previously played in a Masters 1000 main-draw before). He followed that up by nearly beating the maddeningly consistent Bautista-Agut in Hamburg. He will be one of those non-household names who could cause an upset or two this week. 

This will be the first time these two would have met. Conventional wisdom certainly gives the Swiss a huge edge. But I’m not sure how much can be read into that win over a clearly jaded Andy Murray. I think that lefty Koepfer will cause Wawrinka a few headaches. Perhaps opting for Wawrinka to win in four will be the best value here at 26/10. 

Marton Fucsovics (8/15) | Albert Ramos Vinolas (6/4)
So much for those new balls working for Medvedev. Marton Fucsovics produced perhaps the shock of the tournament by eliminating World Number Four Danil Medvedev. Fucsovics hadn’t had too much success in Paris prior to this (he had only won once in two appearances). Furthermore, this was his first clay-court event since the US Open, which should have given Medvedev a huge edge. But perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised. Fucsovics’ only title at the top level came on the clay-courts of Geneva in 2018. He also has already shown this year that he thrives in bigger events. He reached the 4th round of the Aussie Open and final 16 of the Cincinnati Open. He also beat Grigor Dimitrov en route to a 3rd round run at Flushing Meadows. Fucsovics is a pugnacious competitor who will take advantage of any perceived weakness. 

In 32-year-old Albert Ramos Vinolas you have the prototypical Spanish clay-court specialist, ala Carlos Moya. Forget the modern hard-court guys like Pablo Carreno Busta and Roberto Bautista Agut. This is a man who has reached the Monte Carlo Final- losing to that other left-handed clay-court guy: Rafa Nadal. The 2016 French Open Quarterfinalist has reached seven ATP Finals on clay, winning two of them. He reached two of those finals last season, winning in Gstaad and losing in Austria. So, it’s clear that the clay-court lefty is not past his prime as of yet. 2020 has admittedly been a tougher proposition for Vinolas. The pandemic stopped his season in its tracks after a semi-final in Chile (obviously on clay). But since the resumption of tour he had four consecutive first round defeats leading into this event. A straight-sets rout over the crafty Adrian Mannarino will have done his confidence the world of good. 

Ramos Vinolas leads the head-to-head battles 3-2. That actually includes a 3-1 record on clay, including their last meeting in Kitzbuhel last year. So perhaps there’s some value in backing Ramos Vinolas here, particularly in the wake of Fucsovics’ win over Medvedev.  

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

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