Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: French Open Men: Ro32 Preview

French Open Men: Ro32 Preview

Kevin Anderson

We preview the French Open round of 32 clashes between Pablo Carreno Busta and Roberto Bautista Agut as well as Kevin Anderson and Andrey Rublev.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

ATP Tour 2020
French Open
Stade Roland Garros, Paris, France (Outdoor Clay)
Selected Round of 32 Matches- 3rd October

Pablo Carreno Busta (17) 9/10 | Roberto Bautista Agut (10) 17/20
On the surface, this looks like your typical French Open slugfest, with two Spanish stalwarts battling it out on hallowed red clay. But these are Spaniards of a different ilk, more content on the harder surfaces than the sticky stuff. The metronomic Bautista Agut has probably not had the Grand Slam success of Carreno Busta (he reached his first Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon last year). He has never gone beyond the fourth round here. His last clay-court title came back in 2014. 2020 has been so-so for Agut, highlighted by a semi-final showing at the Western and Southern Open. Agut holds the special honour of beating Novak Djokovic on three occasions, which perfectly encapsulates his grit and resilience. He has beaten both Richard Gaasquet and Attila Balazs and seems to be playing with real freedom. I think that’s tied in to his personal story. The birth of a child on September 15th has had a huge emotional effect on a man who lost both his mother and father towards the end of last year. I think this has helped him focus and I expect him to be all business in this match. 

As I noted earlier, Pablo Carreno Busta has certainly had more tangible Grand Slam success. He is coming off a brilliant semi-final run at Flushing Meadows (albeit at an under-strength event). He was the ‘other man’ in the Djokovic-throat saga, while he lost to Zverev in five epic semi-final set. That was his second US Open semi-final. He also reached the quarterfinal of this event back in 2017. Furthermore, Carreno Busta has tasted clay-court success more recently: he won the 2017 Estoril Open. His 2020 win-loss record stands at 14-8. Aside for his obvious success in New York, he also reached the semi-finals in Rotterdam (more on that later). Carreno Busta has summarily disposed of both John Millman and Guido Pella.

It perhaps unsurprising to discover that these compatriots are no strangers to each other on tour. Carreno Busta leads the head-to-head 3-2. He also won their last meeting- a tight three-set affair in Rotterdam earlier this year. But I just have the feeling that Bautista Agut will have the added motivation to push through this match. It’s probably safe to assume that this will go either four or five sets. But I think Bautista Agut is the man to beat.

Kevin Anderson 36/10 | Andrey Rublev (13) 2/11
Kevin Anderson’s reputation as an iron-man of men’s tennis was once again enhanced, as he saw off Dusan Lajovic in an epic five-set match. it actually prompted the South African to publicly call for limitations on five-set matches at Roland Garros. It’s not surprising when you look at the recent demeanour of the 34-year-old. Anderson has looked a shadow of his former self this year. The big-serving South African became a regular fixture in Grand Slam conversations a few years back, reaching the final of both Wimbledon and the US Open. Who could possibly forget his marathon Wimbledon semi-final against John Isner? But it seems as if all these wars have had an impact on the body. He actually entered this event off the back of four consecutive defeats. How is the South African’s body going to hold up against the intense pressure of dynamic Andrey Rublev? 

And to the man on the opposite end of the form spectrum: Andrey Rublev. Rublev is slowly inching up to Danil Medvedev in terms of Russian tennis talent: he has long since surpassed Karen Khachanov. Rublev started the year in blistering form, winning back-to-back titles in Qatar and Adelaide. He then had a decent showing in Melbourne, reaching the fourth round. A bunch of quarterfinals preceded the lockdown break. He then reached his second Grand Slam quarterfinal at Flushing Meadows (where he ultimately went down to compatriot Danil Medvedev). He then followed that up with clay-court success leading into this Grand Slam, taking home the European Open crown. But things haven’t exactly been smooth sailing thus far. He needed five sets to overcome the courageous Sam Querrey. He then needed four sets to beat the much inferior Davidovich Fokana. 

This will be just their second ever meeting, with Anderson winning their only encounter at the 2015 US Open. This is just the perfect match for Rublev at this time. Anderson’s match with Lajovic took everything he had. I think Rublev will cruise to a straight-sets victory over a tiring and aging pro. A straight-sets win at 11/10. 

Written by Damien Kayat for Hollywoodbets.

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