This article is part of our Tennis Picks series.
The first round of the second Grand Slam of 2022 concludes Tuesday from the red clay of the French Open. The men's draw features a few intriguing clashes between young up-and-comers and established contenders, while a former women's champion could face early trouble based on her struggles heading into Roland Garros. All match odds below are taken from DraftKings Sportsbook, but you can sometimes find more favorable odds on some of these matches by checking other mobile sportsbooks such as FanDuel, BetMGM or Caesars.
How players performed over the past six weeks or so should provide a good indication of their clay-court form, though the atmosphere is always different at a Grand Slam. Top players will dig deeper here, and the men will play best-of-five set matches rather than the best-of-three seen at other ATP Tour events. Conditions vary from tournament to tournament, and even from day to day, but clay generally plays slower than hard or grass, favoring players with better footwork, touch and ability to work the point rather than big servers. Using this context can help pinpoint intriguing betting opportunities, both among favorites likely to cruise to victory and underdogs ready to pull off upsets. The aforementioned underdogs are highlighted in the Upset Alert section, the Lock It In section covers players who can safely be considered overwhelming favorites, while the Value Bet section recommends enticing options in matchups that are considered closer to toss-ups.
Ostapenko shocked the world by winning this title in 2017, and while she's seeded 13th here, the 24-year-old Latvian isn't known for her consistency. The streaky Ostapenko's level has been stuck in a valley, as she heads into this tournament on a five-match losing streak. Ostapenko's peak is higher than Bronzetti's, but the 73rd-ranked Italian has been in superior form recently, beating a trio of top-100 opponents in a run to the semifinals in Rabat on clay in the week leading up to this tournament.
Tsitsipas got just about an ideal draw, except for the first round. He's the clear favorite to make it all the way to the final with Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev all in the other half of the draw, but Musetti could be one of Tsitsipas' toughest tests along the way. Both of these guys let two-set leads slip away against the eventual champion Djokovic at last year's French Open, so Musetti has proven he can hang with the big boys here. While Tsitsipas is rightfully the clear favorite in this match, the 20-year-old Italian has the talent to pull off an upset that would throw the bottom half of the draw into utter chaos.
Lock It In
Goffin's not back to his former top-10 form, but he has enjoyed a strong clay-court season, climbing back into the top 50 thanks to a 10-4 record on the surface. One of those wins was a straightforward 6-4, 6-3 triumph over Lehecka in Monte Carlo. The 77th-ranked Lehecka's steadily climbing up the rankings at age 20, but he doesn't seem ready to topple a player of Goffin's caliber, having gone 1-4 against top-50 opponents in 2022.
Wang has generally played well in qualifying but has struggled to notch wins in main draws, going 1-4 in her last five matches at that level. The 129th-ranked 30-year-old from China shouldn't present many problems for Pegula, who has figured out how to translate her defensive style to strong results on clay. The 11th-ranked American reached the final at the WTA 1000 event in Madrid, then followed it up with a trip to the Round of 16 at the Italian Open, falling to Ons Jabeur and then Aryna Sabalenka. Wang won't be able to replicate the level Jabeur or Sabalenka reached, and Pegula's not a player who beats herself.
Rune's one of the better young prospects on the ATP Tour, and the 19-year-old Dane has enjoyed a strong clay-court season, winning a challenger and an ATP 250 event. He defeated Alexander Zverev en route to the latter title, but that's his only win over a top-20 opponent in five tries this year. Shapovalov's ranked No. 15, and he defeated three top-30 players – including a hobbled Rafael Nadal – in a run to the quarterfinals of the Italian Open earlier this month. Given his significant edge in experience facing quality opponents on the big stage, this is Shapovalov's match to lose.
Ruusuvuori has struggled on clay, with a 7-12 career record on the surface. Humbert's off to a dreadful start in 2022, but he still has the superior ranking in this clash of 23-year-olds at No. 46 compared to No. 61 for Ruusuvuori. The Frenchman looked more competitive in Lyon last week, beating Gregoire Barrere in straight sets and taking a convincing 6-1 first set over Alex de Minaur before dropping that match in three. With the home crowd willing him on, Humbert should be favored to sneak through this winnable first-round match.