This article is part of our Tennis Picks series.
The second round of the second Grand Slam of 2022 continues Thursday from the red clay of the French Open. After a wild day of near-upsets Wednesday followed a first round full of them, especially on the women's side, we could be in for another turbulent day of tennis, though that's unlikely to be the case for one of the top seeds on the men's side and a top-10 American woman facing another player from the United States. A few unseeded French players have given locals reason to cheer thus far, and that should remain the case Thursday. 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 heading into the lone Grand Slam played on the surface, and now we've also had a chance to see everyone play first-round matches at Roland Garros. The stakes are highest at the majors, and the men 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.
Sonego hasn't been able to string together any sort of success this year, and all the pressure will be on him in this match as the No. 32 seed. The Italian is 4-10 in his last 14 matches, including a pair of losses to players ranked outside the top 200 during this slump. Conversely, the 63rd-ranked Sousa is in his finest form of the season. The 33-year-old veteran made the final in Geneva in the week leading up to this tournament, defeating four top-100 opponents in straight sets before pushing Casper Ruud to a third-set tiebreak.
Simon watched fellow 37-year-old Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga play his final French Open match in the first round and refused to suffer the same fate, willing himself to victory over No. 16 seed Pablo Carreno Busta and coming back from a break down in the fifth to claim the final set 6-4. The clay at Roland Garros seems to be playing extra slow in 2022, which bodes well for Simon's grinding game style. The former world No. 6 is far removed from his best days, but with the crowd behind him, Simon will be motivated to keep his final French Open foray going for another round by knocking off another veteran in Johnson. Like most Americans in the past couple decades, Johnson hasn't had much success at the French Open, with a 10-9 career record at this tournament.
Lock It In
Medvedev isn't nearly as dominant on clay as he is on hard court, but he managed to reach the quarterfinals at last year's French Open, so he's still a formidable opponent on clay. His opponent hasn't proven he can beat players of Medvedev's caliber, so the second-seeded Russian should be able to avoid joining the lengthy list of highly ranked players that have been pushed to the brink or eliminated in the early stages of this tournament. Djere is 0-6 against players ranked in the top 25 and just 1-8 against top-60 opponents in 2022.
Collins should comfortably come out on top in this all-American second-round matchup. The ninth-seeded 2022 Australian Open finalist came out firing in the first round, topping Viktoriya Tomova 6-0, 6-4. Rogers beat Tereza Martincova 6-4, 6-3 in the opening round but came into this tournament on a five-match losing streak, including defeats in all three of her previous clay-court matches in 2022. These two split a pair of hard-court encounters in 2021, though Rogers' win came when Collins retired due to an injury.
This is a huge opportunity for both of these guys, as they're in a section of the draw where an unseeded player is guaranteed to grab a spot in the Round of 16. With the partisan Parisian crowd supporting him, Gaston should have the edge in this match. The dropshot maestro rode the crowd's energy to a first-round upset of 19th-seeded Alex de Minaur in a fifth-set tiebreak, and the 21-year-old Frenchman is no stranger to success at his home slam, as he made it to the Round of 16 in 2020 and pushed No. 3 seed Dominic Thiem to 6-3 in the fifth. The 27-year-old Cachin is in his first Grand Slam main draw, and he only got in as a lucky loser.
Basilashvili had to escape from a two-set hole to top Maxime Cressy in the first round but should have an easier time in the second round against another American opponent in McDonald. Clay has never been kind to McDonald, as he's just 7-12 on the surface in his career and 2-3 in 2022. Both wins this year came against opponents ranked outside the top 150, so the 24th-ranked Basilashvili's a massive step up in quality from the players McDonald has shown he can beat.