2020 French Open Betting Picks – Round One, Day One

September 26, 2020

The 2020 French Open is finally here, with Roland-Garros set to crown the year’s clay court major champion. On day one, the players will take to the red clay at this famous venue in colder conditions than they are used to. And with the potential for night matches on center court, fans could be in for later French Open betting picks than they’re used to. On day one, I have one pick related to a French player as the tournament gets underway.

Benoit Paire vs. Kwon Soon-woo

Now, it should be noted that betting on Benoit Paire matches can be dangerous. Paire’s attitude on the court is volatile. He can be known to argue with chair umpires or fail to give his all in matches. The Frenchman was even reprimanded for his lack of effort against Jannik Sinner in his lone match in Rome a couple of weeks ago.

Paire has also dealt with coronavirus concerns this summer, missing the US Open after a positive test. The tournaments in Rome and Hamburg drew criticism for allowing him to play over the last two weeks after that revelation. But the virus hasn’t impacted Paire physically on the court, as his mental state has contributed more to his 0-2 start on clay since the US Open.

In fairness to Paire, he has faced high-level competition in those two clay court matches. There is no shame in losing to Sinner and Casper Ruud on clay. In fact, playing those two opponents could serve as great training for any match he faces at Roland-Garros.

On the other side of this match is a player in Kwon Soon-woo who has played virtually no clay court tennis. Kwon has played two tour level matches on clay in his entire career, losing in the first round of qualifiers of the French Open and Rome Masters in 2019. Outside of that, he has only played a few Challenger level matches on the surface.

Kwon’s form since the restart to the season hasn’t been great on any surface. He has won two of five matches since returning to action. His best win since then was a three-set victory over Italian Andreas Seppi. Seppi, ranked 97th in the world, is hardly an impressive victory. For all of his issues, Paire is still a top-25 player in the world. A win here would be one of the best of Kwon’s career, and his only quality win on clay.

Before the ATP Tour was halted due to COVID-19, Kwon was playing well. He had reached the quarterfinals of three consecutive tournaments. While New York, Delray Beach and Acapulco aren’t exactly prestigious tournaments, Kwon’s ability to win consecutive matches to reach the quarters on a weekly basis showed that he is capable of being a quality player on tour.

For this match, the key is going to be whether or not Benoit Paire can keep his head on straight and if he is physically in a decent state after his run-in with COVID-19. The better player on clay, against someone who rarely touches the surface, he has an advantage on the court. But if he experiences adversity against Kwon, things could go off the rails in a hurry. At a plus price, Paire is worth a play in his home country on a surface he is more comfortable with.

Pick: Benoit Paire (+118) over Kwon Soon-woo

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Jay Sanin
Jay Sanin is a sports writer and broadcaster from Albany, NY. He has covered sports betting and the gambling industry since 2013.