Shane Lambert looks ahead to the Mens French Open and after the draw he likes Lucas Pouille and Giles Simon to win their quarters.
The draw for the 2016 French Open was released on Friday morning in Paris with the top seed in the men's draw going to Novak Djokovic. He shares a semi with Rafael Nadal, but ahead of that match, it looks like smooth sailing for the World No. 1. On the other hand, a couple high seeds that may have trouble making it deep are both Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka - the top-two favourites in the third quarter.
Raonic didn't do particularly poorly in the Masters Series lead-ups to the French Open as he generally beat the players that he should. However, he still failed to post a big win and everyone saw how little faith he had in his backhand. Furthermore, the Canadian has picked up a tricky draw right from the start at the French Open. In the first round Raonic has former Top 10 player Janko Tipsarevic with a tough second-round match against either Mikhail Kukushkin or Adrian Mannarino to follow. Lucas Pouille, a player in good form, is near Raonic while Marin Cilic is the next highest seed close to the Canadian in the draw. Given Raonic's history of injuries, his poor backhand, and his intermittent success on clay he might not be the player that advances to the quarterfinal in his section.
Wawrinka is currently set to play in the Geneva final and some might think that that's a good thing. However, it's not the best idea to play in a tournament in the week immediately prior to the start of a major. Wawrinka still has flashes of brilliance in his matches, but often it is short lived. With recent losses to Juan Monaco, Nick Kyrgios, Andrey Kuznetsov, and David Goffin something seems to be a little off in the Wawrinka camp.
The French longshots in this quarter are interesting players. They include Gilles Simon, Pouille, Jeremy Chardy, and Mannarino. Of the four Simon is the player that's most proven but newcomer Pouille can play some as well. The two players are 14/1 (BetVictor) and 33/1 (totesport) to win their quarters.
I think things are much tighter in this section of the draw then what the odds suggest. Wawrinka is the favourite to make the semis at 5/4 with BetVictor, but I have him out at 3/1 in terms of true odds. Raonic I have less faith in and I would put him more like 11/2 to win this quarter for true odds. With Simon and Pouille both being French they might see some things go their way on home soil. At long odds, they both seem to be solid picks.
1.5-pt bet on Giles Simon to win his quarter at 14/1 with BetVictor
1-pt bet on Lucas Pouile to win his quarter at 33/1 with Totesport