WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up French Open tips for exciting Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis’ first-round clash with veteran Albert Romas Vinolas.
00:00 (AEST), Mon 23rd May @ Stade de Roland Garros, Paris
History: First meeting
Final Thoughts: Australia’s fifth-ranked male player, world No.85 Thanasi Kokkinakis is a narrow first-round favourite against world No.42 Albert Ramos Vinolas – with a likely date with teenage sensational Carlos Alcaraz the reward for the winner.
The 26-year-old Kokkinakis has played in just four majors since the 2018 Australian Open and returns to the French Open for the first time in five years. But he has gone from strength to strength since fighting back from a horror injury stretch last year.
Kokkinakis started 2022 in style by winning a maiden ATP-level title in Adelaide before taking out the Australian Open doubles title in raucous fashion with Nick Kyrgios. He upset Diego Schwartzman on his way to the Round of 16 at the Miami Open in late-March, while his French Open build-up included wins over Fabio Fognini and Federico Delbonis in Geneva last week.
Former top-20 player Ramos Vinolas reached the quarter-finals of the 2016 French Open – his best grand slam result. But the 34-year-old has had a lean run in majors in recent years, making it past the first round just twice in his last 14 slam tilts.
A clay-court specialist, Ramos Vinolas won the Cordoba Open in February and made the semis in his Estoril Open title defence earlier this month, beating the likes of Aussie Jordan Thompson and Fernando Verdasco. But the veteran has lost three straight games since, to Marin Cilic in Madrid, Tommy Paul in Rome and Aussie Chris O’Connell in Geneva.
Ramos Vinolas certainly seems to be a touch underdone, but his vast experience on this surface can’t be discounted. Kokkinakis, though, brings form and momentum into an intriguing showdown, where his powerhouse serve and forehand will prove formidable obstacles for the Spaniard. Expect a lengthy, absorbing battle before Kokkinakis wears Ramos Vinolas down.
FRENCH OPEN TIPS
|Fabio Fognini V Alexei Popyrin||Total – 3 Sets @ $3.60|
|Aljaz Bedene V Chris O’Connell||Handicap – Bedene +5.5 @ $1.85|
|John Isner V Quentin Halys||Set Betting – Isner 3-1 @ $3.90|