Betting: Who will win the French Open?
Minty Bets and Pamela Maldonado are joined by Tennis Channel’s Jimmy Arias to handicap the men and women’s sides for the upcoming tournaments at Roland Garros in Paris, France.
MINTY BETS: This weekend, the second grand slam of the season begins at Roland Garros in Paris, France. Joining us to preview the tournament is Jimmy Arias from the Tennis Channel and, of course, Yahoo's own Pam Maldonado. Pam, I'm going to start with you first. Who is your pick to win the men's side?
PAM MALDONADO: Minty, I said back in February that Carlos Alcaraz would be winning the tournament. I'm going to stick to Carlos. He is-- this is the Spaniard's best surface. Where have we heard that sentence before? He is 20 and 2 this year alone. He has 10 titles, one overall, seven of which have been on clay. What absolutely makes Carlos a threat is his variety in his game. He has a strong baseline, a wicked forehand, a lethal drop shot. And more importantly, he has added the lob, which has made him that much more of a threat.
Stefanos Tsitsipas is in his quarter of the draw. I'm not worried. Carlos holds a 4 and 0 head-to-head record. Plus, Tsitsipas just doesn't have the weapons or even the aggression to contend. Could possibly face Novak Djokovic. Obviously, a world number one for so many years for a reason. Also not worried. The problem with Djokovic has been a hamstring injury, an elbow injury.
Right now, he is just out of rhythm. He's 3 and 2 this year against top-10 opponents. Plus, he is lacking the stamina. You have seen Djokovic be sluggish in a best of three. Now we're going to a best of five. I trust Carlos to win this tournament. He is going to excel and earn his second major of his career.
JIMMY ARIAS: I can't possibly say Alcaraz as well as she did. But I hate to-- nothing I hate more than agreeing with the other person that I'm working with on who to pick. But Alcaraz is the obvious sort of pick in the men's side, especially with Nadal not being here. He would have-- he would have been the wild card is Nadal. Still Nadal at Roland Garros, it's always hard to bet against him because he's won it so many times.
Alcaraz has the advantage of being the best player in the world right now the way he's played on his favorite surface. And had he not won the US Open, I would have had a little bit-- the first slam is never that easy to get because you have that feeling of, can you do it? He has done it. So all signs point to Alcaraz as being the favorite. The caveat-- one of the caveats is Novak Djokovic, 22-time Grand Slam Champion, is in his half of the draw.
Yeah, he hasn't been Djokovic in this clay court season yet, but he was Djokovic in Australia. And it is three out of five sets. He won't be playing Alcaraz for a couple of weeks still because it will be in the semifinals. So he has time to heal, if he gets through his matches quickly enough. So he's a bit of a wildcard.
Holger Rune is also interesting to me on the other half of the draw. I'm a little worried about him because he's had such a great lead up into the tournament. And sometimes, when you haven't had a huge result in a major yet and you have all these expectations going in, you might get a little bit tight early on.
Casper Ruud, we're sort of forgetting about him. He was a runner up last year. He was a runner up at the US Open as well. He knows how to get to at least the last day of the tournament, and he's a good clay court player. So there's some wildcards in Medvedev. We're not even talking about the number two seed at all. The number two seed was lousy on clay his whole life until this year. And he just won Rome.
If it's one against two-- if it's Alcaraz against Medvedev in the finals, then it's Alcaraz, almost for sure. Medvedev just doesn't have the weapons for Alcaraz. But anybody else, Medvedev might be the guy who wins the tournament if Alcaraz gets upset.
MINTY BETS: All right. Keeping it going with you, Jimmy. Who do you like to win on the women's side?
JIMMY ARIAS: This is horrible because the number one-- it's terrible to be picking the number one seeds. But Iga Swiatek, to me, is if she's at her best is a level better than almost everybody else. Sabalenka, obviously, if she's hot, if she has the weapons to beat anybody. So she's a player as the number two seed again. I'm picking all the favorites.
And the other player I need to mention that I-- because she's from Buffalo, and I'm from Buffalo. And I coached her a little bit is Jessica Pegula who has been sort of a quarterfinalist every slam for a couple of years. I kind of like her draw. So I like her to get through into the semifinal for the first time. And then, who knows? You get into a semifinal, a couple of hot matches, and maybe Pegula can make a run.
If I'm going to pick sort of a dark horse-- or maybe we'll do that later in the segment. I'll stop now, and we can come back to it.
MINTY BETS: All right. Pam, what is your pick for the women's side?
PAM MALDONADO: I'm going to go with Elena Rybakina at six and a half to one. She's coming off a win at the Italian Open, 7 and 1 on clay this season. I'm a big believer in momentum, and that's exactly what she has right now. Since July, she's had two grand slam finals, three WTA 1,000 finals. Her skill set is so underrated because she has a very muted personality compared to some of the other players on tour. So she's kind of really under the radar with her capabilities that she has.
And she has become a better clay court player over the last year or so. So I have a strong belief that her draw is also pretty friendly. So if I have a belief that somebody is going to make it to at least the semi-final, why not take it to the final and go all the way? At 7 to 1 odds, you can't beat that.
MINTY BETS: All right. Jimmy, back to you again. Who is the best long-shot pick that can win on either side?
JIMMY ARIAS: Well, I was going on a really crazy long shot, Sorana Cirstea, who's in her 30s and hasn't-- I just-- I had looked at her draw earlier, and I have to look again because I didn't really study. Unlike, obviously, Pam who has been looking at things. But when I looked at her draw, I just thought, she's done well in the past on clay at Roland Garros. She's got the experience, and I liked her draw. So I was going to give her a little bit of a tick. I'll let Pam go, and then I might look for a guy as well while I'm sitting here.
MINTY BETS: All right. Pam, same question goes to you. Give us your long-shot pick.
PAM MALDONADO: I'm going to my long shot to the men's side, and that's Holger Rune. So since winning the ATP Masters 1,000 in Paris back in November, defeating Djokovic in the final, Rune has reached the final ATP Masters 1,000 Monte Carlo. He won ATP 250 Munich, which is clay last month. His style of play, it's so-- it's also one of those underrated because Carlos is going to get all of the attention.
For Rune, his style of play is starting to look more and more like Djokovic's. He has a great return. He is strong from the baseline, power forehand, and killer drop shots as well. Plus, he's 20 years old. He has the speed. He has the stamina in order to play a long-rally, baseline game. He has a pretty semi friendly draw. He could face an American in Taylor Fritz, possibly Norway's Casper Ruud, who we're seeing is also a threat here. Those are two tough could be in for full five set matches.
Rune is coming into this with better form. Plus, the conditions, it's going to be warm and sunny. That favors Rune and the power game that he has.
MINTY BETS: All right. Jimmy, do you have a pick for the men's side as a long shot? No pressure.
JIMMY ARIAS: Yeah. He's not a long shot really, but Jannik Sinner. I'm just disappointed that we haven't mentioned Jannik Sinner because I do think he's sort of with the Alcaraz and Rune-- he's the other young guy that I think will be winning majors as the careers go on. So will he start right now? I'm not sure. He's had a little bit of-- some injuries in this clay court season running up to the French. But his game is amazing. He was the guy that had match points on Alcaraz at the US Open. He lost in five sets. So he certainly has the game, and so I'm going to throw Sinner into the mix a little bit.
MINTY BETS: All righty. Jimmy, thank you so much for your time.
JIMMY ARIAS: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.
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