Next Race Newspaper
Free Bets
My Account

Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas has the game to run Thiem close in Paris

Gulbis is playing with confidence again

Stefanos Tsitsipas is enjoying a breakthrough season
1 of 1

Eurosport & ITV4, 10am Wednesday

Thiem v Tsitsipas
Dominic Thiem eased to a first-round victory over Ilya Ivashka on Monday but the Austrian is unlikely to have things his own way against talented Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Thiem has often been talked up as the future of clay tennis but at 24 he is under pressure to start delivering on his considerable promise while a number of younger players, Tsitsipas included, continue to narrow the gap in terms of class.

Tsitsipas has made giant strides over the last year, rising to a career-high ranking of 39 from around 200th a year ago, and he beat Thiem in straight sets at the ATP Barcelona Open last month before understandably finding Rafael Nadal too good in the final.

His opponent remains the stronger player, and is likely to be seen to better effect over a best-of-five contest. But there may not be as much between them as the odds suggest, particularly if Thiem is feeling fatigued after his decision to play in Lyon last week.

While he won that title, there’s no telling how much impact that will have on his Roland Garros bid and Tsitsipas, who serves well and possesses a devastating single-handed backhand, can keep the contest close.

S Tsitsipas +6.5 games
2pts 10-11 BoyleSports

E Gulbis v M Berrettini
Ernests Gulbis is playing and thinking positively and the 2014 French Open semi-finalist can advance to the third round with a victory over Italian youngster Matteo Berrettini.

The Latvian rocketed to tenth in the ATP rankings following his performance four years ago but his form dipped spectacularly, though he was delighted to string together three victories in a row for the first time in two years at the Bordeaux Challenger and he has gone one better at Roland Garros with three qualifying wins and a first-round beating of Gilles Muller.

Berrettini has struggled his way to just two victories in main draw matches on European clay this summer and was fortunate to bump into lucky loser Oscar Otte in Sunday’s opener.

If Gulbis is back to anywhere near top form then he should be able to register a fifth straight win.

E Gulbis
1pt 4-5 Hills

Suarez Navarro v Sakkari
Carla Suarez Navarro boasts a 2-0 head-to-head record over Maria Sakkari but the powerful Greek is improving rapidly and has every chance of downing the Spaniard.

Sakkari began her clay-court season with a run to the semi-finals in Istanbul and, while Kiki Bertens beat her in the opening round in Madrid, she gained revenge over the Dutch woman in Rome a week later.

That was followed by the best victory of her career against Karolina Pliskova, a win which was overshadowed by the Czech’s antics as she smashed her racket repeatedly against the umpire’s chair following a bad line call.

Suarez Navarro is favourite but she lost back-to-back matches against similarly powerful players in Caroline Garcia and Donna Vekic heading into Roland Garros and, despite, easing past a badly undercooked Ana Konjuh - playing her first match since January - in the opening round, the Spanish player looks vulnerable.

M Sakkari
1pt 13-8 general

Other matches
Novak Djokovic is back in action after beating Rogerio Dutra Silva in the opening round but the Serbian looked short of his best and will have to improve against Spanish youngster Jaume Munar.

Second seed Alexander Zverev faces a tricky test against in-form Dusan Lajovic while Britain's Cameron Norrie is not without a chance of beating Lucas Pouille should the mercurial Frenchman have an off-day.

Women's favourite Elina Svitolina resumes her pursuit of a first Grand Slam crown against Viktoria Kuzmova while Caroline Wozniacki and Petra Kvitova are also in action.

Today's top sports betting stories

Follow us on Twitter @racingpostsport

Like us on Facebook RacingPostSport

Tsitsipas has made giant strides over the last year, rising to a career-high ranking of 39
E.W. Terms
Sky bet