Before becoming a Sports Journalist for Free Super Tips, Aaron spent three years studying Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland while taking in the Black Cats' 'glory years' under Martin O'Neill. Now back in Northern Ireland he turns niche stats into predictions for FST, while he's one of the few people on this island who is equally comfortable at Windsor Park and the Aviva.
The French Open, which is the second Grand Slam of the season and the only major to be played on clay, is finally upon us and the build-up to the men’s competition has been dominated by three names.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, who has reigned supreme in Paris on 13 occasions, are the two obvious contenders but there is a new kid on the block in the shape of Carlos Alcaraz, who won clay events in Barcelona and Madrid before choosing to skip competition in Rome.
Djokovic took the most recent title in Italy, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final, but he is housed in the top half of the draw alongside Nadal and Alcaraz, so there could be reason to look elsewhere.
French Open men’s outright winner predictions
Stefanos Tsitisipas (9/2 with bet365)
With only one of the big three in the betting able to make the final, the bottom half of the draw is the place to exploit and last year’s runner-up Tsitsipas is the player most likely to profit.
The Greek star dominated much of last year’s title decider with Djokovic, having won the opening two sets 7-6 6-2, before being reeled it, but that experience under his belt should now serve him well.
The 23-year-old has had a consistent European clay season, winning in Monte Carlo, making the semi-final in Madrid and finishing runner-up in Rome, and under his optimum conditions in Paris should have plenty to say on the final outcome.
Casper Ruud, Andrey Rublev and Jannik Sinner look the only obvious dangers to him in the bottom half so, at 5-1, the Athens ace is worth backing to go one better than last year. He was also a semi-finalist two years ago and is now a regular at the back end of the showpiece events.
Jannik Sinner each-way (28/1 with bet365)
With Daniil Medvedev at his most vulnerable on clay and his only competitive match since March ending in defeat, the fourth quarter looks like a straight shootout between Sinner and Rublev.
But preference is for the rising Italian star, who is the happier of the two on the surface and has won his two previous clay-court meetings with Rublev.
With a semi-final showdown with Tsitsipas a strong possibility, the 33-1 on offer about Sinner must be considered too big from an each-way perspective.
The 20-year-old is already a five-time winner on the ATP Tour and is a twice a Grand Slam quarter-finalist, including here in Paris two years ago, so may be ready to take the next step in his development.
French Open women’s outright winner predictions
An engrossing clay-court campaign reaches its climax with the French Open next week with all eyes on in-form Iga Swiatek in the second Grand Slam event of 2022. Barbora Krejcikova is the tournament’s reigning champion but there are doubts over her fitness after three months out of action.
Iga Swiatek (10/11 bet365)
Even at odds-on, it is hard to look past Iga Swiatek at this year’s French Open.
They clay-court event remains the only Grand Slam title the Pole has won and she comes into this year’s edition in eye-watering form.
Not only is Swiatek on a 28-match winning streak but she is also eyeing a sixth consecutive title on the WTA Tour after coming out on top in the Qater Open, Indian Wells Masters, Miami Open, Stuttgart Open and Italian Open.
She also has a fairly soft draw in France with Karolina Pliskova, who has endured an inconsistent clay season so far, her most likely opponent when it comes to the quarter-finals. The price may put some off, but Swiatek is on another stratosphere right now and is well worth a bet to win her second Grand Slam crown.
Ons Jabeur (12/1 bet365)
For those after some value in the women’s outright market, Ons Jabeur, the next in the betting, also makes appeal at 12/1.
The Tunisian ace has arguably been the second-best clay-court player on the WTA tour this year, and was the latest player Swiatek overcame in a final, losing to the Pole 6-2 6-2 in the Italian Open final last week.
Jabeur nearly went the distance in Rome after winning the Madrid Open title earlier this month and finishing as runner-up at the Charleston Open back in April.
The sixth seed is a dangerous player with what will likely be a fairly comfortable run to the quarter-finals, where Maria Sakkari could be waiting, and is worth chancing at double figures.
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