French Open Men's Day Six Tips: Krajinovic to compete with Auger-Aliassime

The men's singles at the French Open moves to the third round stage today, and after a nice underdog winner on day five, Dan Weston returns to give his thoughts on the day ahead...

Yesterday's action - wins for big names

Easy wins were the order of the day for the likes of Casper Ruud and Daniil Medvedev yesterday, although Jannik Sinner and Andrey Rublev were pushed a little more to get it done in four sets. Stefanos Tsitsipas' difficulties continued, stuttering to a four-set win over Zdenek Kolar which contained three tiebreaks, and everything that I said about him prior to many Grand Slam tournaments in terms of the impact of his non-elite return game making him play long sets and matches in the early rounds appears to be manifesting itself again. We also picked up a decent underdog pick, with Mikael Ymer getting the job done over the Brit, Dan Evans.

Many heavy favourites today including Nadal & Djokovic

There are eight matches on the card today as round three gets off and underway, all from the top half of the draw. Of these, Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Alexander Zverev are all very short favourites priced around 1.10 or below, while Carlos Alcaraz is a little bigger at 1.19 for his clash with Sebastian Korda.

Alcaraz almost came unstuck in the previous round against his veteran countryman, Albert Ramos, and the Spaniard will need to play well to get past Korda, who has already beaten him once this season on clay in Monte Carlo. Of course, Alcaraz is a phenomenon who is destined for a career at the top of the sport, but Korda is a young player with high potential as well - the top 10 seems very likely for him in time - and this is probably one of the few times they'll meet in the earlier rounds of big tournaments. They could be fighting it out at the business end of majors many times in the future.

Differing dynamics - Schwartzman and Isner

I was initially surprised when I saw Diego Schwartzman as the 2.54 underdog against Grigor Dimitrov, but having checked my data, it's actually more reasonable than I thought. Unfortunately for the Argentine, he has such a deficiency on serve compared to Dimitrov (around 7% fewer service points won on clay in the last 12 months) that his high quality return game can't quite make up for it.

From a reverse perspective, that's also the case for John Isner against the qualifier, Bernabe Zapata Miralles. Isner, renowned as one of the best servers on tour, has such an edge on serve but that's rather cancelled by him having one of the worst return games. He's favourite at 1.66 to get the win, which seems about right to me.

Underdog value - Krajinovic on the game handicap

Unfortunately, we have thin pickings from a pre-match value perspective today but my one lean - and it's not a hugely strong one - is Filip Krajinović on the game handicap over Felix Auger-Aliassime.

When looking at the 12 month clay data, there's really not that much between the duo, with Krajinovic the better server and Auger-Aliassime having a slightly greater edge on return. That dynamic doesn't really deviate when looking at this year's data in isolation either, so even when you factor in the higher opposition quality which Auger-Aliassime has faced, it's pretty reasonable to consider that this match will be competitive - particularly given that Krajinovic is a pretty decent server.

We should be able to get around the 1.80 mark on Krajinovic with a 5.5 game head start, and I think that's a pretty reasonable line for us to look at today.

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