FILE – In this May 15, 2021 file photo, Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas returns the ball to Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during their quarter-final match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome. When the French Open starts Sunday, May 30, in Paris, there will be those looking for a changing of the guard in men’s tennis, Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are among the 20-somethings considered contenders. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, File)
- The first round of French Open men’s singles is spread out over three days, with 20 matches taking place Sunday.
- All the matches are from the bottom half of the draw – the non Djokovic-Nadal-Federer half
- We break down the odds and look at first-round value for a few of the matchups
The 2021 French Open is going to start without the No. 1 seed, as Novak Djokovic will still be on his way from winning the title at the ATP 250 at his home club in Belgrade on Sunday when the main event begins.
Unlike the 2020 edition, postponed to October and plagued by cold and rain, this year’s event will have significantly more fans (though not a full house) and will start under sunny spring skies.
French Open Men’s Singles Day 1 odds
|Sunday Matchups||Odds from DraftKings|
| Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Jérémy Chardy||-5000 / +1900|
| Dominic Thiem vs. Pablo Andujar||-1115 / +700|
| Alexander Zverev vs. Oscar Otte||-3335 / +1500|
|Marton Fucsovics vs. Gilles Simon||-715 / +500|
| Daniel Evans vs. Miomir Kecmanovic||-182 / +148|
| Karen Khachanov vs. Jiri Vesely||-385 / +290|
|Emil Ruusuvuori vs Mackenzie McDonald||+250 / -335|
Odds as of May 29
The fan component is important, as the lack of some during the pandemic has led to a lot of discouraging performances from players who need the crowd to motivate them and feed off their energy.
After all the work, the stage is finally set 🧐#RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/YFWqbPoaqz
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) May 29, 2021
That will especially be something to look for with the “home” French players.
 Dominic Thiem vs. Pablo Andujar Prediction
The odds are in the former French Open finalist’s favor, although not as overwhelmingly as they are for his friends Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev in their openers.
But there’s little reason to believe that the 28-year-old Austrian is going to roll through his draw. Thiem’s one good run on clay ended with him going down with little more than a peep against Zverev in the Madrid semifinals.
After taking a late wild card into the Lyon tournament the next week, he managed just five games against Brit Cameron Norrie in his first match.
Andujar is an experienced clay-court player with plenty of notable wins – just two weeks ago, he broke Swiss hearts by eliminating Roger Federer in the first round of Geneva. And he has played seven clay-court tournaments already this year.
Thiem is 2-for-2 against him on clay, but they haven’t met in two years and the 2021 version of Dominic Thiem isn’t the same player.
The odds are too long for an upset. But +295 for Thiem to win in four – i.e., for Andujar to sneak a set – is an interesting prop
Best Bet: Thiem in four sets (+295)
DraftKings Promo for NBA Playoffs Gives Bettors Crazy 40-1 Odds on Any Team to Win
 Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Jérémy Chardy Prediction
The oddmakers have Tsitsipas as the second favorite behind Rafael Nadal to win the whole thing – even ahead of Novak Djokovic.
Even given that, putting him at -5000 to beat the very capable Chardy is lofty territory.
Chardy’s best surface is clay; it’s the only surface on which his career won-loss record is above .500. He has made a couple of runs to the second week in Paris. And he has beaten Munar, Basilashvili and Bublik during the clay-court spring.
The 34-year-old Frenchman has also beaten Tsitsipas twice – although both times on a faster indoor hard court. He also took him to a third-set tiebreak at Queen’s Club on grass in 2019.
First-round nerves are normal for favorites in Grand Slam tournaments. And, as with Thiem, the odds on Tsitsipas dropping a set in his first-round match are attractive at +370. It’s also not an unrealistic possibility.
Best Bet: Tsitsipas in four sets (+370)
Marton Fucsovics vs. Gilles Simon prediction
This is another match where there’s a strong favorite – except Fucsovics, a sold player, is not often this much of a favorite (-715) in any match he plays.
They met for the first time ever last October, indoors in Cologne. And Fucsovics won just three games.
Simon took a six-week break over the winter, worn down by tennis during a pandemic and looking to get that spark back. He’s gone 1-4 since his return, which isn’t great. But he’s definitely showing a few more signs of life.
Dominic thiem beats marton fucsovics 3-6 7-6 6-0 in the 2nd round of the Rome masters #thiem #romemasters ( Getty ) pic.twitter.com/3mJ2jp2qe3
— Phil (@tennis_phil) May 12, 2021
This is his 16th French Open, and he’s had his share of five-set dramas against top players. And at his age, he knows he doesn’t have many more trips left in him.
At +500, going for the upset would be cheeky. But the total games odds get into the plus column at 33.5 games.
And wouldn’t it just like Simon to start the French hopes off on Sunday with a marathon?
Best Bet: Fucsovics in five sets (+650)
This article contains links to external sports betting services. SBD may receive advertising revenue from these links, however editorial has hand-picked each individual link based on relevance to the article, without influence on the coverage.
Stephanie gets the straight dope from the tennis insiders. On court, she has represented her country internationally. A BA in journalism led to years on the MLB beat and a decade covering tennis globally. She’s written for Postmedia, the Guardian, the New York Times and also publishes OpenCourt.ca.