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Tennis 10sBalls • Ricky’s Picks For 2019 The French Open, Including Del Potro vs. Jarry In Paris

Staff member waters the court as Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays Hubert Hurkacz of Poland during their men’s first round match during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 27 May 2019. EPA-EFE/JULIEN DE ROSA



By Ricky Dimon


First-round action at the French Open wraps up on Wednesday, highlighted by a showdown between Juan Martin Del Potro and Nicolas Jarry. Alexander Zverev and Lucas Pouille are also taking the court.


Ricky previews three of the more intriguing matches and makes his predictions.


Nicolas Jarry vs. (8) Juan Martin Del Potro

Following a four-year absence, Del Potro will play at Roland Garros for a third straight year when he laces ’em up on Tuesday. The ninth-ranked Argentine is not exactly a pillar of health right now, but resting throughout the entire months of March and April has him ready to go for the time being. Del Potro, a French Open semifinalist last spring, is coming off a quarterfinal performance in Rome–where he lost to Novak Djokovic 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 after having two match points.

Tuesday marks the first-ever meeting between Del Potro and Jarry. The 2018 Golden Swing signaled the 58th-ranked Chilean’s true breakout on tour and this season his success has come during the more traditional clay-court spot on the calendar. Jarry reached the Barcelona quarterfinals a qualifier and just last Saturday finished runner-up in Geneva (fell to Zverev 10-8 in a final-set tiebreaker). The underdog is confident, but this may not be great matchup for him; they wield similar styles and Del Potro hit just about every stroke a little bit bigger and a little bit better.

Pick: Del Potro in 4


John Millman vs. (5) Alexander Zverev

Zverev and Millman will also be going head-to-head for the first time on Tuesday. This is not the easiest of openers for Zverev. After all, Millman stunned Roger Federer at the 2018 U.S. Open and has remained in decent enough form this year. Moreover, Zverev has never excelled at Grand Slams. His trip to the Roland Garros quarters last spring was–and still is–his lone trip that far at a major.

The fifth-ranked German is coming off a confidence-boosting title on the red clay of Geneva. At the same time, though, that means he is making a bit of a quick turnaround. Like Del Potro, Zverev needs to be very careful in round one but should get the job done if he brings something close to his best.


(Q) Simone Bolelli vs. (22) Lucas Pouille

Pouille and Bolelli will be squaring off for the fifth time in their careers and for the third time at the main-draw level. Bolelli has won three of their previous contests; two in qualifying and also via a 6-3. 6-3 decision at the 2015 Dubai event. They also faced each other later that season in Moscow, where Pouille got on the scoreboard when he led 7-5, 6-1 and then got a retirement.

A capable player on all surfaces, Bolelli presented Rafael Nadal with his second-most difficult test en route to title No. 12 at Roland Garros last spring Bolelli’s 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(9) loss made him more respectable than every opponent aside from Diego Schwartzman (stole a set in round four), and that includes Del Potro in the SFs and Dominic Thiem in the final. Meanwhile, Pouille has been a slam specialist so far in 2019. The 27th-ranked Frenchman reached the Aussie Open semis from completely out of nowhere and aside from that run he owns just a single ATP-level match win. Based on current form and the fact that he has three qualifying wins under his belt, Bolelli has to like his chances of extending his opponent’s doldrums.

Pick: Bolelli in 5


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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