Aussieguy is one of the most respected posters in the Covers.com forum and he loves to beat the books at tennis. Check out his Covers Space here.
Sometimes you've gotta laugh, I reckon. How can you go 0-8, like I have with my picks so far in the French Open???!!
This will make my “gambling history” book, for sure. I've had a few bizarre losses and some strange wins in the past, but never have I gone like I did in the last two days! Anyhow, can't get any worse, can it? I can plateau but I won't go worse.
Luis Horna (+165) vs. Gael Monfils (-225)
Obviously, I underestimated Horna in my previous assessment and after taking stock of my Day 2 and 3 selections, perhaps I should be the one taking up pottery instead of the Peruvian!
Next up for Horna, though, is a very athletic, young Frenchman. Monfils has had his fair share of trouble with his feet and ankles in the past couple of years. He's had to retire during a match on two occasions due to rolling his ankles as he slides sideways. Why am I bothering with such a trivial stat? Well, because playing on clay is about mastering your slide to the ball – please note: not run, but slide to the ball. The Spanish armada does this perfectly, hence their success on the red dirt.
Monfils had his ankle injuries (both on hard court) because he's so used to sliding on clay. He loves playing on this surface. It was the only surface that was kind to him last year and the only surface on which he was above 50 percent (12 wins and eight losses). He made it to the fourth round two years ago and, cheered on by his home crowd, I am picking him to advance past Horna into the third round this year.
Jarkko Nieminen vs. Martin Vasallo Arguello
I expect Vasallo Arguello to cause an upset against the No. 26 seed from Finland, Nieminen. Vasallo Arguello is a great clay-courter whose game obviously is very well suited to this surface. He hasn't made it past the first round in any other major, but he's been as deep as the fourth round here in Paris. He made very light work of Feliciano Lopez in the previous round and now he faces another left-hander, who I don't think he'll have much trouble against.
Niemenen had some great victories against some big names in his career, but none of his weighty wins have come on clay. His preparation coming into the French Open hasn't been that glamorous either. He has been as deep as the fourth round here in Paris, but I don't think he'll get past the Argentine today. Vasallo Arguello is my upset pick here.
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