World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty and reigning French Open champion Iga Swiatek highlight a trio of Round of 64 French Open picks on Thursday. Barty is a huge favorite to dispatch the unheralded Magda Linette. Swiatek is similarly a massive favorite to reach the third round. In between, world No. 6 Elina Svitolina takes on young American Ann Li.
Ashleigh Barty vs Magda Linette
Ashleigh Barty -700
Magda Linette +500
Ashleigh Barty -6 (Ev)
Magda Linette +6 (-120)
Analysis: The 25-year-old Aussie Barty was 27-5 on the year coming into the French with two titles. Barty won the Miami Premier 100 in March and won in Stuttgart in April. The world No. 1 reached the finals in Madrid before losing to Aryna Sabalenka and had to retire in Italy in the quarterfinals against Coco Gauff up 6-4, 2-1.
A 29-year-old Poland native, Linette is currently 45th in the world rankings, but is just 4-6 on the year. Linette got off to a horrific start to 2021 but picked up the pace nicely by winning three matches to reach the semis in Strasbourg in May in her last WTA Tour event before falling to Sorana Cristea in the semis. Linette has beaten Yulia Putintseva and Alize Cornet but, overall, she’s been mediocre at best.
Prediction: Barty and Magda Linette have never crossed paths before, but you should expect the world No. 1 to cruise to victory in this second-round meeting. Barty will be hungry to get the win in this match and is, by far, the better player, both off the ground and with her serve. If Barty doesn’t win this match in two sets, I’ll be stunned. Forget the outright win odds at -700 and back Barty to win this one by at least seven games to cover the WTA Tour game odds in this affair.
Pick: Ashleigh Barty -6 (-105)
Ann Li vs Elina Svitolina
Ann Li +260
Elina Svitolina -320
Ann Li +4½
Elina Svitolina -4½
Analysis: The 20-year-old American Li is an impressive 9-2 on the year. Li reached the round of 32 at the Australian Open while beating world No. 35 Shuai Zhang and world No. 54 Alize Cornet along the way. Li then won three matches in Monterrey to reach the semifinals before falling to Viktorija Golubic in straight sets. World No. 6 Svitolina was 21-10 on the year coming into Roland Garros. The 26-year-old Ukraine native reached the semis in Miami before losing to Barty.
Prediction: Elina Svitolina might not have a title to her credit this year, but she is the far more accomplished and experienced player in this match. These two have never met before, but I can’t see an upset going down in this affair, no matter how hard I try. Svitolina is 20-8 all-time at Roland Garros and will win this match as the value-packed pick at -320 while narrowly covering the 4½-game spread as well.
Pick: Elina Svitolina -4½ and -320
Rebecca Peterson vs Iga Swiatek
Rebecca Peterson +1400
Iga Swiatek -3000
Rebecca Peterson +7 -105
Iga Swiatek -7 -115
Analysis: The 25-year-old Swede Rebecca Peterson is 8-7 on the year, but came into Roland Garros fresh off a humbling opening-match loss against Yulia Putintseva. 60th in the world rankings, Peterson has beaten two top-100 players this year, but a trio of losses to players ranked outside the top 100.
Ninth in the world rankings, the 20-year-old Swiatek is 19-5 on the year with two titles, most recently winning it all in Italy last month by destroying Karolina Pliskova 6-0, 6-0 in the finals. More importantly, Swiatek absolutely crushed the field en route to last year’s French Open crown while recording at least one 6-1 set in six of her seven matches.
Prediction: Swiatek is the unequivocal pick to not only win this match, but to almost certainly humiliate Peterson with her cerebral skill set. I’m thinking this match could be over inside an hour. Yikes. Don’t forget to take a look at our tennis picks page before make your online bet.