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French Open match previews - Thursday

The French Open at Roland Garros is well under way for another year, I've not had time to do much analysis so I've resorted to the expert, Dan from TennisRatings. Follow him on Twitter @tennisratings and visit his website to see more of his services.

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29th MAY 2014 MATCH PREVIEWS

Juan Monaco's match with Andreas Seppi has the potential to be an epic match for trading...

Current ATP 5 set winners still in the tournament:-

(For more information please check out the Implications of winning a 5 set match article.

Radek Stepanek - 5 sets vs Arguello, 4 sets vs Youzhny
Thomaz Bellucci - 5 sets vs Becker
Axel Michon - 5 sets vs Klahn
Andreas Haider-Maurer - 5 sets vs Brands
Steve Johnson - 5 sets vs Lokoli
Martin Klizan - 3 sets vs Nishikori, 5 sets vs Haase
Marcel Granollers - 1 set vs Dodig, 5 sets vs Dolgopolov

Already eliminated after a 5 set win:-

Jarkko Nieminen
Facundo Bagnis
Mikhail Youzhny

There are 32 matches today at Roland Garros as the second round of the French Open reaches its conclusion. Action starts at 10am UK time today - as has been the case all week.

Four men's matches and six women's matches take place at 10am and there aren't too many trading highlights in the opening ATP clashes, with three matches featuring 'big servers' and the other a very heavy favourite.

In one of the matches featuring big servers, I do like the chances of Andreas Haider-Maurer at around 3.10 against Ivo Karlovic but my worry would be the edge that the Croat has in a tie-break situation, which are highly likely here.

In line with previous days, live matches have tended to feature the heavy favourite 'household name' and this is no different in the early men's live match - David Ferrer, who starts at 1.04 against Simone Bolelli.

I don't have any recent in-play stats on the Italian so it's tough to recommend an in-play avenue but as discussed many times previously, Ferrer is often vulnerable when a break up - he's lost this lead 34.9% in the last 12 months to get back on serve and this is not only above the top 100 mean of 31.9%, it's very poor indeed for a top 5 player.

Three more matches commence following these, and it will be very interesting to see how the prospect with great potential, Dominic Thiem, fares against the king of clay, Rafael Nadal. Nadal starts at 1.05 and because of the Spaniard's superb 40.5% percentage for breaking opponents on clay in the last 12 months, Thiem's projected hold is low here.

Furthermore, with the young Austrian conceding a break lead 34.4% in the last 12 months, and Nadal's deficit recovery consistently excellent at 53.7%, the combined score when Thiem is a break up is 88.4 - easily enough to warrant opposing Thiem a break up here. However, realistically the price won't be viable to do that unless he is a set and break up at least.

Starting at a similar time is the on-form Guillermo Garcia-Lopez who takes on Adrian Mannarino. Garcia-Lopez is short at 1.19 against Mannarino, who isn't adept on the surface and took out a fellow clay hater, Yen-Hsun Lu, in the previous round.

Stats indicate there could be breaks here with Mannarino's serve very vulnerable with a pre-match projected hold of 60.4% - well below the 75.7% ATP mean.

In addition to this, the combined scores when either player is a break up are over the required 75 to lay an ATP player a break up - with both players losing a break lead over 40% of the time.

This is also the case for the match between Juan Monaco and Andreas Seppi, which has the potential to be the best match for trading today.

Both players have been far from their best in 2014 and Monaco starts as favourite at around 1.70. That looks pretty reasonable as his return stats - breaking opponents 33.6% to Seppi's 28.5% - are better, with Seppi having a very slight edge on serve.

This leads to two low projected holds and should either player have some difficulty holding (holds to 30 or worse, or gets broken) then opposing their serve when the match is on serve should be a move with positive long-term expectation.

As mentioned, the combined scores are above the required 75 here too - both players give up break leads much more than average (Seppi 47.9%, Monaco 39.0%) and recover deficits well too (Seppi 43.8%, Monaco 51.9%). It's worth making the point that despite a trying year, Monaco's break back stats have been very consistent and indicates serve problems as opposed to anything return related.

There are few ATP players around that love a five set match more than Seppi. The Italian has played an incredible 13 out of 23 Grand Slam matches in five sets since January 2012 with seven being decided in straight sets and three in four sets. Opposing the set leader in this should be a worthwhile strategy.

Another ATP match of interest is the clash between Thomaz Bellucci and Fabio Fognini, with both being most comfortable on clay. I feel the volatile Italian is a little short at 1.22 against a competent opponent and I'd expect these two to have more than their fair share of breaks of serve today.

With Bellucci losing a break lead 50.0% and Fognini 40.0% - which illustrates how often the talented but carefree Fognini loses focus and concentration - and both players able to recover deficits over 40%, this is easily enough to take combined scores well over the required 75 to lay either player a break up here.

There's less edges in WTA action today, but I like the chances of Polona Hercog against Sloane Stephens in a match that's been priced up at around evens apiece - certainly the Slovenian is happier on clay and has better hold/break stats.

My plan for this is to lay Stephens if she goes a set up - when priced between 1.70 and 2.30 she has only won 3/15 in straight sets in the last 12 months. With Hercog having a strong record at winning at least a set in the same price range, this seems a very strong statistical play.

I feel that the clash between Jelena Jankovic and Kurumi Nara could be closer than the odds suggest although - quite surprisingly - Jankovic has a solid record at winning in straight sets when priced under 1.20.

Both players are excellent at recovering break deficits and have combined scores in excess of the 105 required in the WTA to lay the player a break up. Nara in particular impresses with a 60.5% break deficit recovery stat.

There could also be break leads lost in the match between Teliana Pereira and Sorana Cirstea with the Romanian looking vulnerable at 1.44 here against an opponent who favours the surface much more.

Pereira's matches tend to feature a lot of breaks and as a player that is stronger on return than serve, she has lost a break lead 58.3% and recovered a break deficit 60.0% - both well above the tour mean.

As far as upsets go, perhaps Sara Errani is a little short at 1.10 against Dinah Pfizenmaier, considering the Italian's injury issues, but I'd be surprised if the similarly priced Andrea Petkovic (against Stefanie Voegele) found herself knocked out today. I also can't see a story for the British public and Heather Watson against the consistently impressive Simona Halep, who justifiably finds herself as the tournament second favourite after the shock exit of Serena Williams yesterday.

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