French Open R3 previews and picks: Raonic vs. Simon, Federer vs. Tursunov

Raonic Milos Raonic and Gilles Simon will battle for a spot in the second week of Roland Garros on Friday. Roger Federer is also in action, set for a third-round meeting with Dmitry Tursunov.

(8) Milos Raonic vs. (29) Gilles Simon

A number of Frenchmen seem to be in resurgent form at Roland Garros and Simon is one of them as he heads into third-round action on Friday. The world No. 30 is still below .500 this season with an 11-12 match record, but he started to heat up by taking Rafael Nadal to three sets in a three-hour Rome battle. So far this fortnight Simon has taken out Ante Pavic and an in-form Alejandro Gonzalez without the loss of a single set. In fact, no set has even been more competitive than 6-4.

Up next for the 29th seed is Raonic, who leads the head-to-head series 1-0. Their only previous encounter came three years ago on the clay courts of Estoril, where the Canadian prevailed 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3. Raonic started his 2014 campaign slow, but he is playing some of his best tennis at the moment. The world No. 9 reached the Rome semifinals and extended Novak Djokovic to three sets before opening in Paris with straight-set scalps of Nick Kyrgios and Jiri Vesely. This is an intriguing matchup of contrasting styles and one that is not particularly bad for Simon at home in France and on clay. The underdog is far from a big server, though, and that could be his undoing since holding on a consistent basis is absolutely essential against Roanic.

Pick: Raonic in 5

(31) Dmitry Tursunov vs. (4) Roger Federer

Federer and Tursunov will be squaring off for the fifth time in their careers and for the second time this spring when they clash during third-round action on Friday. They just faced each other on the hard courts of Indian Wells, where Federer scraped through 7-6(7), 7-6(2). The 32-year-old Swiss has won all four of their previous meetings, all of which have been contested on hard courts. He is 8-1 lifetime in total sets against Tursunov.

Although he skipped a few clay-court weeks due to the birth of twin boys and got in only one match in Rome (lost his opener to Jeremy Chardy), Federer is showing no signs of rust so far. The 17-time Grand Slam champion advanced to the last 32 with routine straight-setters at the expense of Lukas Lacko and Diego Sebastian Schwartzman. Tursunov had no trouble of any kind with Potito Starace and Sam Querrey. The 32nd-ranked Russian’s inconsistency, however, still leaves him with a disappointing 12-15 record this season. Tursunov can trade winners with Federer all day, but a few slip-ups on serve and Federer’s stronger belief in this matchup should get the fourth seed past the finish line before too much drama ensues.

Pick: Federer in 3 with at least 1 tiebreaker

11 Comments on French Open R3 previews and picks: Raonic vs. Simon, Federer vs. Tursunov

  1. I voted for Fed in 3 with no TB, and Raonic in 4. Typically, I would pick Raonic in 3, but at the French I think the crowds will motivate Gillou to get a set.

  2. Ha…wonder if one of his daughters did it? if yes, then it’s really cute. if not…uhmmm not sure what to say.

  3. I think Simon is playing pretty good ATM…he will make Milos work hard for the win…I still expect Milos to come victorious…and Tursunov is no danger for Fed…
    Milos in 4…
    Fed in 3…

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