With the first Grand Slam event of the year over and Novak Djokovic becoming Australian Open champion for the eighth time, the grind of the ATP tour continues with the 2020 Open Sud de France.
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A strong field has been put together for the Montpellier event despite some high-profile withdrawals with home star Gael Monfils, a two-time champion, the top seed in 2020.
Andy Murray was set to compete at the Open Sud de France but the former world number one pulled out of the event as he continues to recover from a pelvic injury that ruled him out of action at the Australian Open. Fabio Fognini, Lucas Pouille and Andrey Rublev have also withdrawn.
Despite their absences, the action at the Open Sud de France is likely to be intriguing with Denis Shapovalov looking to bounce back from a surprise first-round exit at the Australian Open. The young Canadian, this year’s third seed, is definitely a player to keep an eye on this week.
The second seed is David Goffin with Grigor Dimitrov another big name hoping to go deep into the draw. Further rising talent is on show from Shapovalov’s compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime, with the rest of the seeds made up of Pablo Carreno Busta, Filip Krajinovic and Ugo Humbert.
But where is the best value to be found in the Open Sud de France betting this year? As always, we will consider the latest betting odds from our preferred bookmakers and narrow down the options from there.
Gael Monfils to Maintain French Dominance?
This event tends to be won by a home player more often than not. In fact, seven of the last nine Open Sud de France champions have been French, so will it be the same story in 2020?
Monfils will certainly hope so. The top seed was the winner of this tournament for the first time in 2010 and he recaptured his crown in 2014, though he has not been back to the final since.
The 33-year-old got to the fourth round of the Australian Open – losing to Dominic Thiem – so he is in decent form and, like the other top seeds, he gets a bye into the second round this week.
World number 10 Monfils will start his campaign for a third Montpellier crown against either Adrian Mannarino or Alexei Popyrin, with Carreno Busta likely awaiting in the quarter-finals.
The head-to-head record for that potential last-eight clash is hugely in favour of Monfils, who has beaten Carreno Busta three times in a row, so a place in the semi-finals is in his sights.
Carreno Busta takes on Norbert Gombos in the opening round with a qualifier or Dennis Novak up next for a place in the quarter-finals. The Spaniard should reach the last eight but would be unlikely to come out on top in a battle with Monfils if both players get that far, as expected.
Dimitrov Looking for Form in Montpellier
Fourth seed Dimitrov only got to the second round at Melbourne Park, spurning a number of chances to clinch his match against Tommy Paul, so he will be hoping for better this week. Dimitrov needs to get some court-time under his belt with the season still in its early stages but he has a bye into round two, where he faces either Joao Sousa or Gregoire Barrere.
The Bulgarian should come through that clash to reach the quarter-finals and the draw has set up a likely clash with Krajinovic, who has lost all four previous meetings between the pair. Krajinovic lost to Roger Federer at the Australian Open and an early exit at the Open Sud de France could certainly follow as the Serbian has a testing draw.
First up he will take on a qualifier with either Jannik Sinner or Mikael Ymer – two of the most exciting young players on the tour – awaiting in the second round. This quarter looks like Dimitrov’s to lose but Sinner could be a surprise package this week.
Humbert and Gasquet the Home Hopes in Third Quarter
Shapovalov is the top seed in the third quarter of the draw but the Canadian might be low on confidence after failing to make it through his first tie at the Australian Open. After an opening-round bye, Shapovalov will play either Vasek Pospisil or Aljaz Bedene for a spot in the quarter-finals and there are no guarantees he will get through to the last eight.
Humbert, the eighth seed, is an intriguing option in this part of the draw. The Frenchman will have the support of the home crowd and already has a singles title on his record this year after he kicked off 2020 in style in Auckland. But Humbert faces the veteran Feliciano Lopez in the first round, a match he could easily lose, with Gilles Simon or Richard Gasquet awaiting with a quarter-final berth on the line.
Gasquet is a four-time Montpellier champion, also reaching the final on a further three occasions, so the Open Sud de France is certainly a tournament he likes to play. Gasquet may be 33 and without a title since 2018, but he certainly should not be underestimated this week.
Herbert Looks to Go One Step Better
The fourth quarter includes unseeded Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga last year, and his big serve is always going to be difficult for opponents to cope with.
According to the seeding the quarter-final should be contested by Goffin and Auger-Aliassime but Alexander Bublik is also lurking in this section. On his day he can beat almost anyone.
This quarter is arguably the most open this week and Herbert might well come through the draw again, though Goffin is the man to beat if he maintains his decent Australian Open form.
Open Sud de France Best Bets
Monfils looks a strong front-runner for the crown but considering his short odds in the Open Sud de France betting, there might be some better value on offer elsewhere in the tournament’s draw.
Gasquet certainly knows what it takes to succeed here and even though he is unseeded, the four-time Montpellier winner should give backers a good run for their money.
A third Frenchman, last year’s finalist Herbert, is another option well worth considering at his current odds. He is likely to go under the radar yet could have another good week in Montpellier.
Sinner is a long-shot pick, but the talented youngster could cause a few shocks here.