The build-up towards the French Open continues with the last week of action before the third Grand Slam tournament of the year gets up and running.
Most of the top players in the world have opted to take the week off in order to rest ahead of Roland Garros, but an intriguing field has still been assembled in Lyon.
French star Richard Gasquet is one of the biggest names competing in the 2019 Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon, which is one of the newest events on the ATP tour.
John Isner and Tomas Berdych were both due to take part but had to pull out due to injury, leaving Nikoloz Basilashvili and Roberto Bautista Agut as the only two top-20 players present.
The lack of star presence can offer a chance for young talent to break through, however, with a pair of young Canadian players among those who will be worth keeping an eye on in Lyon.
Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime have been touted as two of the most exciting starlets on the tour and it will be fascinating to see how they cope in the spotlight this week.
The duo are among the most notable names in the betting odds for the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon, but where is the best value to be found for this week?
Tsonga Seeks to Recover Past Glories
Along with Gasquet, home fans will be watching the progress of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who received entry using a protected ranking into the draw.
Tsonga won the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon in 2017, the first year the relaunched tournament was held, so he will be glad to be back at the event despite being unseeded.
Now 34, there is little question Tsonga is coming towards the end of his career and he would no doubt love to add more silverware to his trophy cabinet before hanging up his racquet.
Tsonga has already had some joy in his homeland with a triumph in Montpellier earlier in the year and his experience could be a decisive factor in this week’s tournament.
As such, a price of 5/1 on Tsonga to win the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon simply has to be worthy of consideration, although his form in the last couple of months is mixed.
Since a run to the semi-finals at the ATP 250 event Grand Prix Hassan II in Morocco, Tsonga has struggled to put results together, but a return to France could be beneficial.
Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime to Shine?
The absence of players from the very top of the sport means there are some seeds who will have to cope with the burden of expectation for one of the first times in their career.
Shapovalov is the third seed and the Canadian has not always looked fully comfortable on clay, so it is possible he could be at risk of suffering an early exit at this week’s tournament.
But his talent is not in doubt and should see him through the early rounds in Lyon, although a first-round loss to compatriot Auger-Aliassime in Madrid recently showed there is work to do. He was also roundly outclassed by Novak Djokovic in Rome, although the Serbian is a class apart.
Shapovalov should see this week’s competition as a chance to get some wins under his belt ahead of going to Paris for the French Open, where reaching the second week is a good target.
He is at 11/1 to win the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon, but Auger-Aliassime is arguably a more tempting proposition for the title at odds of 3/14 with the best bookmakers.
At just 18, Auger-Aliassime is a couple of years younger than Shapovalov but he is already closing in on a place in the top 20 of the world rankings thanks to a breakthrough year.
Auger-Aliassime is still yet to win a senior title on the ATP tour but it is a matter of time until he is lifting a trophy above his head and pocketing a winner’s cheque to boost his bank balance.
Reaching the semi-finals in Miami a few weeks ago – he was beaten by Isner in the last four of the tournament – announced Auger-Aliassime as a talent to watch and the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon might well be his time to shine.
Other Names in the Frame in Lyon
A lack of star power means it is an open field and top seed Basilashvili will be looking to justify that billing, which comes with a price of 13/1 to win the tournament outright.
Bautista Agut is another player who will be expected to do well, although the Spaniard is not always at his best on clay courts, with 15/4 a price that can perhaps be discounted as a result.
Along with Tsonga and Gasquet, home hopes rest on the shoulders of Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who is the seventh seed at this week’s Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon.
He can be backed at a price of 21/1 to win the tournament, while fellow Frenchman Corentin Moutet – who received a wildcard – is virtually a rank outsider at odds of around 48/1.
Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon Best Bets
Canadians Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime look to be two of the most interesting names in the draw for the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon, with the youngsters primed to shine.
It is 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime who is perhaps the most enticing proposition when it comes to the Lyon Open betting odds, however, with his price of 31/4 well worth considering.
Tsonga has to be respected as a former winner of the tournament and one of the most experienced players in the draw. But there is little in his form to back up his selection at odds of 5/1 other than as a romantic choice as he competes on home soil.
The tournament’s top seed Basilashvili won a clay court title in Hamburg last year so he does have some pedigree, but his odds of 13/1 are not as appealing as some of the other players.