French Open in Paris, 2nd round, Thursday, 01.06.2023

From a German perspective, Jan-Lennard Struff’s early exit at the French Open was a bitter disappointment. But his opponent was none other than newcomer Jiri Lehecka.

The Czech now has to play Marcos Giron in the next round. The US-American prevailed against the Serbian tennis talent Hamad Medjedovic.

In my Giron Lehecka tip, I analyse the performance of the players and look for the perfect odds for this pairing in the third round.

At the Madrid Masters, Struff was still in the final and even took a set against high-flyer Carlos Alcaraz, who managed to beat him in the end.

After these successful weeks on clay, he even overtook the previous German tennis number one, Alexander Zverev. But in Roland Garros, after a great struggle, he could not build on this performance.

Twice Struff came back from a set down against Lehecka, but in the decisive fifth set the Czech took the lead for a third and final time.

The defeat came as a surprise after the last weeks and months. Also because Lehecka briefly lost his form before the French Open.

The 21-year-old had not won a match since mid-April, dropping out of Madrid, Rome and the Challenger in Turin after his first appearance.

In his clay court debut at the Masters in Monte Carlo, he still reached round three after wins over Emil Ruusuvuori and Grigor Dimitrov. Only Taylor Fritz was able to stop him in the end.

In Bosnia, he also managed two opening wins against Gael Monfils and Radu Albot before Miomir Kecmanovic started the losing streak of four games.

But after retiring from the Challenger match in Turin, Lehecka took the crucial two-week break to come back better. Now Marcos Giron awaits him in round three.

Unlike in the match against Struff, Lehecka is the favourite this time. However, the bookmakers are not too sure. At Bet365, Lehecka’s odds to win are around 1.50, those of the US American 2.62.

Anything can happen for the oddsmakers in terms of match length as well. For three sets there are lucrative 2.50 odds, for four 2.60 and for the complete length of five rounds a 3.40 can be picked up.

In the only encounter so far, Lehecka has prevailed. At the Masters Tournament in Paris last October, the Czech won outright in two sets.

A bet on another flawless victory brings odds of 3.05 at Betano. Even though I, like the betting companies, see Lehecka ahead in terms of play, I trust Giron to win at least one set.

At the same time, it is inconceivable that the Czech will again play out a five-set match, which puts the bet on a Lehecka win at -1.5 set handicap (1.80) in a good light.

Lehecka plays pressure-packed tennis, with which he secures many quick game wins. However, it becomes dangerous when the error bug creeps in and he has to switch to percentage tennis.

In round one, however, he was able to prove that he is in better shape again. Already in the first duel, he showed dominance on his own service. Giron only had one break point.

Even against Struff, he only allowed ten break points in five sets, half of which he was able to fend off, is a good value.

Summary: Lehecka is one of the sport’s biggest newcomers. In April, he was ranked 36th, his best ranking so far.

Tennis icon Tomas Berdych, who has reached the semi-finals of every Grand Slam tournament at least once, sees “a great future” in his compatriot.

Giron has shown more consistent performances in recent months, but if Lehecka can build on Struff’s game, he shouldn’t have much trouble against the US American.

I expect Lehecka to win and don’t expect him to drop more than one set. That’s why I’m betting on a -1.5 set handicap for Lehecka.