Kei Nishikori needed five sets to overcome Benoit Paire in the last round of the French Open and he could come unstuck against another home hopeful in Gilles Simon today.
Gilles Simon to win 3/1.
Simon has never been beyond the fourth round in his home Grand Slam but the Frenchman has already impressed in Paris this year with a 3-1 win over 12th seed Sam Querrey.
Nishikori needed five sets to down Paire in the previous round as he fought back from 2-1 down in a three-hour epic. The Japanese former world number four is still working his way back to full fitness and trying to recapture his best form and that win over Paire will have boosted his confidence, but may also have taken a toll on him as that was the only five-set match he has played this year.
Simon enjoyed an impressive build-up to the second major of the year as he reached the final in Lyon, losing 2-1 to Dominic Thiem, immediately before the French Open and at 3/1 he looks well worth the risk to cause an upset and dump out Nishikori today.
France to win to zero 6/4.
France and Italy meet in a high-quality friendly this evening as Les Bleus continue their World Cup preparations and the Azzurri play their second match under new boss Roberto Mancini.
These fixtures are always hard to judge as France boss Didier Deschamps could opt to tinker with his line-up ahead of the tournament in Russia, while Italy have no such concerns. However, France have a much stronger squad and I’m expecting them to secure the win even if Deschamps decides to experiment.
A lack of goals was a major problem for Italy in their disastrous World Cup qualification campaign and they may struggle to make a breakthrough tonight, so a France win to nil looks a solid option.