French Open day 5: Watson leads our picks to fly the flag

The conclusion of the second round at Roland Garros will leave many of the fancied players breathing a sigh of relief, while those underdogs still remaining may be dreaming of what’s to come in Paris this week.

The majority of the big names are still there in the French capital, but now we feel one or two upsets could begin to creep in.

However on day five, we are backing two fancied players to do the business in style, while also doffing our cap to a Brit we feel can at least nick a set as underdog.

Heather Watson to win a set against Sloane Stephens @ 4/6

This clay surface may not be Watson’s ideal discipline in the sport, but she is more than capable of taking the American all the way.

She is in fact unbeaten in her four meetings with Stephens, and dispatched of her in straight sets en route to a tournament victory in Hobart in January.

The British number two’s form has been slightly in-and-out of late, but she rarely goes down without a fight.

Just once in the last 12 matches has the Guernsey-born player failed to take a set from her opponents.

Richard Gasquet (-7.5 games) to beat Carlos Berlocq @ 8/11

These two met at the same stage of the competition last year, with the Frenchman taking victory in straight sets.

The margin of victory 12 months ago wouldn’t quite have been enough to cover today’s game handicap, but Gasquet’s victory could be even more clear cut this time.

Berlocq was taken all the way to five sets by qualifier Ilya Marchenko in the first round, as he laboured to victory.

Prior to that he had been in shocking form, winning just two of his nine matches since making home advantage show in Buenos Aries when reaching the last four.

His world number 21 opponent meanwhile is beginning to pick up a head of steam, having won the Estoril Open at the start of the month, and can add another authoritative victory over the Argentine here.

Jack Sock to beat Pablo Carreno-Busta 3-0 @ 15/8

His white-wash of Grigor Dmitrov was as an assured performance as  many will have seen from Jack Sock, and he can continue that explosive play against the Spanish number 61 in the world.

Sock is at home on this clay surface and reached the third round in Paris last year, and when knuckling down some consistency can go on a long run, as demonstrated when he took the Houston Open in April.

Opponent Carreno-Busta is very much an all or nothing player.  His last five defeats have all come in straight sets, something that could be on the cards again in France.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.