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The final Masters 1000 event of the year takes place in Paris, and there is so much to love about this field. I've got two plays which I'm eyeing as the second day gets underway on Tuesday morning.
Dan Evans (-105) vs. Brandon Nakashima (-115)
While head-to-head in tennis can often times be a great predictor of what's to come, it can just as many times lack necessary contest. Take this one between Evans and Nakashima, for example.
The American took out the Brit 7-6, 6-0 in Washington last year, but it was in the midst of one of Evans' worst stretches in the last four years. After losing at Wimbledon after just three rounds, he seemed to be in a dark place. The loss was part of a four-match losing streak, and a stretch which saw him lose 11 of his final 18 contests.
Evans is playing some excellent tennis these days and has been taking care of business against just about everyone aside from the very best in the men's game. While Nakashima caught fire in San Diego and Tokyo, he sprayed the ball and made so many careless errors in his loss against Stan Wawrinka last week as well as his previous two matches.
Evans plays a clean brand of tennis and should be able to extract errors from the wavering Nakashima. I think he takes this one.
Edge: Evans -105
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Arthur Fils (+105) vs. Fabio Fognini (-130)
Here we have a chance to bet on the great hope in French tennis. A country which has seen its dominance in the sport dissipate in recent years is looking to Fils as a potential future star, and thus far he's shown some great flashes.
It's not as if this 18-year-old kid is smoking opponents in the Challenger circuit, but he's had some great results this season (particularly indoors in France). As is the case with any young player, Fils has had some bad losses but has raised his level in big spots. This would count as one of them, and you don't have to look very far to see how he should fare.
Fils played two really solid slow hardcourt players in qualifying in Fabio Fognini and Jaume Munar, dropping just one set en route to qualifying for the Paris Masters. Now, he gets Fognini again, and I think history will repeat itself.
This French crowd is able to lift its home players to great heights, and I think Fils will feed off that energy and show us some of his excellent talent. Fognini is incredibly out of whack at the moment having lost five of his last seven matches and has hardly played since the US Open. Given the fact that his game is already on the decline, this should make for a good spot.
Edge: Fils +105