French Open Day 3 Predictions Including Rafael Nadal vs Alexei Popyrin

Rafael Nadal Madrid 2021

Day 3 at the French Open sees the king of clay Rafael Nadal start yet another journey in Paris that he hopes will finish with the champion’s trophy. We have predictions for all of the day 3 matches as the first round completes, in four other articles. One features Novak Djokovic vs Tennys Sandgren, another headlines Matteo Berrettini vs Taro Daniel, the third highlights Gael Monfils vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas, and the fourth features Hugo Gaston vs Richard Gasquet.

Rafael Nadal vs Alexei Popyrin

Eric Han: I do not see the 13-time Roland Garros champion being dumped out of the first round in his backyard here in Paris. A good opportunity for Popyrin, but he has arguably the biggest task in tennis in front of him- beating Nadal at the French Open. Nadal in 3

Yesh Ginsburg: Don’t be shocked if Nadal loses a set here. Popyrin is the type of player that has troubled him in the past, especially early in a Major. Don’t expect a real threat to lose the match, though. Nadal in 4

Damian Kust: This match could be somewhat close only if Popyrin’s absolutely redlining and plays the best tennis of his career. While he did improve a lot on clay of late, staying this aggressive against a guy who’s won 100 of his 102 matches here and is likely the best defender in the history of the game, is simply an unbelievably difficult challenge. Nadal in 3

Yasutaka Uchiyama vs Marco Cecchinato

Eric: Cecchinato, a specialist in clay, should be able to get through this match without any problems. The 28-year-old Italian reached the final in a Challenger last week so will be brimming with confidence with how his game is at the moment. Cecchinato in 3

Yesh: Cecchinato has been searching for his once-impressive clay form for a few years now, but he seems to have found it in Parma last week. Cecchinato in 3

Damian: Cecchinato should be coming in with a lot of confidence after finishing runner-up in Parma. The former Roland Garros semifinalist got a fantastic draw with the last direct acceptance, who’s also in terrible form and doesn’t perform well on the dirt. Cecchinato in 3

Elias Ymer vs Roberto Carballes Baena

Eric: Like Cecchinato, Carballes Baena, is a clay-court specialist. It will be a good match against the talented Swede, but the Spaniard should be able to advance without too many problems here. Carballes Baena in 3

Yesh: I love watching Ymer play (both brothers, to be honest). They’re so fun on the tennis court with a pretty unique style. But on clay? It will be tough to stick with the Spaniard. Carballes Baena in 4

Damian: The two have met four times on the Challenger circuit and both scored two wins in various clay-court events. This could be a real slugfest with neither player happy to generate pace. Carballes Baena seems to be in slightly better form. Carballes Baena in 5

Facundo Bagnis vs Benjamin Bonzi

Eric: Bagnis has had consistent results on the red dirt this year. The 31-year-old Argentine reached the final of the Chile Open in March and Oeiras last week. It will be a good result if he is able to get through the next round. Bagnis in 3

Yesh: Benjamin Bonzi is a fun player who has made runs at the French Open before. Bagnis is solid enough that the Frenchman won’t have one this time. Bagnis in 4

Damian: Bonzi has been one of the brightest stars of the 2021 ATP Challenger Tour, while Bagnis is also having a great season, highlighted by a final appearance in Santiago. Besides a title run at Ostrava Challenger, most of Bonzi’s clay-court starts this year were very mediocre though. The lefty Argentinian should have a tiny edge on this surface. Bagnis in 4 

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