On Friday, world No. 23 Cori “Coco” Gauff will face world No. 46 Kaia Kanepi for a spot in the round of 16 at Roland Garros. The American has already matched her career-best performance in this tournament, as she also made it to the third round of this event back in 2020. Now, the 18-year-old will look to inch forward in a match-up that should be a fun watch. Kanepi might not be seeded in this tournament, but she is no stranger to big upsets at majors. In fact, she eliminated world No. 10 Garbine Muguruza, the 2016 French Open champion, just a few days ago.

Gauff has put together a solid run of results at some of the bigger clay-court events of the 2022 season, winning two matches in both Madrid and Rome (where she was ultimately defeated by world No. 19 Simona Halep and world No. 3 Maria Sakkari, respectively). And she comes in as the favorite to win this match, with DraftKings having her listed at -220,


The problem for Gauff that Kanepi can really hit the cover off the ball from both sides of the court, which means she could be on the defensive from the start. That doesn’t exactly mean that Gauff can’t win this match, but Kanepi’s combination of size, athleticism and power does make it hard to believe that this will be a lopsided affair. And considering the spread has Gauff laying 4.5 games, that’s exactly what it would need to be for the American to cover.

This is actually the second meeting between these two players, as they clashed in Parma last May. Gauff emerged with a 7-6 (6), 7-6 (7) win in that match, and it was a back-and-forth slugfest that lasted two hours and 20 minutes. Considering how tight that match-up was, it’s hard not to see Kanepi as a serious value play in this one. She was a few points away from winning that last match outright, and she will definitely feel like she has a shot at coming away with the victory here. With that, it’s not a horrible idea to sprinkle a little on Kanepi at +175, but the best play here is Kanepi +4.5. If one of these sets goes to a tiebreaker, you’d be sitting pretty regardless of who advances.

The Pick: Kanepi +4.5 Games (-140)