This is going to be the first meeting between these two players.

Getting the chance to see world No. 51 Fabio Fognini play on clay can be a real treat, and the Italian will take on world No. 29 Botic Van De Zandschulp in the second round of the French Open on Wednesday. This should be an intriguing battle between an aging clay-court specialist and emerging all-around talent. With that said, we think this one can be somewhat straightforward, so you’ll want to keep reading and make your wager accordingly.

While Fognini is definitely more known than Van De Zandschulp for his ability to win on clay, it’s the Dutchman that has actually put together the more productive season on dirt. In 2022, Van De Zandschulp is 9-5 in his 14 clay-court matches. The 26-year-old has also earned impressive victories over players like world No. 8 Casper Ruud, world No. 31 Miomir Kecmanovic, world No. 18 Pablo Carreno Busta and world No. 30 Sebastian Korda. Meanwhile, Fognini is 10-7 in his 17 clay-court matches, but he is just 2-4 in his last six.


The reality right now is that Fognini’s best tennis is likely behind him. The 35-year-old has dealt with a plethora of ankle surgeries that haven't helped his cause, and now requires a lot more time to track down balls and load up for his powerful groundstrokes. That takes away one of the few advantages he would have had over a player like Van De Zandschulp, who doesn’t have too many holes in his game.

Van De Zandschulp is a tough match-up for Fognini, in general. For a player that seemingly has a reputation as a big man, he is deceptively mobile and can run down a lot of balls. He also has a really impressive forehand, and he has some underrated touch as well. With that in mind, Fognini isn’t going to have much of an edge from the baseline in this match, even if that is probably the public perception going in. Also, Van De Zandschulp has a big serve, so he shouldn’t have much trouble avoiding break point opportunities. We’ve also seen him shake off some nervous moments in big matches, which is another good sign when backing somebody in a major. Van De Zandschulp won't shrink if things start going south.

Overall, Van De Zandschulp’s run to the US Open quarterfinals last year is no longer looking like a fluke, and this is a player that could crack the Top 15 at some point in the near future. And while his opponent might carry the bigger name—albeit shorter from a alphabetical standpoint—heading into this match, the Dutchman is a superior player. He should be able to win this match, and it’d be surprising if this was a lengthy outing.

The Pick: Van De Zandschulp To Win (-160)