In an first-round French Open match that might not be on the radar of too many fans, world No. 334 Taylor Townsend will take on world No. 73 Caroline Garcia. But it's actually the American who is favored rather significantly—which makes this look like something of a trap from the oddsmakers. However, avoid considering their rankings, and doing so will allow you to see that Townsend is rightfully favored.

Townsend is a healthy 9-2 in clay-court matches in 2022, and she was given a wild-card into Roland Garros. Those 11 matches are 11 more than Garcia has played on the dirt in 2022; the Frenchwoman hasn’t played on clay since July 2021. It should be noted that all of Townsend’s matches were in low-level tournaments, but it’s still better than nothing. The American’s conditioning appears to be solid right now, and she has been battle-tested on clay. With that, she’ll be rather comfortable with all of the bounces she’ll experience in this match, whereas Garcia is going to be really rusty.


Garcia also hasn’t played in quite some time, in general. She retired with a foot injury after losing the first set in a match against world No. 67 Anna Bondar at the Miami Open back in March, and we haven’t seen her since. With that, there won’t just be clay-court rust, but all-court rust. That ultimately is what makes it so hard to envision Garcia winning this match, even with a wild French crowd doing everything it can to try and pump her up.

Townsend is also just in a great place at the moment, as she is back from maternity leave and laser-focused since hiring John Williams as her new coach. With her firing on all cylinders, it’s just tough not backing her against Garcia, who is a complete unknown right now. There’s no guarantee Garcia’s foot will even hold up after her having taken two months off. That’s another reason we expect Townsend and her serve-and-volley style to come through in a big spot here. Don’t let the juiced odds scare you away, as this is something of a safe pick.

The Pick: Townsend To Win (-180)