We can start with the surface-level analysis, as Kraijonovic holds a 3-1 match lead against the American, including a straight sets win last year in Rome. "Big Foe" started his clay court swing off with a nice showing in Houston, but has looked shaky of late, going 2-3 in his last five tilts, and dropping a set to a player ranked well outside the top 50 in Daniel Altmaier in the process. That's not to say Krajinovic has performed well at the Tour level himself, but the Serbian comes into this first-round match with an 11-8 record at Roland Garros, compared to the paltry 3-8 mark notched by his opponent. It's also worth noting that we've seen Tiafoe wear down during longer matches in the past, and Krajinovic should be ready to go five sets if needed.
I may not have done myself any favors in picking two top-20 players to be upset in the first round of a Major, but between injuries and poor play, I simply can't justify letting "FAA" slide as a big favorite here. The Canadian dealt with a knee injury to begin his clay court swing, which subsequently led to losses against two players outside the top 50 in Dusan Lajovic and Alexei Popyrin. It's also worth noting that Auger-Aliassime has not played since having to withdraw from the second round in Lyon due to a knee injury. It's difficult to trust Fognini nowadays, but the Italian has always performed well at The French, notching an impressive career record of 27-15. Fognini fought hard to make it to the third round in Rome and should be able to take advantage of an out-of-form opponent if he remains focused.
Lock it in
We can talk at length about how Wawrinka isn't the same player he used to be, but a 7-0 match record against Ramos-Vinolas (including five wins on clay) should be a nice starting point for our selection. It must be noted that the two haven't met since 2016, but I see nothing in the game of Ramos-Vinolas that would make this more difficult since then, as he should still be at the mercy of the Swiss player's powerful ground strokes. Wawrinka has been more active at the Tour level during the clay court swing, notching solid victories against the likes of Maxime Cressy, Ilya Ivashkaand Tallon Griekspoor. Meanwhile, the Spanish player has won just six of his 24 ATP Tour matches this season.
As a big fan of Monfils, it pains me to say that this line could probably stand to be a bit wider. It looked as though the Frenchman was going to claw his way back after a dismal start to the 2022 season, but injuries and ineffectiveness have seen him fall off a cliff this year, winning just one of six sets at the Tour level and ballooning to No. 386 in the ATP rankings. Baez is a tricky customer on clay, which may have made this an interesting match in Monfils' heyday, but there's just no way I can see him winning a five-set match in his current condition. Thus, Baez can safely be used as a parlay piece, with the only worry being whether his opponent will actually finish the match.
Lack of match play at the highest level may cause some to bristle at Tauson here, but the Dane has been absolutely flying on the ITF circuits, contributing to a combined 23-9 record, including a 6-1 mark at the WTA level. Sasnovich got the better of Tauson when the two met on a hard court in January, but Sasnovich has compiled just a 6-8 record at the Tour level this season. One of my favorite aspects of this play is Sasnovich's service hold percentage on clay, which stands at just 60 percent. This should allow Tauson to jump out ahead of her opponent and pour on the pressure in return games.
Schwartzman was never a prolific holder of serve, and as his movement has begun to abandon him, he's simply unable to keep up with players who can do both. This has contributed to a 5-14 record on Tour this season. The Argentine has lost his last five matches on clay, while Miralles has compiled a 15-9 record on the soft stuff this year. At this point, I fail to see why we should have any confidence that Schwartzman can beat a competent player on clay, particularly one that has shown himself to be as tough to put away as Miralles.