Men's French Open Betting: Djokovic and Nadal set for a bruising battle in the sun

7Jun 2013

Roland Garros

The match that most tennis fans and punters have been looking forward to at this year's French Open takes place on Friday when Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic clash in the men's semi-finals. Tennis expert Sean Calvert previews the action and selects the best bets..

The clash that seemed inevitable from the moment the draw was made at the 2013 French Open takes place on Friday, with defending champion Rafa Nadal taking on world number one Novak Djokovic.

This will be the 35th match in a series that Nadal currently leads 19-15 and it's a repeat of last year's championship match here at Roland Garros that Rafa won in four sets.

Nadal leads the series on clay 12-3, but the only one contested this season was a straight sets win for the Serbian in fairly similar conditions to those they'll encounter on Friday in Monte Carlo.

The historical matches aren't hugely relevant to me in such an extensive series and current form, fitness and general condition is more important.

Rafa comes into this having seemingly peaked at the right time with facile wins over Kei Nishikori and Stan Wawrinka, while Djokovic was tested at times by Tommy Haas in an altogether more watchable clash on Wednesday.

The weather is due to be warm and sunny, which will suit Rafa, but it will also suit Djokovic and make for what should be a hugely entertaining encounter that should go at least four sets.

I don't see much value in backing either man from the off and certainly not Rafa at 1.67 against an opponent who crushed him in one of his other back yards in Monte Carlo last time and someone whose game matches up well to his own.

That said, it's roughly the same price that Nadal started at last year in Rome and Monte Carlo when he won in straight sets, so some may see that as a touch of value.

Personally, I'm siding with the overs on this and looking to back Djokovic in the outright tournament winner market at some stage during this match.

The over 40.5 total games looks good in this, as it's difficult to see a straight sets win for either man and that should cover a four setter. It could easily go the full distance and the last time this pair finished in three sets at a Slam was back in 2008.

The other semi-final is equally tough to call, with David Ferrer taking on home favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, but the betting favourite, rightly in my view, is Ferrer at around 1.72.

These two have a far less extensive history to look back on, with three competitive matches played of which Ferrer has won three of them and the only one on clay was back in 2010.

This one will centre on how patient Tsonga is prepared to be in the rallies and he has said that coach Roger Rasheed has had a great effect on that part of his game, but I don't see the Frenchman defeating Ferrer on clay right now.

Tsonga has improved on the dirt, but his win over Roger Federer seemed to me to be a lot about how poor Roger was on the day and he won't get anywhere near as many unforced errors from the Spaniard on Friday.

Ferrer returns better, rallies better, has a more reliable game and his stamina is almost beyond question. Tsonga has a good serve and forehand and a slightly improved backhand, but he'll have to hit more winners than I believe he's capable of doing on this surface to win. It could be long, but I'm taking Ferrer.

Recommended Bets
Back over 40.5 games in Djokovic vs Nadal at 1.85
Back Ferrer to beat Tsonga at 1.72


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Keywords: French Open, Djokovic, Nadal, Ferrer, Tsonga

Source: Betfair

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