Djokovic or Nadal for the French Open title?

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Despite winning seven of the last eight French Open championships, Rafael Nadal is not currently favourite to lift the Roland Garros trophy in 2013. That honour falls to Novak Djokovic – but can the Serbian really overcome the King of Clay on his favourite surface?

Last year’s four-set finalists are the outstanding favourites in the French Open betting at Pinnacle Sports, with Djokovic at a marginally better 2.150* to Nadal’s 2.430* (at the time of writing). The odds are undoubtedly based on the fact Nadal is coming back from six months on sidelines with a knee injury while Djokovic retained the Australian Open for a third year in January, cementing his position as World No.1. The crucial question is whether Nole can also become no.1 on clay?

 

French Open betting: Nadal vs Djokovic on clay

 

Over the last decade there has only been one King of Clay – and that’s Rafael Nadal. His winning percentage on clay over the past year is consistent with his career percentage: an amazing 92.9%. That’s 261 wins and just 20 defeats, with an impressive 37 titles to his name.

 

Djokovic, on the other hand, isn’t even in second place for active players. That honour falls to Roger Federer (ODDS), who currently holds a win percentage of 88.2% for the past year, and 77.1% over his career. The Swiss star has 10 clay court titles and a 178-53 record.

 

Over the past year Djokovic has lost one in five of his clay court matches, with a win percentage of 81% in the last year and 76.8% over his career. That run includes seven titles and 116 wins, vs 35 defeats.

 

Nadal’s early clay preparation

 

Aiding Nadal’s chances are his clear focus on an eighth French Open trophy. The Spaniard played his first two tournaments of 2013 on clay after returning from a seven-month tendon injury in February.

 

The two tournaments have already provided the World No. 5 with eight singles matches and six doubles outings on the surface this season, while Djokovic has played just once – a Davis Cup tie against 127-ranked Olivier Rochus.

 

However, the calibre of opposition at the Vina del Mar (the Spaniard finished runner-up to Horacio Zeballos) and in Sao Paulo (where he easily triumphed over David Nalbandian 6-2, 6-3 in the final) were much lower than he should expect to face in France, and over a shorter format.

 

And even though Nadal had just returned from a long injury, losing 7-6, 6-7, 4-6 to the 73-ranked Horacio Zeballos was a shock to the Spaniard’s fans. Coupled with a defeat to Lukas Rosol (no. 100) in Wimbledon last year, and a defeat to Philipp Kohlschreiber (no. 34) in Germany two weeks before that, there’s evidence that Nadal isn’t as ruthless at closing out the worse players than he has been.

 

The opposite is true for Djokovic – the last time the Serbian lost to someone outside the top 40 was way back in June 2010, when he succumbed to a 3-6, 6-4, 2-6 defeat to Xavier Malisse.

 

Therefore while Nadal is a clay court master, his ability to win consistently is less defined than Djokovic’s, and that could be transferring over to his favourite surface. Nadal will also be facing a tougher draw, as he may not even enter the tournament as one of the top four seeds (currently ranked fifth).

 

Rafael’s external bonus

 

It’s also important to remember that the French Open is one of the increasingly rare opportunities for players to be exposed to the elements.

 

Nadal holds the highest win percentage for active players playing outdoors (85%), although Federer actually pips him to the best results over the last 12 months (87.9% to 87.8%). Djokovic himself is not far behind either of them, with a win percentage of 86.4%.

 

Djokovic or Nadal for French Open betting?

 

There’s no doubt that these two players are the outstanding candidates to lift the French Open trophy, but will Nadal’s pedigree overcome Djokovic’s form?

 

While the Serbian has never won the French Open, he’s had numerous successes on clay – including wins over Nadal in Madrid and Rome in 2011. It’s important to note that Nadal got revenge in 2012, beating Djokovic in the final of Rome and Monte Carlo.

 

In truth, the real question for French Open betting is probably over Nadal, rather than the ever-consistent Djokovic. After a career besieged by injuries, is Nadal’s scrambling style finally taking its toll on his body? With the psychological impact of losing to lesser players, as well as the nagging doubt over what is a recurring injury, can Nadal still reach peak intensity at the highest level?

 

Click here to see the latest French Open odds.

 

(Source: Pinnacle)

 

Bet HERE

 

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