A week ago it seemed like Rafael Nadal was just going to coast to his 10th French Open title. Having won his first 3 tournaments of the year on clay in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid dropping just 2 sets along the way he went into Rome as the raging odds on favourite to take home the title. But despite coasting through his first two matches he was stunningly upset in the quarter final when Austrian Dominic Thiem defeated him in straight sets to give opponent's some hope now heading into Roland Garros.
Despite that loss though the King of Clay will be mighty hard to beat in Paris coming in off the best form he has shown for some time. His 2017 has been exceptional. After making the final of the Australian Open he backed it up by making the final of Miami where it was once again Roger Federer getting the better of him. Since the Australian Open he has only lost 5 matches, with 3 of those losses coming against Federer and with the Australian Open champion electing to bypass Roland Garros it will only enhance Rafa’s chances.
The current world no.2 and second favourite in the betting Novak Djokovic will need a big form turnaround if he is to find his way back to the top. It is rather startling how sudden and out of the blue his form slump has been this year. Since winning Qatar at the start of the year he has failed to win another title this year and until finishing runner up in Rome this week had not even made it past the Third Round of a tournament.
His consistency at the top is what had made him one of the more dominant world no.1’s in recent years, but now that he has lost that sense of invincibility he has fallen off the pace.
The performance in Rome will give his supporters some hope that he can bounce back, but really that tournament was his for the taking after Nadal was beaten and he demolished Dominic Thiem in the Semi Final, but as has been the story of the year for the Djoker he couldn't put it together when he had to and was defeated in straight sets by the youngster Zverev. At odds of $4.33 with Sportsbet he looks under the odds.
Among the players longer in the market that are worth mentioning the man who defeated Rafael Nadal in Rome last week, Dominic Thiem looks to have the most upside. The 23yo has had a stellar clay court season making the final of both Barcelona and Madrid being defeated by Nadal in both of those. He eventually got the better of Nadal in Rome but was then dismantled by Djokovic in the semi final 1-6, 0-6. He has since come out and conceded that his game is not suited against Djokovic so as long as he can avoid taking on the Serb he should be in for a successful two weeks at Roland Garros.
At odds of $10 in the market with Sportsbet he could be worth a bet so long as the draw is favourable.
Despite being world no.1 it is hard to make a case for Andy Murray heading into the French Open. His form has been poor since Dubai which he followed with a first round exit at Indian Wells. The clay court season has been no better for him either failing to make it past his second match in 3 of 4 tournaments thus far. After being defeated by Coric in Madrid he followed it up with a first match exit at Rome against Fognini. At $14 in the market with Sportsbet it is hard to get excited and their are better clay court performers out there in better form and at bigger odds.
One of those better performers is the young German Alexander Zverev who has been getting better and better the longer the clay court season has gone. After making the final in Munich and the semi finals in Madrid he put it all together in Rome taking out the title after defeating Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 in the final. He beat a list of good quality opponent's along the way as well including Raonic, Fognini and Isner. He has found form at the right time and is a definite smokey for the title at $21 with William Hill.
10 Units - Rafael Nadal @ $1.95 with Sportsbet
2 Units - Dominic Thiem @ $10 with Sportsbet
1 Unit - Alexander Zverev @ $21 with William Hill
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