French Open: Men’s Winner | 27th May – 10th June 2018
TENNIS analyst Mark Stinchcombe take s a look at the men’s French Open outright market, picking out his favourite fancies.
Rafael Nadal is just 1.40 to win his 11th Roland Garros title and it’s difficult to oppose him over best of five sets in Paris, despite his price, particularly with the draw.
Positioned in quarter one, the main contenders in Alexander Zverev (8.0), Dominic Thiem (9.00) and Novak Djokovic (11.0) – the next three in the betting – have all been drawn in the opposite half meaning Nadal cannot face them until the final.
There’s very little to worry him in his quarter and he should cruise to the semi-finals. He’s 17-1 on clay this year (sole defeat to Thiem in Madrid), winning three titles. He’s won 79 of his 81 matches at Roland Garros and over the last 12 months on clay he’s holding serve 89% of the time, and breaking opponents 52% of the time, giving a total of 141%.
When you compare that to Zverev 115% (81% & 34%), Djokovic 114% (79% & 35%) and Thiem 113% (83% & 30%), it gives an idea of the gulf in performances.
Alexander Zverev is the number one ranked player this year but he’s only won two tournaments and has an abysmal slam record, only making it as far as round four once in 14 attempts.
He won Rome last year then proceeded to crash out in round one to Fernando Verdasco. He’s also been drawn in a tough looking quarter four alongside Thiem, Kei Nishikori, Stan Wawrinka and Lucas Pouille.
Novak Djokovic is easing his way back in this year after losing in round four in Australia following elbow surgery. Since then he’s played six tournaments, exiting in round two four times. He made the semis in Rome but still looks a way off his best.
Dominic Thiem doesn’t manage his schedule well and is still playing a tournament including two matches the Friday before the slam – both three-setters. This will be his sixth clay court tournament in the last six weeks and drawn in tough quarter four, there doesn’t look to much value in conquering seven best-of-five set matches in two weeks despite making the semi-finals the last two years.
Juan Martin del Potro looks an interesting proposition in a weak looking quarter two but he suffered a groin strain in Rome resulting in a retirement and unfortunately his body can’t be trusted. Instead Marin Cilic (40/1 each-way) could give us a run for our money from the same quarter.
Seeded number three, he was a quarter-finalist here last year, made the semis of Rome, was a runner-up in the Australian Open in January and posts similar clay hold/break figures to the other contenders (111% – 83% hold, 28% break).
Due to meet Nadal in the semis, Rafa only leads their head-to-head 5-2 suffering defeat via retirement in the fifth set in Australia in their last meeting.
Finally, with Nadal just 1.40 and a soft draw, it could pay to take the 4.50 he wins outright without dropping a set. Three times he’s done it before here including last year despite facing Thiem and Wawrinka along the way.