Tuesday, 18 June 2013
Elena Baltacha is in a rich vein of form having won an ITF event in Nottingham last week without dropping a set and reaching the second round in Eastbourne after a straight sets win over Kristyna Pliskova. However, her progress this week is likely to be halted by the newest member to the WTA's top ten - Maria Kirilenko.
The Russian has really been getting the best out of her game over the past year or so and it's no surprise that she eventually broke in to the top ten. It's going to be difficult for Baltacha to break Kirilenko down, certainly not without having to take greater risks herself that will likely result in more errors on her part. This will be the first time the pair have met on grass with Kirilenko having beaten Baltacha on clay last year and on hard court as far back as 2004. Both times she won without the loss of a set and the Overrule will back her to do just that tomorrow.
Three points on Kirilenko to win in straight sets at 8/11.
3* Maria Kirilenko beat Elena Baltacha 2-0 at 8/11 (Bet 365)
Sunday, 16 June 2013
The best field of the week is clearly on show at WTA Eastbourne where a host of former champions, Grand Slam winners/finalists and former number one's take their place in the draw. Two years ago Petra Kvitova reached the final of Eastbourne and went on to win Wimbledon two weeks later. The Overrule will be hoping Kvitova can go one better than 2011 in Eastbourne this year and continue that form into Wimbledon where we have already backed her each-way at 14/1.
Kvitova's first real test could come in the form of Maria Kirilenko - who beat Kvitova at the 2012 Olympics on grass at Wimbledon - in the last eight before a potential meeting with Li Na in the last four. Agnieszka Radwanska heads the betting at the top of the draw and could face a Wimbledon semi-final rematch with Angelique Kerber in the last four this coming week. Kerber reached the final of Eastbourne in 2012 and had multiple match points against eventual champion Tamira Paszek.
This should be a really good event to watch as the week progresses and Kvitova is a decent price to win a first title at this tournament and head on to Wimbledon in good spirits.
The Overrule will back Kvitova with two points at 11/2 to win outright.
2* Petra Kvitova win Eastbourne at 11/2 (Bet 365)
The Overrule backed Milos Raonic outright each-way for Wimbledon (100/1) before his campaign in Halle began and the Canadian got promptly beaten down by Gael Monfils in his opening round match. That result pushed Raonic's price out for Wimbledon and he requested a wildcard to play in Eastbourne and gain some much needed on-court time before proceedings get underway at SW19.
Raonic takes his place at the top of the draw and this has the makings of a week where he should be able to justify favoritism at 5/2. The Canadian won as a pre-event favorite this year in San Jose and we may as well throw our each-way selection on him for Wimbledon out of the window if he can't reach at least the last four in Eastbourne.
The Overrule will place two points on Raonic outright at 5/2.
2* Milos Raonic win Eastbourne at 5/2 (Bet 365)
The Overrule backed Kristina Mladenovic last week in Birmingham and we are inclined to do so again this week in Holland. Not least because Mladenovic has been highlighted by Pippa Middleton as a player to look out for. That's a joke. We don't really care what Pippa thinks about tennis but The Overrule does recommend following @Pippatips on Twitter - it's hilarious.
I was tempted to back both Mladenovic and Tsvetana Pironkova who she plays in the first round and who we also backed last week. The draw looks negotiable for whoever comes through their first round match but The Overrule has decided to stick solely with Mladenovic.
Daniela Hantuchova will have her backers given she comes into the event off the back of picking up the title in Birmingham and there is definitely scope to believe this draw can produce another double digit priced winner as was the case with Hantuchova in Birmingham.
The Overrule will back Mladenovic with half a point each-way. Which means 0.5 points on her winning the event at 16/1 and 0.5 points on her reaching the final at 8/1.
0.5* Kristina Mladenovic win s-Hertogenbosch (each-way) at 16/1 (Coral) (each-way terms 1/2 odds 1-2 places)
You know the drill.
The Overrule didn't get any kind of run for our money due to Kevin Anderson's withdrawal from Queen's before his second round match. Most bookmakers have an "all in, compete or not" rule where it concerns outrights although there are a few exceptions. Over the course of a season it's inevitable that luck may go against us once or twice in instances such as this and that's what happened here.
On the women's side Tsvetana Pironkova lost in two tight sets to Sorana Cirstea in the second round while Kristina Mladenovic lost in the third round to eventual champion Daniela Hantuchova (16/1). Mladenovic served for the match in the second set against the Slovak but couldn't close the deal.
In the Nurnberg final Simona Halep made a mockery of the excessive market move on her price - based almost entirely on an ankle injury she had picked up in the second set of her semi-final with Lucie Safarova - by comfortably beating home favorite Andrea Petkovic to claim the first title of her career. The Romanian was outstanding under pressure saving all eight break points she faced in the match with consummate ease.
Weekly performance - Stake: 6.00 Profit/Loss: +1.50 ROI: 25.00%
Season performance - Stake: 171.50 Profit/Loss: +53.86 ROI: 31.41%
Saturday, 15 June 2013
Jelena Jankovic and Simona Halep were priced up as favorites to meet in the clay court final in Nurnberg at the start of the week but Andrea Petkovic tore up half of that script with a very impressive performance against Jankovic in the last four. Petkovic came in to that match off the back of a very demanding three set win over the promising Annika Beck and produced her best display of the week in ousting the number one seed in straight sets.
Simona Halep was originally priced up as a 4/5 favorite to beat Petkovic but her price has drifted massively to 6/4. Why? Halep rolled her ankle in the second set against Lucie Safarova but regrouped to win in the third set 6-2. The market move is far too big an overreaction and we are protected against a retirement since The Overrule only advises match betting selections with retirement void books.
There is the possibility of Halep's ankle roll swelling up overnight causing her to withdraw from the final beforehand. However, if that proves not to be the case, judging by how she looked in the third set against Safarova she would be overpriced at 6/4 if she can play to the same level. Without any fear of injury Halep would have been a shorter favorite than an original 4/5 and the market move has swung too far the other way. Fortunately for us the best price available is with a void book so we'll be more than happy to place three points on a Halep victory and her maiden WTA title.
3* Simona Halep beat Andrea Petkovic at 6/4 (Bet 365)
Monday, 10 June 2013
With the grass court season so short there is little time to waste making early moves particularly as two of the three players The Overrule is about to identify are in action this week. Over the past three years only one woman has been able to beat Petra Kvitova at Wimbledon and she just happens to be the greatest women's player of all-time - Serena Williams.
Williams is odds-on to defend the crown she won last year and it's almost impossible to make a case against her at Wimbledon other than to look for value elsewhere in the each-way market. Kvitova lost to Williams in the last eight last year and the last four in 2010.
In 2011 she was unstoppable on her way to her maiden Grand Slam title and the evidence of why is exhibited in this wonderfully edited video that is a must watch for any tennis fan.
At 14/1 Kvitova is worthy value as an each-way selection. Even when not playing at her best she will still be a very difficult proposition for anyone other than Williams and if the draw works out where she might avoid Williams until the final it's hard to see her being priced as highly as she currently is.
The Overrule will back Kvitova with one point each-way.
1* Petra Kvitova win Wimbledon (each-way) at 14/1 (Boylesports) (each-way terms 1/2 odds 1-2 places)
Tomas Berdych faced an early exit at the French Open and will hope for a kinder early round draw than he received in Paris at Wimbledon. Berdych is a former Wimbledon finalist and with various concerns surrounding Novak Djokovic (one title in his last six tournaments - below expectations given his lofty standards), Andy Murray (injury) and Roger Federer (father-time) there might be an opportunity for Berdych to have a similar run to the one which saw him defeat Federer and Djokovic on his way to the 2010 final.
50/1 is big on a player who has the capabilities Berdych has and he has the experience and confidence of knowing he's done well at Wimbledon before to not be overawed by the prospect of doing so again. The Overrule will back Berdych with half a point each-way.
0.5* Tomas Berdych win Wimbledon (each-way) at 50/1 (Boylesports) (each-way terms 1/2 odds 1-2 places)
Milos Raonic has never been beyond the second round in his two visits to SW19 but that will surely change sooner rather than later. The Canadian has a massive serve but that can often be offset by a pretty limited return game. However, Raonic has taken at least a few baby steps in his return game since this time last year, although you might need a magnifying glass to spot them at times.
At 100/1 he's one of the outsiders that should at least have his sights set on reaching the second week. And if the draw opened up or he was able to put together a first really big win at Grand Slam level against an elite opponent then we'd have plenty of room to adjust our positions. As with Berdych, The Overrule will back Raonic with half a point each-way.
0.5* Milos Raonic win Wimbledon (each-way) at 100/1 (Boylesports) (each-way terms 1/2 odds 1-2 places)
This is some field in Birmingham for the first WTA grass court event of the season. Not in that it is star studded but in that it was quite a challenge to tissue price and there were inevitably going to be discrepancies involved across all of the books. That proved to be the case and there has been plenty of odds slashing since the prices came out on Sunday afternoon.
It's not often that a favorite for a WTA event is priced as high as 8/1 (which you can find to back Sabine Lisicki) but that's what we have in Birmingham which further illustrates how open this event could prove to be. The opportunity for some big prices to have deep runs in Birmingham is vast and with plenty of rain expected over the week the schedule could be thrown into some chaos.
The Overrule likes Tsvetana Pironkova 50/1 and Kristina Mladenovic 20/1 who are in opposite halves of the draw. Pironkova masquerades as a tennis player for most of the year and it's during the grass court season where she really exhibits her qualities. Her record this year is not worth touching on, that was non-grass, and she's massively overpriced at 50/1.
Mladenovic doesn't have much main tour level grass court experience to speak of but she has a game that could and should be productive on it. Her serve is very smooth and damaging when on and at only 20 years of age she will develop consistency in time - she will hope.
The Overrule will back both players with half a point each-way and if one or both can reach the last four we will be well set to reassess our positions.
0.5* Tsvetana Pironkova win Birmingham (each-way) at 50/1 (Coral) (each-way terms 1/2 odds 1-2 places)
0.5* Kristina Mladenovic win Birmingham (each-way) at 20/1 (Paddy Power) (each-way terms 1/2 odds 1-2 places)
The grass court season has arrived - don't tell WTA Nurnberg they are still playing on clay - and it's that time of year where the British press inundate us with "can/will Andy Murray win Wimbledon?". The answer is he can. Whether he will we'll find out in a month. Before then we have action at Queen's where Murray is to return from injury and is priced up as the pre-tournament favorite at 2/1.
The Overrule likes the look of Kevin Anderson 33/1 positioned in the second quarter of the draw with a possible last eight meeting with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and a semi-final clash with Murray on the horizon. The South African reached the last eight last year but doesn't have the greatest history on grass which might come as a surprise with a good serve.
Anderson is over priced due to being drawn in Murray's half with the Scot far too short considering we haven't had a chance to see him play since the lay off. The Overrule will back Anderson with half a point each-way which means half a point on Anderson to win the tournament at 33/1 with another half point on half of those odds to reach the final. If Anderson can reach the last four we'll have scope to further assess our position later in the week.
0.5* Kevin Anderson win Queen's (each-way) at 33/1 (Betfred) (each-way terms 1/2 odds 1-2 places)
Sunday, 9 June 2013
Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams both made good on their pre-tournament favoritism by leaving Paris with the biggest smiles on their faces. In fact it was two outright selections advised on The Overrule that caused them to sweat most. Novak Djokovic was our only men's outright selection at 5/2 and it took 9-7 in a deciding set for the now eight time French Open champion to see him off.
On the women's side it was Svetlana Kuznetsova - who The Overrule advised at 150/1 each-way back in January - who gave Williams her biggest test. The Russian was one point away from a double break lead in the third set but Williams was able to reverse her fortunes by winning six of the last seven games. The Overrule's other women's outright selections - Nadia Petrova (500/1), Sam Stosur (20/1) and Li Na (14/1) - all fell far earlier than we would have hoped with none of them going beyond the third round.
French Open performance - Stake: 45.50 Profit/Loss: +1.95 ROI: 4.29%
Season performance - Stake: 165.50 Profit/Loss: +52.36 ROI: 31.64%
Thursday, 6 June 2013
Eleven years have passed since Serena Williams first won the French Open but that extended wait for a second title now appears just a couple of days away. Entering the tournament at EVS to leave with the trophy, Williams has obliterated all before her apart from one significant test against Svetlana Kuznetsova in the last eight. The Russian was one point away from a double break in the deciding set but eventually that challenge was overcome.
Another Russian awaits Williams in the final in the form of defending champion Maria Sharapova and there is little to suggest the form book can or will be reversed. Sharapova hasn't beaten Williams since 2004 and despite a spirited effort for a set and a half in Miami this year she has been put to the sword with relative ease.
Seven of their past eight meetings have ended in straight sets and it's hard to see how that number doesn't become eight of the past nine after Saturday. Their meetings on clay in Madrid this year and last saw Williams cover the -5.5 game handicap she is tasked with on Saturday and with her game firing on all cylinders she is odds-on in The Overrule's estimation to do so again.
The Overrule recommends a max selection of five points on a straight sets win and three points on the handicap. Both prices will surely be gone by Saturday lunchtime.
5* Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova 2-0 at 4/7 (Paddy Power)
3* Serena Williams (-5.5 games) beat Maria Sharapova at 11/10 (Paddy Power)
Saturday, 1 June 2013
Another quick write-up for Sunday's action with three selections The Overrule likes in the fourth round. This is likely to be the last daily selections article from The Overrule for the French Open as I'll more than likely be without net access for the second week due to moving. The Overrule will return to round up how our French Open selections went in the Weekly Overview after the tournament is complete.
3* David Ferrer beat Kevin Anderson 3-0 at 4/5 (Bet Victor)
3* Agnieszka Radwanska beat Ana Ivanovic at 4/5 (Stan James)
3* Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Angelique Kerber at 6/5 (Stan James)
Pressed for time hence the short write-up but The Overrule likes the look of three matches on the women's side for Saturday all of which have the potential for in-play trade material. Each selection for a two point stake.
2* Marion Bartoli beat Francesca Schiavone at 7/5 (Boylesports)
2* Paula Ormaechea beat Bethanie Mattek-Sands at 85/40 (Boylesports)
2* Jamie Hampton beat Petra Kvitova at 2/1 (Boylesports)
Thursday, 30 May 2013
After a few days of play affected by the rain, forecasts suggest we might have seen the back of interruptions for the remainder of this year's French Open. The last match on Chatrier for Friday's order of play pits former French Open champion and world number one Ana Ivanovic against Virginie Razzano. You'll have heard Razzano's name mentioned around a million times in the past week because she was the last player to beat Serena Williams on clay at last year's French Open.
The Overrule doesn't expect her to beat Ivanovic but she can cover the +6.5 handicap and we're quite happy to take that at evens for a three point stake.
3* Virginie Razzano +6.5 beat Ana Ivanovic at EVS (Ladbrokes)
Monday, 27 May 2013
Rain is expected to keep us waiting on day three of the French Open but hopefully there will at least be enough play to see our selection for Tuesday's action come to completion and fruition. Marion Bartoli has had a very difficult season and is currently on a 2-6 run in which one of those wins came by virtue of an Elena Vesnina retirement. However, despite her obvious struggles Bartoli now represents a good opportunity for The Overrule at 1/2 as opposed to her original starting price of 3/10.
Clay isn't a surface best suited for Bartoli but she did make a somewhat improbable run to the semi-finals at Roland Garros in 2011. Bartoli's coaching situation has been discussed far more this season than her actual performances and results and latest reports suggest she is now back working with her father.
Bartoli's first round opponent - Olga Govortsova - is in no great form herself, in fact she hasn't won consecutive matches at a tournament all season. Bartoli beat Govortova during her run to the last four in 2011 and first up on Chatrier gives her a chance to gain a much needed win and confidence boost on centre stage.
Incidentally Govortsova has never lost in the opening round at Roland Garros in five visits but The Overrule believes that run will end tomorrow and we like the price enough to place three points on Bartoli to come through.
3* Marion Bartoli to beat Olga Govortsova at 1/2 (Bet Victor)
Sunday, 26 May 2013
Earlier in the season we benefited from an overreaction in pricing when Mona Barthel was made too short a favorite against Caroline Wozniacki and a similar but not as significant movement has occurred again in a match involving the former world number one. Most books had the marquee match-up of the women's first round between Laura Robson and Wozniacki at 5/6 or 10/11 a piece when prices were released but money came in on Robson.
That push has now eased Wozniacki out to 11/10 where The Overrule believes the Dane is overpriced. The original price was a fair reflection and I was inclined to believe Robson may sneak out the victory but the easing out of Wozniacki's price now offers us some value. Robson has a good track record of raising her game against high profile opponents but there is little justification for her to represent any value at 4/6.
Robson freely admits clay isn't best suited for her game and although she has a couple of notable scalps this season on the surface it's important to put those wins into context. After a 3 match losing streak on clay to Eugenie Bouchard, Lourdes Dominguez Lino and Ayumi Morita, Robson defeated an ailing Agnieszka Radwanska and pushed Ana Ivanovic to a deciding set tie-break in Madrid in the last sixteen. In fact Robson served for the match against the Serbian but failed to close it out. Robson also defeated Venus Williams in Rome but it's worth remembering that while sister Serena is playing as well as ever at the top of the women's game, Venus's best days are well and truly behind her and defeats of that nature are not unexpected.
While Robson has at least put some wins on the board in the build up to Roland Garros, Wozniacki's form is atrocious. She has lost 5 matches in a row on clay and confidence is understandably lacking as well as what looks to be a change in coaching set-up. That being said Wozniacki hasn't lost in the first round of the French Open since her debut in 2007 but history alone clearly won't be all she needs on her side tomorrow.
It's certainly hard to place much faith in Wozniacki producing a solid display tomorrow on current form but the price dictates that it's worth the shot despite her recent woes. At the very least the price offers the likelihood of in-play trade material.
The Overrule will back Wozniacki to win with a three point selection.
3* Caroline Wozniacki to beat Laura Robson at 11/10 (Paddy Power)
Saturday, 25 May 2013
Play begins at the French Open on Sunday and The Overrule has one match betting selection for Sunday's play. Before we get to that it's worth reminding what The Overrule's policy is where it concerns void books and for you to make your own choice on the issue where it concerns your personal wagers.
Caroline Garcia's price has drifted since the opening line was released and she has now reached a price where The Overrule believes we'll be on the right side of the number. Opening at 4/6 against Yuliya Beygelzimer, Garcia has now been pushed out to 4/5. Beygelzimer has 10 years on Garcia - who Andy Murray once dubbed a future number one - but the home favorite certainly possesses more natural talent.
Garcia won an ITF in her build-up to Roland Garros and had match points against Jelena Jankovic in Charleston back in April. Beygelzimer has some matches under her belt having come through qualifying and the winner will likely have the unenviable task of facing Serena Williams in the second round.
The Overrule will be placing three points on Garcia to win.
3* Caroline Garcia to beat Yuliya Beygelzimer at 4/5 (Boylesports)
The Overrule will have a further look at first round action on Sunday for Monday's play.
Friday, 24 May 2013
Serena Williams (EVS) has unsurprisingly been cut to win her first French Open title since her lone success in Paris in 2002. The reason being a bottom-heavy draw in which a number of possible stumbling blocks for Williams have been avoided in her path towards the final.
Maria Sharapova (defending champion), Victoria Azarenka (2009 & 2011 quarter-finalist), Li Na (2011 champion), Sam Stosur (2010 finalist) and Petra Kvitova (2012 semi-finalist) are the bigger names in a loaded bottom half. Not to mention the likes of Jelena Jankovic, Maria Kirilenko and Dominika Cibulkova who will believe they can make the second week at Roland Garros. Jankovic has reached the last four in Paris on three occasions while Cibulkova also did the same in 2009.
The Overrule has previously backed Svetlana Kuznetsova (150/1) and Sam Stosur (20/1) for this year's French Open. Kuznetsova (125/1) was as short as 66/1 over recent weeks but has seen her price pushed back out after failing to make much impact during the European clay court season. Stosur's price has been eased out to 28/1 having been drawn in the more difficult bottom half.
On paper it's certainly hard to want to oppose Williams with a 33-1 record on clay dating back to last season. Her only loss in that time was in the first round of last year's French Open against Virginie Razzano in a bizarre and drama filled battle. If you felt Williams was a sure thing before the draw, your view will only have been cemented further given how the draw has played out.
Kuznetsova or Angelique Kerber (100/1) look like being the players most capable of giving Williams a stiff test before the final should one of them reach the last eight and be playing at the high levels they have been capable of in the past. Kuznetsova is a former French Open champion (2009) and although her best days are clearly behind her, she still has the ability to beat most players on her day.
The second quarter of the draw appears to be where some value can be extracted according to The Overrule. Agnieszka Radwanska (90/1) enters Roland Garros off the back of injury concerns over her shoulder and no form or confidence at all. How healthy she is will play a large role in determining how serious a challenge she can mount in Paris. If she is in good enough shape to play at her normal level her price is very appealing in the each-way market.
Ana Ivanovic (80/1) - a former French Open winner in 2008 - will have her backers given the second quarter of the draw is there for the taking. Sara Errani (25/1) has been consistent all year on all surfaces and will have her sights set on at least a place in the last four having reached the final last year.
It's in Errani's section where Nadia Petrova (500/1) seems massively overpriced to The Overrule. The world number 11 has had an ordinary year to say the least but has the ability to cause some damage if she can get a couple of wins and confidence under her belt. It's been eight years since Petrova made the last four in Paris and she faces the prospect of two very tricky early round encounters with Monica Puig and possibly Madison Keys.
The Overrule backed Li (14/1) each-way at the Australian Open at the start of the year (22/1) and we are quite happy to do so again at the French Open. Li reached the final in Stuttgart a few weeks ago losing to Sharapova and put in a dreadful display in Rome in her last event before Roland Garros. Li has the capability to produce form from nowhere and she has no reason to fear anyone in her quarter.
Azarenka (15/2) is always up against it on clay as the surface doesn't enable her to get the best out of her game but what the two-time Australian Open champion lacks in clay court pedigree she makes up for in will to win and desire. Li defeated Azarenka in the last eight the year she went on to win the title and it's quite possible that quarter-final match-up will occur again in 2013.
Kvitova (40/1) and Stosur (28/1) met in Rome where the Australian prevailed in three sets and could be on a collision course in the fourth round. Both have some potentially awkward encounters to negotiate before that stage, so there is no guarantee a fourth round meeting will become a reality. Sharapova (9/2) had a wonderful run on clay ended by Williams in the Madrid final as she looks to defend the title she won last year to complete the career Grand Slam. A possible fourth round meeting with Cibulkova (250/1) would likely be the Russian's first real test of the tournament.
The Overrule is going to add two each-way selections to the pending two each-way selections we already have running. The Overrule will place a quarter point each-way on Petrova at 500/1 and one point each-way on Li at 14/1. That means 0.25 on Petrova 500/1 to win the tournament and 0.25 on Petrova 250/1 to reach the final. It also means 1 on Li at 14/1 to win the tournament and 1 on Li at 7/1 to reach the final.
0.25* Nadia Petrova win French Open (each-way) at 500/1 (Boylesports) (each-way terms 1/2 odds 1-2 places)
1* Li Na win French Open (each-way) at 14/1 (Boylesports) (each-way terms 1/2 odds 1-2 places)
Below is a breakdown of the returns on the four women we have covered at the French Open on the various permutations.
Not to reach the final: -2
Not to reach the final: -4
Not to reach the final: -1
Not to reach the final: -0.50
The Overrule will be back on Saturday with a further look at first round prices and possible specials. Like The Overrule on Facebook to receive the latest news and articles from The Overrule and/or follow @JayJarrahi on Twitter.
The tennis world has been robbed of the "dream final" between the world number one Novak Djokovic (5/2) and King of Clay Rafael Nadal (8/11) as both were drawn in the top half of the draw. The Overrule deliberated before the draw whether to advise our outright selection for the men's event before the draw was made in the event Djokovic and Nadal were drawn in opposite halves. The decision not to do so has proven beneficial as Djokovic was best price 2/1 before the draw but has now been pushed out to 5/2.
Is Nadal a deserving favorite for his eighth French Open title? Absolutely. Is it hard to see why anyone would be reticent to back against a man who has lost once at Roland Garros in eight years? Certainly. However, the value lies with Djokovic this year at 5/2 as likely the only man who can realistically stop Nadal. Their anticipated semi-final is the de facto final and this year represents the best chance Djokovic has had of finally beating Nadal at Roland Garros where he has lost four times previously to the Spaniard.
Nadal beat Djokovic in last year's rain interrupted four set final in a match that at one point looked likely to end in straight sets and yet could quite easily have ended up going the distance. Djokovic could meet Grigor Dimitrov (100/1) - who beat him in Madrid - in the third round and a possible fourth round encounter with Philipp Kohlschreiber (750/1) who beat the Serbian in the third round back in 2009.
Djokovic's quarter-final opponent could be anyone since the bottom half of the first quarter of the draw is there for the taking for any player able to put some form together at the right time. There is little reason to suggest Janko Tipsarevic (500/1) will make good on his seeding to reach the last eight and so opportunity knocks for a number of players.
Almost any draw on clay for Nadal should be considered routine given the gulf in class between himself and the rest of the tour on the surface and it would be a surprise if he didn't reach the last eight without having dropped a set. Richard Gasquet (200/1) has a negotiable draw and an ailing Stanislas Wawrinka (125/1) in his section which could give the home crowd something to shout about going into the second week of the event.
In the bottom half of the draw many will pencil in Roger Federer (12/1) for an appearance in the final where he may well meet three French challenges in a row from the third round to the quarter-final in the form of Julien Benneteau (1000/1), Gilles Simon (500/1) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (66/1).
David Ferrer (20/1) should reach the last eight and is tempting as an each-way prospect but his record with Federer is so overwhelmingly bad (0-14 with 5 of those meetings on clay) that it will put many off. However, if you're of the belief Federer might fall before the semi-final then Ferrer becomes a great selection at 20/1 with 1/3 of the odds for a place in the each-way market.
Who Ferrer might face in the last eight is harder to call - Tomas Berdych (50/1), Ernests Gulbis (100/1) and Nicolas Almagro (125/1) will all fancy their chances to one extent or another of making it that deep into the tournament. Almagro appealed to The Overrule at such a price in the each-way market but belief in his own ability to beat Ferrer and/or Federer is a major stumbling block for the Spaniard. He's 0-18 combined against the two which includes an 0-11 record on clay. Almagro outplayed Ferrer in Melbourne during this year's Australian Open and still found a way to lose a match he should have won in straight sets. It's hard to believe a similar story wouldn't repeat itself in Paris.
The Overrule will be placing a three point selection on Djokovic to win his first French Open title at 5/2.
3* Novak Djokovic win French Open at 5/2 (Boylesports)