Friday, 24 May 2013

French Open - Men


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)

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