Tennis specialist Craig Vickers (@craigvickers_) previews the men’s French Open and provides us with his best bets for the second Grand Slam of the year.
- 2019 Profit & Loss: +10.98pts
2019 French Open Betting Preview, Odds & Tips
- Date: 26 May-9 June
- Venue: Stade Roland Garros, Paris, France
- Channel: Eurosport UK
The climax of the clay season is upon us, with 128 men set to do battle over a frantic fortnight in the French capital.
Rafael Nadal, the 11-time champion at Roland Garros, is the bookie’s favourite to win an unprecedented 12th title, although he is closely tracked by 2016 champion Novak Djokovic.
The Serb’s clash with Nadal in the final of the Italian Open last week could prove an interesting omen and he is available to lift only his second French Open title – and hold all four majors at once for the second time in his career – at 11/4.
Dominic Thiem, meanwhile, will be looking to avenge his harrowing final defeat in Paris twelve months ago. The Austrian boasts the power to threaten Nadal and a mouthwatering quarter-final showdown with Juan Martin del Potro is in prospect.
Elsewhere, Roger Federer makes his long-awaited return to the clay courts of Paris and the 20-time Grand Slam champion has appeared promising on clay in his brief cameos in Madrid and Rome.
However, his quarter features Madrid Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas and it’s perhaps the most open section of the draw considering the myriad question marks surrounding the Swiss on the dirt.
Betting Odds (Betfair)
- Rafael Nadal – 10/11
- Novak Djokovic – 13/5
- Dominic Thiem – 15/2
- Stefanos Tsitsipas – 20/1
- Roger Federer – 33/1
- Alexander Zverev – 33/1
- Juan Martin del Potro – 50/1
Federer’s draw, in fairness, does not present too many obstacles early on and a potential third round clash with the Italian Matteo Berrettini, who has never reached the second week of a Grand Slam, will hardly strike fear into the 2009 champion.
However, it was interesting that Federer was forced to withdraw from the Italian Open after the weather dictated he had to play twice in one day. The Swiss cited a leg injury which he sustained in his epic battle with Borna Coric and it could be his 37-year-old body which catches up to him over the fortnight in Paris.
Federer admits his expectations are low heading into next week and it is highly doubtful the Swiss will be too disheartened should he suffer an early exit considering his appearance on the clay this season is geared towards being sharper when the grass season rolls around next month.
Tsitsipas, then, appears well-placed to capitalise, and his run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open this year is evidence of a player playing well beyond his 20 years of age.
Crucially, he has pedigree on clay and his displays at the Madrid Open earlier this month were supreme, culminating in a three-set victory over Nadal in the semi-finals.
He is likely to face Frances Tiafoe, who tends to reserve his best performances for the bigger tournaments, in the third round before a potential meeting with the 11th seed Marin Cilic – who has won only four matches on clay this season.
2015 champion Stan Wawrinka also lurks in the same quarter, but the Swiss number two just can’t seem to fit all the pieces together in his game and, even accounting for his Grand Slam prowess, a deep run at Roland Garros seems a step too far.
The Greek is available to win quarter three at 5/2.
Meanwhile, in quarter two it may be worth opposing last year’s finalist Dominic Thiem and loading our eggs into the basket of Juan Martin del Potro.
The Argentine has only recently returned to action but his quarter-final appearance in Rome last week is cause for optimism, even more so his performance against Djokovic in a spirited defeat.
del Potro held two match points in the second set tie-break, but a couple of wayward forehands prompted a Djokovic comeback and the Argentine could not muster the energy in the deciding set.
Still, it was irrefutable proof that del Potro is back and it could spell trouble for Thiem, who could be forgiven for rueing his fortune when he saw the draw.
del Potro reached the semi-final at Roland Garros last year, bowing out to eventual champion Rafael Nadal in a display where he squandered all seven of his break points.
The Argentine’s biggest obstacle perhaps comes in the shape of the 18-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime. The Canadian boasts tremendous potential, but he showed in his semi-final loss to John Isner at the Miami Open earlier this year – a performance littered with double faults – that there is still anxieties to be overcome on the biggest stages.
Thiem, meanwhile, will not be relishing a potential fourth round clash with Fernando Verdasco, whom he lost to at the Italian Open last week, and as such it’s a worth a stake in del Potro to win the quarter at 5/1.