The 2012 French Open gets underway on Sunday, and king of clay Rafael Nadal is the 4/5 favourite to rule Roland Garros for the seventh time.
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Standing between Nadal and a record seventh title is the world’s number one tennis player Novak Djokovic (2/1) and 16-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer (8/1), who incidentally has never beaten Nadal at his treasured venue.
Nadal enters this year’s French Open on a winning note, following his straight sets victory over Novak Djokovic at the Rome Masters last week. A win for Djokovic at Roland Garros would secure a fourth successive Grand Slam title following his victories at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year and more recently his successful defence of the Australian Open. The 25-year-old Serbian is seemingly up against it though as his best finish to date is a trio of semi-final finishes in 2007, 2008 and 2011. So with Djokovic and Federer seemingly a class below Nadal on clay, can a lesser light rise to the challenge and oust the king from his perch?
One tennis player with the game to test Nadal is Tomas Berdych (50/1). The 26-year-old is currently ranked seventh on the ATP Tour standings and that’s credit to his tremendous results during 2012, which includes a narrow defeat to Roger Federer in the final of the recent Madrid Masters. Berdych has never beaten Nadal on clay but he does boasts three wins over the Spaniard and he wasn’t disgraced in a 6-4 7-5 loss to Nadal in the quarter-finals of the Rome Masters last week. Another player capable of dethroning Nadal is his fellow countryman David Ferrer (33/1). The world ranked number 6 is long overdue a great performance at the French Open and it could happen this time around as he comes into this year’s renewal having won 19 of his 23 matches on clay in 2012.
In comparison, Andy Murray (35/1) has struggled to adapt to clay-court tennis again this season, losing in the quarter-finals of Barcelona to Milos Raonic (100/1) and even more surprisingly to Richard Gasquet (250/1) in the third round of last week’s Rome Masters. The opposite can also be said for Juan Martin Del Potro (20/1), who is widely regarded throughout the circuit as a serious contender for this year’s French Open. The Argentine suffered a shock defeat at the hands Simone Bolelli this week, who is ranked 111th in the world, albeit, the defeat came in an exhibition match which Del Potro wasn’t initially scheduled to play. Whilst that loss probably won’t have much of an effect on Del Potro, his mentality most likely will and for that reason he’s overlooked for this year’s French Open as he has proved in the big games recently that he struggles to contain his emotions under pressure and it’s hard to envisage him upsetting the likes of Federer, Djokovic and Nadal, especially when the pressure is on during the latter stages of the tournament.
French Open Betting Tips
Rafael Nadal 4/5
It’s hardly the most original betting tip but when you consider that Nadal is masterful at Roland Garros then it’s difficult to overlook his odds, which I firmly believe are an absolute steal. The French Open is a power draining experience though? I hear you, but take note that Rafael Nadal is a committed champion, the king of clay court and he knows how to get the job done in the French Open.