Can Rafa Claim his 11th French Open Crown at Roland Garros?
There is one name that is synonymous with success at The French Open at Roland Garros in recent times and that is the Spanish legend Rafael Nadal. Last year’s victory over Stan Wawrinka in the final was Nadal’s record-breaking 10th victory at Roland Garros and there are many who feel that the Spaniard is a certainty to make it victory number 11 this year.
Nadal’s dominance on clay is such that Roger Federer has decided once again to opt out of competing at the French Open. That is partly due to Nadal’s dominance of the sport on clay, and also down to the fact that clay court tennis, with its long baseline rallies and greater physical demands, is reckoned to be the toughest physically of any tennis tournament to win.
With Andy Murray also absent as he battles back from injury, and Novak Djokovic still not showing any signs of reaching the form that made him such a dominant force in tennis a few years ago, Nadal’s stiffest competition is likely to come in the face of some newly emerging players.
Later on in the article we’ll also take a look at the women’s tournament and have a look at which player could be the one to follow Jelena Ostapenko into the history books as the 2018 winner in what looks like being a very open and keenly contested women’s event.
Before we take a closer look at the men’s event, it is worth noting that Coral Sport have a fantastic French Open Coral welcome bonus offer for new customers available where you can place a £1 bet on Rafael Nadal to win as a new customer, for the enhanced odds price of 33/1. Best of all, if Nadal doesn’t win, then you still receive a free £5 bet as a welcome bonus too. You can elect to sign up with this limited time offer, or the standard £5 bet to receive £20 worth of bets offer too.
It’s also worth noting that the company is offering live streams of the action at Roland Garros, which is especially useful for following the action on the outside courts in particular. They are also offering plenty of live In-Play betting on the event, as well as all the usual standard tennis betting markets, including betting on each of the games taking place in both singles and all three doubles events.
Let’s begin our preview by taking a closer look at the men’s event.
French Open – Men’s Draw
With the absence of Federer and Murray, plus the lack of form of Djokovic, Nadal’s main threats for the title are either absent our currently out of form and this really does strengthen Nadal’s position as the hot favourite for the title once again. However that is not to say Nadal will have it all his own way as there are a group of up and coming players who could spring a surprise.
One player who does have a good pedigree on clay is Austrian Dominic Thiem. He is one of the few players to have bested Nadal on clay in tournament play and the seventh seed has already come through his first round match comfortably. Thiem has the game to cause Nadal real problems, but question marks remain over whether he has the physicality and power to match the Spaniard, especially over five sets.
Another potential youngster to watch for is German Alexander Zverev, who has enjoyed a superb season on tour and is the second seed in the tournament. Many feel the German has what it takes to be a Grand Slam winner and his high seeding here means he won’t play Nadal until the final, if both players make it through that far.
There are notable others that could make a challenge, Bulgaria’s Georgi Dimitrov is a real talent, but clay is arguably not his best surface, especially against Nadal, and the same can be said for some of the big servers in the field like Marin Cilic, John Isner and Novak Djokovic. Djokovic is interesting as he has the all round game to win here and beat Nadal, but the Serbian is lacking the form he showed when he was world number 1 a few years back.
For me, I can’t see anyone challenging Nadal seriously until we get to the quarterfinals and by then the Spaniard has usually built up so much steam that a final spot is almost inevitable. I think Nadal is the only sensible bet on the outright winner market, but with Coral offering ½ the odds on each way outright winner bets, if your player makes the final, I think Zverev at 7
/1 could be a very decent option as an each way punt.
French Open – Women’s Draw
Last year, 50/1 outsider Jelena Ostapenko surprised the world by winning the French Open title, defeating Simona Halep after being one set down in what was a stunning final. Ostapenko won’t repeat that success this year however after being knocked out in the first round of games, but like last year, the women’s draw is absolutely wide open for any player to come through and make a run at the title.
There are many interesting sub-plots in this year’s French Open. Two-time champion Maria Sharapova makes her return after a controversial drugs ban, Serena Williams also comes back for the first time since 2016 after she gave birth. Elena Svitolina is the favourite for the title after a strong season on clay for the Ukrainian, but there are a host of other players who have the game to claim a victory here should they string together a decent run of form.
It’s already over though for a number of female seeds with Jo Konta, Venus Williams and Kristina Mladenovic just three of the top 32 who were ousted alongside fifth-seed Ostapenko in the opening round of games.
However, the likes of Svitolina, Rybarikova, Kasatkina, Wozniacki,Osaka, Stephens, Pliskova and Wandeweghe all made it through.
Picking a winner from the women’s draw is exceedingly difficult but the lady I fancy to do well is Garbine Muguruza from Spain. She is a former two-time Grand Slam winner, winning here in 2016 and then winning Wimbledon in 2017. She has a strong all-round game and is generally consistent, though prone to the occasional bad result.
I think at 12/1 with Coral she represents about the best value bet.