Nadal Quest Far From Straightforward

Share on whatsapp
Share on twitter
Share on facebook

Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep are the favourites for an unprecedented French Open, with the former perhaps most vulnerable.

Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal celebrating

The third and final Grand Slam of this unprecedented year takes us to the French Open, where all eyes will be on The King of Clay Rafael Nadal who is seeking a record 13th major title at Roland Garros.

Nadal has won each of the last three majors in the French capital and although competition takes place four months later than usual, the Spaniard is still a warm order at 11/10 to overcome poor preparation and draw level with old rival Roger Federer on 20 Grand Slam titles.

However, the presence of hungry world number one Novak Djokovic and US Open champion Dominic Thiem make Nadal’s task far from straightforward.

While few can be considered title contenders in the men’s event, the women’s game remains as competitive as ever.

The last six French Open titles have been won by six different women and even 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams has conquered Paris on just three occasions.

Super Serb Djokovic value to dethrone the King

Nadal has won 12 of his 19 Grand Slam titles in the French capital – only he and three other men have won the tournament since 2005 – but, at the prices, there are a few reasons to be concerned.

The Spaniard is the greatest clay-court player of all-time and fully wound-up another French Open crown would be at his mercy. However, the 34-year-old can’t be as dominant on his beloved slower surface as was once the case and punters have to forgive a below-par reappearance in Rome last time out.

The Spanaird skipped the US Open earlier this month in order to focus on the French equivalent but more was expected on his return at last week’s Italian Open, a tournament he had won on nine occasions and landed in consecutive years.

That was Nadal’s first competitive appearance since the ATP Tour was suspended in March but after two routine victories the Spaniard was brushed aside in the last eight by Diego Schwartzman, who broke him five times from just ten service games to win 6-2 7-5.

World number one Novak Djokovic

Nadal may come on for the spin but he needs to and that lack of match practice could tell in the latter stages of the tournament against the likes of Djokovic or Thiem, who both made their respective returns a month earlier in America.

Another worry for Nadal is that he is housed in the same half of the draw as Thiem, so may need to topple the Austrian and Djokovic to claim silverware.

At 2/1, Djokovic looks best-placed to upset Nadal. The Serb showed no lasting effects from his disqualification from the US Open as he capitalised on Nadal’s mishaps to win the Rome title and he has the smoother route to the final of the big three.

Mighty Muguruza to Rule Roland Garros Again

2018 French Open champion Simona Halep heads the betting at Roland Garros in her pursuit of a third Grand Slam title and it is difficult to argue with her claims.

The Romanian has won all three tournament appearances since making the last four at the Australian Open in January, claiming titles in Dubai, Prague and most recently Rome.

2016 French Open champion Garbine Muguruza

But it is one of her Rome victims, Garbine Muguruza, who makes most appeal at 13/2.

The Spaniard eased past Sloane Stephens, Cori Gauff, Johanna Konta and Victoria Azarenka before taking Halep to three sets in her Italian Open semi-final and she is a player who masters peaking for the big events.

Muguruza has made 12 career finals but four of those title deciders have come at Grand Slam level, including when reigning supreme here in 2016.

The 26-year-old overcame Halep in the last four to reach the final of the Australian Open earlier this year and she is at her happiest on clay – she has reached at least the fourth round here in each of the last six seasons.

Muguruza has a far friendlier half of the draw than Halep, who is housed alongside Serena Williams, Azarenka, Elina Svitolina and Kiki Bertens.

Defending champion Ashleigh Barty has skipped her title defence due to Coronavirus concerns, while US Open heroine Naomi Osaka is another notable absentee.

*All odds correct at time of writing

Rob has around 20 years journalism experience and has written and commentated on the likes of football, cricket and rugby. He also has an impressive background in racquet sports and regularly provides content on the likes of tennis and badminton.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts