Paris Draw Makes It Look Tough For Nadal

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Rafael Nadal has a tough task on his hands to win a 14th French Open

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic could meet again in Paris.

It was unusual to see the 2020 French Open take place in October but there was nothing strange about the winner of the men’s tournament as ‘King of Clay’ Rafael Nadal triumphed in the Paris major for the 13th time.

He is 5/6 to once again win the French Open, while in the women’s draw it is another reigning champion – Iga Swiatek – who leads the betting at 5/2.

Nadal Now Worth Opposing

It is always a bold move to oppose Rafael Nadal on his favoured surface but, following the tournament draw, there are better bets to be had in the men’s field.

The 34-year-old Spaniard finds himself in the tougher section of the competition, with world number one and last year’s runner-up Novak Djokovic – 4/1 to go one better – and fellow 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer also in his half.

Nadal showed vulnerability on clay when losing the quarter-finals of the Madrid Open earlier this month and the man who nearly beat him in the Barcelona Open final – Stefanos Tsitsipas – could represent value at 9/2 to go all the way in this tournament.

The Greek starlet has yet to win a Grand Slam title, but has enjoyed a superb 2021 and is fresh from winning the Lyon Open.

He also won the Monte Carlo Masters earlier this season, crushing Russian Andrey Rublev in the final, and gave a great account of himself in last year’s French Open, pushing Djokovic close in a five-set thriller in the semi-finals.

He could go a couple of steps further and, in the slightly softer side of the draw, looks a decent bet to win the 2021 edition of the tournament.

Hard to Look Past Swiatek

Pole Iga Swiatek won her first-ever Grand Slam at last year’s French Open and was ruthless in the process, not dropping a single set in the competition and comfortably beating top seed and 2018 champion Simona Halep on her way to the title.

She also recorded a stunning double-bagel (6-0 6-0) win over Karolina Pliskova in the final of the Italian Open earlier this month, suggesting clay is her preferred surface, and she beat some other strong competitors in that tournament, such as Elina Svitolina and Coco Gauff.

She only turns 20 on Monday, but her resolve on the slower courts has been superb and she makes greater appeal at the top of the market than those around her.

Ashleigh Barty is always a danger, but she saw her 16-match winning run on clay come to an end in the Madrid Open final earlier this month and had to retire hurt at the Italian Open, so may be worth swerving at 9/2.

Aryna Sabalenka ended Barty’s streak and could be an outside bet at 7/1 to go all the way, while Naomi Osaka, who is rated 12/1 for the French Open title, is a better selection on other surfaces.

*All odds correct at time of writing

Liam Flin is an occasional contributor to the MansionBet Blog. He holds a keen interest football, cricket, cycling and esports. See his insights & tips here.

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