Tennis expert Rory Jiwani picks out the best bets from the Mens French Open.
Djokovic should not find life too difficult before the semi-finals but a clash with Nadal, seeded four due to Roger Federer’s absence, would be tough. The Spaniard is back to something like his best this season and he could give the world number one plenty to think about. If the Serb came through that, I would give Murray a good shout in the final. At odds-on, I’d be laying Djokovic.
Andy Murray has a great chance to reach the final with Stan Wawrinka his only real obstacle. The defending champion has a nasty habit of throwing in a shocker when you least expect it but that would be a corking semi-final. Murray’s price has halved since before his Rome win over Djokovic but I still think he is a good each-way proposition as, despite his split with coach Amelie Mauresmo, he has never played better on clay.
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I am still not convinced Nadal is playing well enough to win this so I am looking to Dominic Thiem to upset him on his way to having an extended run. The pair are drawn to meet in the third round and the young Austrian is well and truly on the up. He hits the ball extremely hard off both wings with a jaw-droppingly beautiful flat single-handed backhand as well as a seriously potent serve. While he does seem to suffer a lull in his matches, I believe it is a case of when rather than if he wins the French and, at the prices, I’m prepared to get involved this year. He would be no bigger than 5-2 to beat Nadal so 13-2 to win the third quarter looks big from here. And he would certainly give Djokovic plenty to think about so the 50-1 outright is worth an each-way dabble.
As far as the first round goes, Marcel Granollers has had a decent clay-court season so far and I think he is good value at 15-8 do beat the somewhat inconsistent Fabio Fognini. I also think 13-8 is fair about Viktor Troicki upsetting Grigor Dimitrov whose record at Roland Garros is nothing to write home about. The big-serving Serb is a dangerous opponent if he is on his game and Dimitrov’s temperament is certainly suspect of late as demonstrated by his racket-smashing default in the Istanbul final against Diego Schwartzman.