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Friday's French Open action is all about the men, as both semifinal matches will be played in the morning. Tennis expert Mike Spector offers his best play for each match.

Men's French Open Semifinal Predictions: Will Nadal Advance to Play for a Record 14th French Open Title?

It seems odd to have a semifinal round of a Grand Slam tournament that features only one of the "Big Three." Still, only one was bound to advance as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic played a championship level match in the quarterfinals, and Roger Federer did not participate.

Nadal is a big -200 or higher moneyline favorite at most sportsbooks entering the semifinal round to claim his record 14th French Open and 22nd career Grand Slam title. Is it a foregone conclusion that the man who has dominated for his entire career at Roland Garros goes on to eventual victory? Who will earn the other spot in the finals in an intriguing semifinal match between No. 8 seed Casper Ruud and No. 20 seed Marin Cilic?

Here are our predictions, best plays, and the odds for Friday's men's French Open semifinal matches.

Click Here for Complete Men's French Open Odds

Men's French Open Semifinal Predictions

Rafael Nadal vs. Alexander Zverev Prediction

Date: June 3, 2022

Time: 8:45 am ET

Where to Watch: Tennis Channel, NBC

Click Here for Nadal vs Zverev Odds

Nadal showed why he is the "King of Clay," improving his record at Roland Garros to 110-3 all-time with a four-set win over Djokovic. On paper, Nadal made easy work of Djokovic in two of the three sets won, winning 6-2 in the first and third sets before a match-clinching fourth-set tiebreak. However, that does not tell the whole story as the two all-time greats slugged it out for four hours and 12 minutes, and the match ended after 1:00 a.m. local time.

Many were quick to shrug off Nadal's foot injury he came into the tournament with after beating Djokovic. However, the Spaniard still often hints that this may be his last French Open, as he is also battling a rib injury he suffered in March. 

Nadal's grueling four-set victory over Djokovic followed an arguably tougher five-set battle with Felix Auger-Aliassime, and now he will have to muster up whatever energy he can to take on the No. 3 seed Alexander Zverev.

Zverev has won three of the previous four meetings with Nadal, though Rafa won the last one on clay in Rome. Before the tournament started, oddsmakers gave it more of a chance that we would see a first-time French Open winner versus a previous winner in Nadal or Djokovic. Perhaps oddsmakers envisioned Nadal and Djokovic wearing each other out and for that to benefit whoever came out unscathed on the other side. 

With Nadal being on the court much longer than Zverev, the longer this match goes on, the more it favors the German. Zverev's last four ATP main draw matches have gone over the projected total, and each of his previous three Grand Slam semifinal matches has gone five sets. Thus, we like Zverev to cover the +5.5 game spread in a match he could realistically win outright.

Men's French Open Semifinal Rafael Nadal vs. Alexander Zverev Pick

Zverev +5.5 Games (-105) (Bet $105 to win $100)

Casper Ruud vs. Marin Cilic Prediction

Date: June 3, 2022

Time: 11:30am ET

Where to Watch: Tennis Channel, NBC

Click Here for Ruud vs Cilic Odds

I am not sure the right player is favored in this match, as Cilic has more big-match experience than his 23-year-old counterpart. Cilic won the US Open in 2014 and appeared in two other Grand Slam finals (2017 Wimbledon, 2018 Australian Open). 

Cilic became the fifth active men's player to make the semifinals at all four majors, as his previously deepest run at Roland Garros was his quarterfinal appearances in 2017 and 2018. Meanwhile, Ruud will have the weight of a country on his shoulders, as he is the first Norwegian man to make the quarterfinals or a semifinal of a Grand Slam event in singles.

Perhaps the most impressive match from any man in this French Open was Cilic's dominant win over No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev, where he lost just seven games total. He backed that up by pounding 33 aces and 88 winners against No. 7 seed Andrey Rublev. 

Five of Ruud's last six matches at Roland Garros have gone over 3.5 sets, so he has certainly not looked as dominant on his path to the semifinals. We expect Cilic to win and become the 11th player in the Open Era to reach the finals in all four Grand Slam events. 

Men's French Open Semifinal Casper Ruud vs. Marin Cilic Pick

Cilic to Win Outright (+185) (Bet $100 to win $185)

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Article Author


Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest


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