French Open 2013 – Men’s Semifinals

Semi Final Night

NOTE – Due to feeling under the weather, Tsonga vs Ferrer will be updated approximately 10pm Melbourne time.

A really successful night last night, with tweeted plays of Sharapova h2h ($1.85), Serena first set u8.5 games ($2.20) and 6-0 first set ($11) all winning, however multi legs went 1/2.

Onto tonight, and possibly two of the most difficult match-ups and matches I have had to preview in my time writing. Normally I look at a match and can generally get an idea of one or two ways I think a match may evolve. These two, I see many, many different ways, and for that reason alone, I have found it very difficult to come a firm conclusion on these matches.

For those who have been following from the start of the tournament, you should have yourself set up quite well coming into the final 4 from a future bet point of view. We have Tsonga at 80-1, Ferrer at 29-1, and Novak at $3.80. That means you have gross overs on Ferrer and Tsonga, and value on Novak. What you will also have noticed is the price on Nadal has only come in by around 15 cents since the start of the tournament. Personally, I am happy to lock in a profit. I will leave you to how you personally decide to work it out based on your own personal situations. I would also wait until after the Nadal/Djokovic match, because if Novak can pull off the upset, then the prices on Tsonga and Ferrer will come in slightly in my opinion. Being so hard to split both matches, I cannot confidently take a side in either match.

In terms of the current markets, Nadal ($1.70) vs Djokovic ($2.42) and Ferrer ($1.75) vs Tsonga ($2.30). So the market favours Ferrer to get the win, however outright markets have Ferrer and Tsonga evenly matched. This makes sense to me, as I believe if Tsonga makes the final, he is more of a chance to cause a massive upset than Ferrer will be come Sunday.

Game One – Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal

I could talk all day about these two, and ultimately I would end up no closer to coming to a conclusion regarding my tip. Both of them have been immense for the game of tennis in the last couple of years. Rafa has well and truly deserved the nickname ‘the King of clay’, and he is only 27! 7 Roland Garros titles is unprecedented, and an 8th would be spectacular to witness.

Novak on the other hand, is looking to complete his career Grand Slam. He has made this his number 1 goal for the year, and at no stage has he backtracked on those comments. The recent passing of childhood coach and close friend Jelena Gencic will no doubt have added fuel to the fire for Novak, as it was a goal they had both discussed in length just prior to her passing.

Why Rafa will win?

  • Been there, done that, 7 times before.
  • Has an unprecedented 152-8 record on clay since the start of 2008.
  • Sunny weather will suit Nadal far more than Novak.
  • Career 11-3 on clay vs Djokovic

Why Novak will win?

  • He has finally figured Rafa out on clay, going 3-3 through last 6 clay meetings
  • Is in arguably the best position on clay he has been in his career.
  • Rafa struggled with the pressure of attempting to win his 8th Monte Carlo title. Will it happen again in Paris?
  • Novak thrives on the big stage. This is one of the biggest matches of his career.

The Final Word

The weather today is absolutely a massive to Nadal. The ball to spin, kick and bounce off the court most certainly favours Rafa.

There are a few key areas to the battle tonight. The backhand down the line from Novak was used to great effect in Monte Carlo. The constant peppering to Nadal’s backhand was quite successful that day. Another shot that wasn’t utilised to full affect but was successful was a method of approach shot from Novak. On a few occasions, Novak approached with a slice right up the middle of the court, depriving Nadal of the ability to use angles to his advantage. It was effective, and I will be interested to see if Novak uses this tactic tonight.

I am struggling to split these guys. The weather certainly suits Nadal, and for that reason I think he takes it in an absolute epic. If you want to cover some outright stakes from pre-tournament, you can always back Nadal for the title at Betfair, allowing you to trade in and out over the net as you see fit.

If I was absolutely forced to pick someone here, it would be Nadal. If I had to suggest a bet here, it would be total Aces over 6.5. The extra pace and zip on the court suggests that it will play quick, and this over is a genuine possibility regardless of match length.

Like I said though, this match should be absolutely brilliant to watch, even without taking a side. The heart says Novak. The head says Rafa. Let’s hope it lives up to the hype.

Stats of Note:

  • Djokovic has won all three meetings on clay when he has won more the 54% of points on Nadal’s 2nd serve.
  • Nadal is 6-0 in matches on clay vs Djokovic when winning over 37% of points on Novak’s first serves.

Suggested Bet: Nadal/Djokovic over 6.5 Aces at $1.87 at Sportingbet

Confidence: 60%




I've had a passion for Tennis since I was young and haven't missed a Grand Slam ever since I can remember. I'm always happy to talk Tennis on twitter and respond to any queries so feel free to tweet me your questions.

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