Djokovic, Alcaraz and Nadal dominate the betting for this year’s French Open but with all three drawn in the same half, there is value to be found elsewhere too.
Novak Djokovic is still the best player in the world and if you’re going to put your hard earned on one player in this field, let it be him. The European clay court season has allowed the World No. 1 to get plenty of matches under his belt and success has followed. Djokovic was a finalist in Belgrade before he fell to Carlos Alcaraz in the Madrid semis. Last week, Djokovic claimed his first title of the year at the ATP 1000 event in Rome, which is known for closely replicating the conditions of Roland Garros.
Djokovic didn’t drop a set in Rome and I can’t see him conceding one until at least the quarter-finals in Paris. There he could meet Rafael Nadal before a potential clash with Carlos Alcaraz. Question marks over the fitness of Nadal and the ability of Alcaraz to hang with the best of the best in five set tennis means I’m happy to side with the two-time French Open champion in his quest to go back-to-back.
The biggest winner out of the men’s draw had to be World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas who avoided the three betting favourites of this year’s event. A finalist in Paris in 2021, Tsitisipas has gone 14-3 on the clay this season and looks primed to go deep once again in the weaker half of the draw.
Tsitsipas will avoid Djokovic, Nadal and Alcaraz until at least the final but he also has a kind early draw. Italian Lorenzo Musetti awaits first up before a meeting with either Lucas Pouille or a qualifier. Dan Evans, Francisco Cerundolo, Mikael Ymer or James Duckworth are potential third round opponents and none of that bunch pose any real threat.
Casper Ruud had an uncharacteristically slow start to the clay court season but he rebounded well in Rome and will come into Roland Garros on the back of a full week of tennis in Geneva. Statistically the No. 8 seed stacks up with the best players in the world on the clay and his draw will give him every chance of reaching the first Grand Slam final of his career. Ruud ranks 6th on the ATP tour for serve points won percentage on clay this season and should find himself progressing through the early rounds of the tournament with ease.
A projected quarter-final meeting between the Norwegian and Tsitsipas will for mine likely decide the finalist from the bottom half of the draw and for that reason I’m happy to back both to make their presence felt in this field.
Remember the name Kecmanovic? The Serbian was set to meet his idol before Novak Djokovic was famously given the boot from Australia just hours out from the Australian Open in January. Instead, Kecmanovic took on Italian Salvatore Caruso whom he defeated with ease before making it all the way to the fourth-round.
Fluke? I think not! Kecmanovic is having the best year of his career and reached a career high ranking of World No. 31 earlier this month. The Serbian has put together a brilliant season to date with career-best numbers in first serves landed, second serve points won, hold rate and break rate on clay.
Kecmanovic has taken it to some of the game’s best in recent times. He took a set off Djokovic in Belgrade, went down in a third set tiebreak to Diego Schwartzman in Rome and bounced back to take Nadal to a second set tiebreak after a tough first stanza in Madrid.
The No. 28 seed is well and truly over the odds at the current price and is certainly worthy of a ticket to take out the 4th quarter of the draw at north of $8 with TopSport.