May 14, 1058 days ago

2014 French Open Tennis Preview

2014 French Open Tennis Preview

This year’s French Open promises to be one of the most keenly contested tournaments in years. Two of the leading men are having mixed seasons while seven different women have won the tournament since 2007. Can Rafa Nadal and Serena Williams retain their crown? Or will there be a new name on the trophy?

Keep reading for our preview of this year’s French Open tennis.

The Men

In years gone by there would have only been one man you’d ever choose to back on clay. Rafael Nadal is the evens favourite to secure an astonishing ninth title in Paris and is a worthy favourite having won the last four French titles. Nadal’s fourth round defeat to Robin Soderling in 2009 remains his only defeat at Roland Garros.

This year has been a little different, however. Nadal lost on clay in Barcelona for the first time in eleven years (beaten by Nicolas Almagro) while David Ferrer beat him in the Monte-Carlo quarter finals. And, he only took the recent Madrid title by default thanks to an injury to Kei Nishikori in the final.

It’s also been far from a vintage year for Novak Djokovic. The Serb has won just two titles in 2014 – in Indian Wells and Miami – and a wrist injury contributed to a recent straights set defeat to Roger Federer.

In truth, Djokovic’s record at Roland Garros isn’t terrific. He has reached the final on just one occasion – in 2012 – and has lost at the semi-final stage on four occasions. I’m not sure he is great value at 5/2.

The only other man in the draw to have won the French Open title is 2009 champion Roger Federer and the Swiss player is 12/1 fourth favourite. Federer has won a title in 2013 and was a beaten finalist on clay in Monte-Carlo. Recently the father of a second pair of twins, the former world number one could go well here.

Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese-born player to win a clay-court title on the ATP World Tour when he won in Barcelona. The 24 year old then followed up this win by reaching the final in Madrid where he’d probably have beaten Nadal were he not forced to withdraw with a back injury.

Nishikori is the form man on clay and can be backed at 25/1. It’s also worth keeping an eye on Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka who won on clay in April and is the 6/1 third favourite.

The Women

Seven different women have won the French Open title since the last seven years and so choosing a winner is a tough task.

The form player on clay approaching Roland Garros is Maria Sharapova. The Russian won recent clay court titles in Madrid and Stuttgart and won the French Open title in 2012. In an open contest she is the 4/1 second favourite.

Before winning the title in 2013, it was over a decade since Serena Williams reached the final at Roland Garros. Williams hadn’t got past the quarter final stage at this tournament since 2003 before her triumph in 2014 and, having missed recent matches with a thigh injury, the 7/4 looks very skinny.

A better bet may be 2011 champion Li Na at 5/1. The Chinese number one won the Australian open in January and also reached the final in Miami where she lost to Serena Williams. The 32 year old is a tough competitor and could win her second title at 5/1.

Simona Halep’s rise up the world rankings has been astonishing. The Romanian is now the world number 5 and the 22 year old recently took Maria Sharapova to three sets in the Madrid final having won in Qatar earlier in the season.

She also reached the quarter final of the Australian Open and could go well here at 9/1.

Victoria Azarenka was a semi-finalist at Roland Garros in 2013 and the two tine Grand Slam winner is a 16/1 chance here. If you want a rank outsider to follow then French number one Alize Cornet is a 100/1 chance. Cornet has reached two ATP finals in 2014 – winning one – and is now in the world’s top 25 players.

She has only won 8 matches in 9 visits to Roland Garros but the 24 year old could be one to watch this year at long odds.

Tennis Betting

 

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