Berdych and not Del Potro the dark horse for the French Open

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Many punters will foresee only Novak Djokovic or perhaps Roger Federer wrestling the French Open from Rafael Nadal this year, but the biggest danger may instead come from Tomas Berdych.

Berdych is 40/1 in the French Open odds and this may be for good reason because in eight appearances at Roland Garros, he has only made it beyond the second round on two occasions.

However, punters should remember that Robin Soderling had never gone further than round four in 2009 when knocking out the previously unbeaten Nadal en route to the final.

Berdych did reach the semi finals at Roland Garros in 2010 and certainly looks the biggest danger to the top four, who have all reached three of the last four Grand Slam semi finals.

He has hardly put a foot wrong in the clay-court season to date, losing just three matches and these were to Nadal, Djokovic and Federer.

The Czech world number seven does hold victories over Andy Murray, Juan Martin del Potro and clay specialist Nicolas Almagro this season and can be especially dangerous if managing to bring some more stamina to his game.

Berdych won the opening set in his defeats to both Djokovic and Federer, but was beaten in a deciding set on each occasion.

Furthermore, he was far from disgraced against an on-song Nadal in the quarter finals in Rome, when taking more games off Nadal in defeat than Djokovic managed to in the final.

The big obstacle for Berdych will be holding his nerve, as he has garnered a slight reputation for being mentally fragile and cracks are known to appear when tackling top opponents.

Berdych is capable of generating a lot of speed on the ball on his ground strokes, which could be a weapon on clay, and if taking the approach to attack against the top four and go for broke, he can spring a surprise.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.