Eighth French Open in sight for Rafa as Murray suffers Monte Carlo hiding
Andy Murray suffered a 6-1, 6-2 defeat to 13th seed Stanislas Wawrinka, casting fresh doubts over his French Open credentials.
While Wawrinka had won both of their previous meetings on clay, and is a two-time ATP Tour winner on the dust, the manner of the defeat should cause some concern in the Murray camp. The Scot committed 24 unforced errors and four double faults.
At 10/1 for Roland Garros glory he is perhaps too risky for serious consideration, especially considering he has never made the final in Paris. His clay court game is vulnerable to specialists on the surface in a way that just cannot be said of Federer, Djokovic of Nadal.
The Madrid Masters now represents Murray’s only opportunity to get some competitive action in before things get underway at Roland Garros.
Seven-time champion Rafael Nadal is looking increasingly ominous, and the way he has begun in Monte Carlo – where he is an eight-time champion – will be creating a familiar sense of déjà-vu amongst the rest of the field. The Spaniard dispatched Phillip Kohlschreiber 6-2, 6-4 early on Thursday to reach the quarter finals.
Having only returned to action in February after an extended lay-off owing to knee problems, he has already picked up clay court titles at Sao Paolo and Acapulco, as well as a largely unexpected win at Indian Wells on hard courts – traditionally his least successful surface.
If he can get to Paris in good health, then 8/11 is a hugely enticing price for an eighth triumph in nine years.
Novak Djokovic is also in to the fourth round after a three set win over Juan Monaco. The Serb conceded the first set before eventually progressing 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.
The world number one is currently the most – many would say only – convincing challenger to Nadal on clay, and is priced accordingly at 2/1. He was the only opponent to take a set off Nadal at last year’s tournament.
Roger Federer’s preparation for Paris will consist entirely of an appearance at the Madrid Masters in May. He has drifted to his current price of 16/1, which undoubtedly tempts as an each-way option given that the 2009 winner has featured in five French Open finals.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing