Murray’s French Open odds attractive after Rafa run so close
With the French Open just around the corner Andy Murray came tantalisingly close to recording his best ever result on clay in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open against Rafael Nadal.
The Scot had the world number one on the ropes when he went 4-2 up in the deciding set, only for the irrepressible Spaniard to claw his way back to win 7-5, to set up a semi-final clash with Grigor Dimitrov.
Seven-time Italian Open champion Nadal is the strong 1/4 favourite to progress to his third successive final at the expense of the Russian, who is labelled the 3/1 outsider.
Unsurprisingly, Rafa is the 6/5 market leader for the upcoming French Open which is unlikely to change regardless of the eventual winner in Rome, such is Nadal’s remarkable record at Roland Garros.
Meanwhile for Murray, who is still on the comeback trail from injury, this defeat may have been hard to swallow, but it should certainly be cause for great encouragement ahead of his next assignment in Paris.
The current world number eight is one of three players given odds of 20/1 to claim the first Grand Slam of the calendar year and after this display against the undisputed ‘King of Clay’ that price could well be worth a punt.
Traditionally the clay courts have been where the Scot has struggled most, as unlike the other surfaces Murray’s game does not suit the sort of baseline warfare the likes of Nadal are only too happy to engage in.
But in the opening set in particular where Murray reeled off five straight games against Nadal, he showed that when his first serve is on song (where it was around the 80 per cent mark) he can limit the opportunities for the big hitters such as the Spaniard.
The semis back in 2011 is still Murray’s best showing at Roland Garros, while he’s made at least two finals in the other three Majors, so, while there is clearly still work to do, there is also plenty of optimism.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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