Novak Djokovic revealed after the Australian Open in January that his ultimate goal for the season was to complete his own personal Grand Slam by winning the French Open and his biggest obstacle to this quest stands in his way in the semi finals.
Undoubtedly the world number one and Rafael Nadal are the two greatest clay-court players in men’s tennis and if there is a player that can defeat the seven-time French Open champion then it is Djokovic.
The pair have equally split their last six meetings and given that they are so evenly matched in countless other areas, the fact that Djokovic has won their only 2013 meeting on the clay of Monte Carlo may be enough to give him the smallest edge.
This was the 11th successive meeting between the pair that was in a tournament final.
For this clash at Roland Garros, Nadal is the favourite at 4/7 and reports that the temperature is warm with a bit of breeze may well favour the Spaniard slightly.
However, as the semi final is so difficult to call, Djokovic has to be regarded as the value call for victory at 11/8.
There are two other markets where it could pay to have a small flutter in the hope of gaining some profit.
The first is whether there will be a tie-break in the match, as there hasn’t been one in the last six encounters between the pair on clay.
Granted some of these have only been over a best of three sets, but 13/8 does look a slightly lofty price that there is no tie break here.
Meanwhile, in the last eight meetings between the pair, Djokovic has only served the greater number of double faults on one occasion and so the 5/6 that Nadal is responsible for the most double faults here could prove a wise investment.
Furthermore, Djokovic has served the fewest double faults in all of his five matches to reach this stage and the consideration that he is the best returner in the game may put added pressure on Nadal to take greater risks with his serve.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.