Unibet – ‘French Open – Who will have their day on the clay?’

Unibet – ‘French Open – Who will have their day on the clay?’

The second Grand Slam of the year is upon us as the world of tennis arrives in Paris, France for the annual French Open. Unlike its sister tournament in Wimbledon, the colours are vivid, the rallies are long and tense and it’s Rafa’s Spain, rather than Switzerland’s Roger who has dominated the men’s tournament over the past few years. That man from Spain would be Rafa Nadal, and he has won 2 of the last 3 and 6 of the last 7 French Open tournaments, with a match record of 45 wins to 1 defeat. Roger Federer is the only man to win the competition in the Nadal era (he is yet to beat him there and has lost to him in four finals), and the other two men in the top four in the world (Djokovic and Murray) haven’t even come close with neither making a final. In the female draw it is massively open with a first time winner winning the last four titles and a final hasn’t gone to three sets since 2001! Reigning champion Li Na must be a threat but the favourites will most likely be Australian Open Champion Victoria Azarenka and many time grand slam winner Serena Williams.

With his record both on clay and in Paris it is tough to see Nadal not being favourite again, and Unibet agrees having priced him at 1.75 for the win. Nadal has 6 French Open crowns to his names, and if he wins a 7th he will be only the second player to win 7 of the same Grand Slam titles after Pete Sampras and his Wimbledon domination in the 90’s. Nadal’s main threat is likely to come from either Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer. Djokovic is number 1 in the world after his incredible season in 2011 (he lost his first match of the year at the French Open against Federer) and can be backed at 3.60 to triumph, not an outside bet considering he beat Nadal in Madrid and Rome on clay in 2011 as well as winning the last three Grand Slam finals against Nadal. Roger Federer had a stonking end to 2011, and is quietly going about his business, and only a fool would write off the Swiss master at 9.00 – even if clay is his least favourite surface and that he has failed to win a grand slam since Australia 2010. 27 of the last 28 grand slams have been won by those three, so it would be brave person to bet elsewhere, but World Number 4 and major nearly man Andy Murray is available at 40.00, clay court specialist David Ferrer can be backed at 50.00, whilst the only other player to win a Grand Slam since February 2005 in Juan Martin Del Potro can be backed at 32.00.

Ever since Justine Henin retired from the sport, the women’s draw is no longer dominated by one competitor like its male counterpart. The favourite for this year’s title is the USA’s Serena Williams at 3.50, even though she hasn’t won a French Open since 2002. She does however have 13 Grand Slam’s to her name and is in decent form and that is probably why she is considered favourite this year. Close behind Serena is Victoria Azarenka, world number 1 and Australian Open Champion at 3.60. Her record in the French Open can only be described as average, with her best just 2 quarter final appearances in 6 attempts. However, she has only lost 3 matches this year so will definitely be a threat. Li Na is hoping to be the first woman to retain the trophy since Henin in 2007 and she is in decent form having recently been a finalist in Rome and can be backed at 12.00. The player coming into the tournament with the best form is arguably 3 time major winner Maria Sharapova and her price of 6.00 might attract some followers, although the French Open is the only grand slam she hasn’t won and she is yet to reach a final here.

“Nadal is as dominant here as anyone in any sport has ever been, and our punters are backing him again, with an incredible 80% of bets placed on him” says head of Unibet’s Sportsbook, Erik Backlund.

“In the women’s draw it is tough to call, with 30% roughly being placed on Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka respectively – with the rest of the money spread across the field.”

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