The rain in Paris so far this week has meant that all four singles semi-finals of the French Open will take place on what could be a superb day of tennis at Roland Garros on Friday, assuming the weather plays ball.
All eyes will be on the latest instalment of the epic rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal but there are so many stories that could be delivered on a tantalising day of action on the red clay on Friday.
We were made to wait for the conclusion of the quarter finals and if we are honest three of them were utter let-downs. The one which wasn’t was the one which saw Simona Halep bite the dust when she lost to the livewire youngster Amanda Anisimova but there were easy wins elsewhere for Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem and Ash Barty who will all be back in action on Friday.
Sadly it was a wipeout day for us betting wise. It initially looked decent when Alexander Zverev served for the first set against Novak Djokovic but he was broken and barely troubled the scorers after that which set the tone for a rotten day as Karen Khachanov put up no challenge to Dominic Thiem.
Philippe Chatrier Court
Both the men’s semi-finals have retained their place on the schedule and they will take centre stage on Friday. The big one is up first as Roger Federer meets Rafael Nadal on clay once again. When Federer wasn’t playing on the clay we thought we would never see this match up on the dirt again so this is one to relish. They are followed by the world number one Novak Djokovic who will be out to make a fourth straight Grand Slam title and move to within a win of holding all the Slams when he faces Dominic Thiem.
Suzanne Lenglen Court
With the women’s semi-finals having to take place at the same time ahead of their final on Saturday they have been moved to the outside courts. One of them takes place on Suzanne Lenglen and it sees Ash Barty going up against the girl of the moment in Amanda Anisimova who will be looking to follow up her brutal win over Simona Halep in the quarter final. Both women are in their first Grand Slam semi-final so expect a few nerves.
Simonne Mathieu Court
We thought the singles was done on the Simonne Mathieu Court but that isn’t the case. Due to the rain the other women’s semi-final will be held on the new court and it is the place where all the British eyes will be because it is where Jo Konta will be taking on Marketa Vondrousova with both women looking for a place in their first Grand Slam final. Both women have had the extra day off so should come into this feeling pretty fresh.
It looks like we are going to have to dodge some weather again on Friday but I like three bets. In the women’s semi-finals I think the big match experience of Jo Konta will serve her well against Marketa Vondrousova. Konta was in supreme form against Sloane Stephens in the quarter final and absolutely battered the American. Vondrousova came through her last eight clash in straight sets too but didn’t look anywhere near as convincing and has had a very smooth passage through the draw. Konta has had it tougher and that can serve her well. The rankings tell us she’s a better player of the two and with this being her third Grand Slam semi-final she should settle quicker. That can be the difference.
I think we all accept Roger Federer is up against it when he takes on Rafael Nadal and while this is one to watch and probably expect the Spaniard to win I can’t ignore the prices on the Swiss maestro to win a set here. It took the very best of Stan Wawrinka to prize a set away from Federer in the previous round and I sense Nadal will need to be at his best to win this convincingly. That is possible of course but Federer has nothing to lose here and if he can raise his game even for an hour he could well snatch a set before going down. Kei Nishikori got wiped out by Nadal in the previous round but he was in almost all of the Spaniard’s service games. Federer can get the better in enough of them to land a set.
While everyone is recovering from that it might be that the best match of the day comes from Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem and I fancy the Austrian to stay close to his Serbian rival here. Thiem knows this is a massive chance to win realistically the only Slam he can win at this stage of his career and he has been so impressive in the last two rounds. He has disposed of tricky challenges of Gael Monfils and Karen Khachanov in straight sets and been ruthless. Novak Djokovic has cruised through but he wasn’t at his brilliant best in beaten Struff in the last 16 and I wonder how his quarter final would have gone had Zverev successfully served out the first set. Djokovic may well still win this but Thiem is unlikely to go away. He can stay within 4.5 games.
Back J.Konta to beat M.Vondrousova for a 4/10 stake at 1.73 with Boylesports
Back her here:
Back R.Federer to win a set for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with William Hill
Back D.Thiem (+4.5 games) to beat N.Djokovic for a 4/10 stake at 1.73 with William Hill
Back them here: