The showpiece event of the clay court season has arrived with the stars of the tennis world in Paris for the next two weeks for the French Open at Roland Garros. This has been the year the rising generation have come to the fore but there are plenty of seasoned campaigners looking to get their hands on another Grand Slam so we should be in for a fascinating and top class 15 days of action.
2016 – Novak Djokovic
2015 – Stan Wawrinka
2014 – Rafael Nadal
2013 – Rafael Nadal
2012 – Rafael Nadal
2011 – Rafael Nadal
2010 – Rafael Nadal
2009 – Roger Federer
2008 – Rafael Nadal
2007 – Rafael Nadal
The field of 128 is made up of the leading ranked players and a series of qualifiers and have been placed into a pre-determined draw which will be played as a knockout event throughout. Each match is the best of five sets and there is no tiebreak in the final set.
Although he isn’t the defending champion the world number one Andy Murray is the top seed and is in this quarter. His form has been patchy this year so the other seeds in this section will fancy their chances. They are Kei Nishikori, form horse Alexander Zverev, Juan Martin del Potro, John Isner, Tomas Berdych, Pablo Cuevas and Sam Querrey.
Some sections are packed with quality unseeded players but this isn’t necessarily one of them. Nicolas Almagro and Fernando Verdasco could be spoilers as could Jeremy Chardy but other than that you would expect the seeds to dominate.
Former winner and number three seed Stan Wawrinka heads up this section. This is the quarter that always seems to be wide open and this year is no different. Marin Cilic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils, Fabio Fognini, Richard Gasquet, Nick Kyrgios and David Ferrer are the other seeds looking to take advantage of their favourable spot in the draw.
Philipp Kohlschreiber is probably the leading unseeded player in the field while Feliciano Lopez, Kevin Anderson and Kyle Edmund are among those looking for big runs in this.
The tournament favourite and fourth seed Rafael Nadal is the main attraction in this quarter with Milos Raonic the unfortunate man among the top eight seeds drawn against him. Other seeds in this section are Gilles Muller, Pablo Carreno Busta, Grigor Dimitrov, Jack Sock, Roberto Bautista Agut and Gilles Simon.
Mikhail Youzhny is an unseeded player in this section with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Tommy Robredo, Viktor Troicki and Benoit Paire all having the potential to be dangerous in it.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic has been placed in this quarter but he isn’t going to have it easy as this section is loaded. Dominic Thiem, David Goffin, Steve Johnson, Ivo Karlovic, Lucas Pouille, Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Mischa Zverev are all out to conquer Djokovic.
Marcel Granollers, Bernard Tomic and Borna Coric have all been in the top 32 in recent times and could easily be seeded for this and they will be dangers to those who are seeded in this quarter.
I’m only going to take one man outright for this tournament as I’m going to focus on the quarter betting elsewhere but I can’t resist a punt on someone in that second quarter which looks wide open to me.
Stan Wawrinka has been good to me here before but I’m going to take him on with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who has warmed up for the event with an excellent run in Lyon to allay any injury concerns after he pulled out in Madrid. Tsonga has already won in Holland and Marseille this year and made the quarter finals in Australia so he’s hitting the ball well. He is twice a semi-finalist in this event and has the draw to go one better at least this year. At 80/1 he looks worth an outright dabble.
There are two bets I like in the quarters where I’m going to go against the two top seeds. In the top quarter Andy Murray is begging to be taken on. Kei Nishikori looks the obvious man to do it with but I’m going to go with Alexander Zverev who is fast fulfilling his potential. He has won twice in May already including at the Rome Masters where he took care of Novak Djokovic in the final. Anyone who can do that is a danger in this quarter so I’ll take him accordingly.
In the bottom quarter despite his improved run in Rome I’m keen to get after Djokovic and the man I’m going to take is David Goffin. Dominic Thiem is another big danger in this section but he could have his hands full in the first round with Bernie Tomic and were Thiem and Goffin to meet in the last 16 Goffin has the edge in their head to head. Goffin took care of Djokovic and indeed Thiem in Monte Carlo and a Grand Slam semi isn’t far away for the Belgian. It could easily be in this.
Back J-W.Tsonga to win Men’s French Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 81.00 with Winner Sports (1/2 1-2)
Back him here:
Back A.Zverev to win Quarter 1 for a 2/10 stake at 4.50 with Paddy Power
Back him here:
Back D.Goffin to win Quarter 4 for a 1/10 stake at 10.00 with Betfair
Back him here: