Djokovic and Nadal meet at Roland Garros, with the Serb hot favourite to beat the nine-time French Open champion
All good things must come to an end. That includes Rafael Nadal’s dominance of the French Open which started in 2005 and has resulted in nine men’s singles titles at Roland Garros.
The 28-year-old boasts a quite startling record on the Parisian clay courts where his legendary status in the game has been cemented, with Robin Soderling the only player to defeat the Spaniard in the past ten years.
Aside from that blip, it has been total domination although Wednesday’s quarter final against Novak Djokovic sees Nadal in the unusual position of underdog.
Rafa has worked his way through to the last eight of the tournament with the minimum of fuss, dropping one set against the up-and-coming Jack Sock in the previous round after three comfortable victories.
However, Nadal has had wobbly form leading into this tournament, most notably when getting trounced in the final of the Madrid Open by Andy Murray. The manner of the straight sets defeat took everyone by surprise, even if the Brit has improved a great deal on this surface.
That partly explains why William Hill are prepared to offer 12/5 about a Nadal victory, although it’s mainly down to the calibre of an opponent searching for a first French Open title to go with the eight Grand Slam titles he has accrued in Australia, England and the US.
Djokovic was defeated in the final at Roland Garros twelve months ago although he’s been brutal on his way to the last eight and is now the hot favourite to overcome Nadal and set up a semi-final encounter against Murray or David Ferrer.
The 28-year-old dropped a grand total of six games against Richard Gasquet in the fourth round, with the home crowd swiftly realising that their man was no match for a player who seems to have found a new level on clay.
Djokovic has not dropped a set in this tournament and there’s a chance that could continue against the nine-time champion who needs to produce a level of tennis we have not seen for several months.
Coral offer a best price 2/5 about the world number one winning this match, with BetVictor offering a tempting 9/5 that Djokovic wins in straight sets and announces himself as the new king of clay.
Nadal has played down his chances of victory in this match, claiming the contest is “not vital” as he bids to make it through the season without sustaining injury.
“If it was a final, things would be different. It’s a quarter final and if you win you go to the semi final. It’s not a matter of lifting the trophy.
“Last year I beat him in the final. This is not the match of the year. Matches of the year are finals and decisive matches. If I lose the quarterfinal my life won’t change.”
Novak Djokovic to win 3-1 @ 11/4 with bet365