Bonjour! The sizzling hot streak is well and truly alive, and we extended it to 9-1 in the tournament, going 2-0 on our quarterfinal tennis picks.
It’s semifinals’ day for the men, and it’s the blockbuster contest most have been waiting for since the draw was released. The King of Clay Rafael Nadal takes on the world no. 1 Novak Djokovic. In the other semi we see Stefanos Tsitsipas take on Alexander Zverev in a star-studded lineup.
Between the two Next-Gen stars, Tsitsipas does look the deserved favorite based on his exceptional double title winning form this clay court season, but he’s yet to make a Major final, and Zverev’s serve and baseline consistency will certainly challenge the Grecian. Prices look about right there and we’ll instead focus our tennis pick on the Big Three showdown. Allez!
Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal
Friday, June 11, 2021 – 11:30 AM ET on Court Philippe-Chatrier
He's done it once again. Rafael Nadal put on the afterburners and one of the fiercest clay court warriors on the planet just could not live with him. The first three sets were incredibly competitive, and when Diego Schwartzman won the second set he became only the third player ever to win a set against Nadal at Roland-Garros in multiple matches.
But El Toro was relentless, hammering away at the valiant Argentine as only he could do. After three tough sets, the resistance had been broken. Going on a 30-5 flurry in the last 35 points of the match, Nadal lost only one point on serve in the final set which ended in a 6-0 bagel.
Novak Djokovic looked to be cruising to the semifinal after two sets had been played between him and 9th seed Matteo Berrettini. The 6-3, 6-2 scoreline stemmed from the big-serving Italian's biggest weapon, the serve, being completely neutralized by Djokovic's legendary returning. Consistently finding the weaker backhand wing and extending rallies, Berrettini didn't have much in reply.
But the 9th seed upped his level and played as well as he could have, ripping off 23 winners to 13 unforced errors in the third set, saving a break point at 4-4 to eventually force a tiebreak. Nontheless, the match ended up on the world no. 1's racquet with a 5-4 tiebreak lead. Novak wilted, however, and the Pro-Berrettini crowd roared as the match was extented into a fourth set.
Due to the 11:00 PM local curfew they were forced to leave midway through the fourth set, which really deflated the Italian. An emotional Djokovic eventually closed the fourth set 7-5.
The stage is set for the mouthwatering 58th meeting between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, with the world no.1 holding the 29-28 lead. On clay, however, Nadal's asserted dominance and hasn't been beaten since 2016, sporting five straight victories.
One of those of course came last year, when a more questioned than ever Rafa opened the tennis betting underdog to Djokovic in the Roland-Garros final. The slow, heavy and cold conditions with slow balls were the worst possible conditions for the 34-year old. Yet, the King of Clay showed just how sizible the gap in pedigree between the pair is.
A masterclass performance made the world no.1 look near pedestrian for the first time in quite a while in a Major setting. Nadal moved his rival around the court at will, with each shot packing depth and purpose. The Spaniard chased down rhythm-disruptive drop shots with ease, and was a rock from the baseline - ending the match with 31 winners to only 14 unforced errors. The Serb on the other hand lost more than half of his service points and hit a whopping 52 unforced errors to 38 winners, stats near unheard of from Novak. The King of Clay prevailed 6-0, 6-2, 7-5.
In a clay rematch in this year´s Rome Masters final, Nadal once again prevailed despite poor form, and apart from a sloppy second set which he lost 1-6 was again too strong.
We're set for sunny skies and warm weather for this semifinal contest, ideal conditions for Rafa in his near impregnable clay fortress that is Court Philippe-Chatrier. The tennis betting odds in the pair's recent Rome bout read Nadal -3.5 games over the Bo3 format. Now, in much stronger form over the Bo5 format, that line has only moved to -5 games.
That spread doesn't seem to have been adjusted enough by the top online sportsbooks. Given what transpired last year, it's unlikely that the King Of Clay's 105-2 record will be particularly threatened on this occasion, and even the world no. 1 might not be good for more than a set at most. That's not enough to stay within this number.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.