French Open Semi-final Picks: Nadal vs. Murray

Nila Amerova

Thursday, June 5, 2014 6:28 PM GMT

Will Nadal prevail yet again in his beloved French Open Kingdom, or will Andy Murray do the unthinkable, and dethrone the King?  Find out as we weigh in on this matchup, and serve up our tennis picks.


Rafael Nadal the hot favourite
It should come as no surprise that Rafael Nadal enters his semi-final clash with Andy Murray as the runaway favourite at -800. What is somewhat surprising, however, is Nadal’s price tag to win the tournament itself, which is at +120, behind Novak Djokovic at -110. It simply goes against reason to have the eight-time champion listed as the second favourite to win an event he’s dominated with impunity over a decade almost.

In any event, he’ll prove to be a value tennis pick at +120 if he does actually win his NINTH French Open title. In order to have a chance to accomplish the feat, Nadal will have to get past Andy Murray in the semi-finals first. If their clash in the semi-finals of the Rome Masters were a preview of what’s to come, Nadal is in for a dogfight, surely. Andy Murray showed that he was more than up for the challenge beating Nadal on clay presents. Why, he had him on the ropes, and, even, for a set and a half, outplayed the King of Clay on his turf.

Andy Murray is a large +500 underdog to beat Rafael Nadal, and an impossible +1200 to win the French Open title. Clearly, odds makers aren’t putting much stock in the British No.1. Nadal, however, won’t be taking anything for granted. For that reason, amongst many others, Murray is in with a notional chance to do the unthinkable: dethrone the King of Clay at the French Open. 

Nadal breezed through the first four rounds, before facing his first real challenge in the quarterfinals, against compatriot David Ferrer, who gave it his all, pushing Nadal to the brink for the first two sets, before simply running out of ideas. Nadal dropped the first set 4-6, but stormed back to win the second set, 6-4. Once he’d drawn level in the match, he dug his heels in, and swept the next two sets 6-0, 6-1. The last two sets don’t do Ferrer justice at all; he played better than the one-sided score line suggests, however, Nadal simply played better as the match went on and wore down Ferrer in the process.

Andy Murray has put in a lot of court time in Paris, more than any of the semi-finalists. He dropped a set in his opening match, and twice he went the distance: in the third round, he beat Kohlschreiber 12-10 in the fifth set; in the quarterfinals, he beat Monfils 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 1-6, 6-0. 


Tennis Betting Verdict: Nadal is correctly tipped the favourite at -800 to win outright, but he won’t be taking anything for granted. Tennis bettors in-the-know, know Nadal’s maxim: to never underestimate an opponent. He always gives a player the respect they deserve, no matter their ranking and experience. That said he might have been a little surprised by Murray in Rome, as were most pundits and experts alike. Up to then, Murray wasn’t exactly known for his clay court skills. Now, though, he is, and Rafa will know what to expect.

You can also bet Uncle Toni and Nadal will be better prepared. If Murray is to come good on his +500 odds, he’ll need to throw the kitchen sink at Nadal. You can expect no less from the class of Britain, but the fact remains that he has spent a lot of time on court, and it remains to be seen how much he has left in him.


Tennis Free Picks: Nadal to win at -800; Three or four sets at -125 or +250