As the ATP World Tour descends on Monte-Carlo this week for the first of three 1000 Masters event on the red dirt that lead to the French Open, odds makers have gone to press with tennis betting odds on who will win the tournament and, as expected, eight-time defending champion Rafael Nadal is the hot favorite to win outright. The only question therefore that needs to be answered: can anybody stop Nadal from winning a ninth straight title?
Join us as we breakdown the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters draw and deliver our tennis picks on which man, when the dust finally settles on Sunday’s much-anticipated final, will be left standing, victorious.
The top half of the draw: Djokovic leading the charge
There was some speculation after Djokovic sprained his ankle during Davis Cup action last week whether he would bother showing up at Monte-Carlo. Well, he did bother. And an audible sigh escaped from the lips of the tennis world. Let’s face it, Djokovic (listed at 10/3 betting odd to win outright at William Hill) is arguably the only player that has a viable shot against Nadal (tipped as the runaway 4/9 fave to win outright) on the red stuff right now and it only seems fitting that as the world No.1 player he be present during Nadal’s attempt at a ninth Monty title.
Of course, Djokovic has yet to test his ankle this week but with nobody better than No.14 seed Juan Monaco (an outrageous 100/1 to win outright) blocking his path to the quarterfinals, his quarter really has the distinct whiff of a cupcake draw. He begins his campaign in the R32 against Mikhail Youzhny, a former top ten player who has seen better days. Sure, Youzhny could rise to the occasion and he does have an encouraging H2H against Djokovic, trailing 3-4 to the Serbian. But form is a question mark, which suggests it’s rather unlikely he would trouble Djokovic. To give you an idea of what it would take, match betting odds have Djokovic instilled as the 1/14 fave while Youzhny is the 13/2 underdog.
Monaco (or potentially Gulbis) in the R16 could deposit competitive accounts against the Serbian (at least play a good set) but that’s about all. Frankly, Djokovic should trundle along into the quarters as unfazed as a suitcase trundling on a conveyor belt.
Where it would get interesting is in the quarters. He could face either No.12 Milos Raonic (66/1 to win outright) or No.5 Juan Martin Del Potro (12/1 to win outright). The former wouldn’t be a serious threat but the latter would. The Argentine recently dealt Djokovic a defeat in the semis at Indian Wells.
Indeed, this is the round to watch closely where Djokovic is concerned.
The semis could be intriguing for Djokovic with potential opponents such as No.4 Tomas Berdych (16/1 betting odds to win outright), No. 7 Richard Gasquet (25/1 to win outright) or No. 9 Marin Cilic (80/1 to win outright). But none smacks of smart money against Djokovic when he’s handled them easily before.
Bottom half of the Draw – Murray is the top seed but Nadal is the player to beat.
This is really Nadal’s half of the draw, although seeding suggests otherwise. To all intents and purposes, Andy Murray is the second seed in the tournament and the world No.2. But where clay is concerned and, especially, where this event that Nadal has dominated so completely since 2005 is concerned, Murray’s ranking advantage is a non-factor. To illustrate, Murray is listed at betting odds of 14/1 to win outright at William Hill while Nadal is the runaway fave at 4/9.
Nadal is slated to begin his quest for a ninth Monty title on Wednesday and his quarter of the draw, at first glance, appears to be a cakewalk into the semis with Marinko Matosevic of Australia in the R32 and No.16 Philip Kohlschreiber in the R16.
The quarters just got better looking for Nadal with No.8 seed Janko Tipsarevic bumped out of the tournament by Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria – not that he really needed much help. The Bulgarian could be a potential challenger in the quarters as well as Florian Mayer, though none screams trouble for Nadal.
The semi-final round is the round to watch for Nadal. Here things could get interesting for Nadal with threats such as Murray, No.6 Jo Wilfried Tsonga, No.10 Nicolas Almagro and No.13 Stanislas Wawrinka emerging. On a good day, any of these players can beat Nadal. None however has accomplished the feat on clay. In fact, few players have. It’s a tall order.
Tennis Free Picks: To sum it all up, it’s highly probable that we will have the dream final between Djokovic and Nadal. Whichever way it’s sliced, value can be had on both sides of the coin. But the edge would go to Nadal in Monte-Carlo, hands down.
Nadal to win outright at betting odds of 4/9 at William Hill and in straight sets.