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Roland Garros 2024: Who will win the men's tournament ?

The second part of our feature on Roland Garros, today, looks at the men's draw, the contenders, the favourites and the opportunities.

The second Grand Slam of the year gets underway on Sunday, May 26, with the best players in the world descending on Paris for the French Open, won last year by Novak Djokovic.

Big three worth taking on ?

Novak Djokovic, Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz are the current big three in the men’s game and it is no surprise to see that they dominate the French Open betting, given they have shared the last seven Grand Slam titles between them.

World number one Djokovic has won two of the last three titles at Roland Garros, which includes last season, but his preparations for the defence of his crown have been poor.

The Serb has played in only four events since the Australian Open in January and during the clay-court season he was been beaten by Casper Ruud in the semi-finals of the Monte Carlos Masters and suffered a shocking defeat to Alejandro Tabilo in the last 32 in Rome.

So there is a vulnerable look to the 36-year-old’s outright odds of 3.31* in his bid for a 25th Grand Slam title, while the same can be said for Alcaraz, with the Spanish sensation opting to use the Madrid Open as his only warm-up event prior to the French Open in Paris.

Alcaraz was beaten in the quarter-finals by Andrey Rublev in his homeland event earlier this month and has to be taken on as the 3.08* favorite in his pursuit of a first French Open success.

With Sinner, who claimed his maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open earlier in the season, not even a guaranteed starter following his quarter-final withdrawal in Madrid with a hip injury, there looks to be plenty of room for an upset. The Italian is listed at 5.15* to add to his major haul next month.

 Big three worth taking on ?

Zverev and Tsitsipas ready to strike

If that illustrious trio falters then Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are the two that look most likely to capitalize.

Zverev claimed clay-court silverware in a Masters 1000 event in Rome most recently, dropping only one set across his six matches, while he has reached the French Open semi-finals in each of the last three seasons. He is definitely worth considering at odds of 6.18*.

The case for Tsitsipas at 7.71* is similarly compelling.

The Greek star had an underwhelming 2023, but success at the Monte Carlo Masters in April followed by a runner-up effort in Barcelona suggests he is right back to his best. They are two of the biggest clay-court events in the calendar outside of the French Open. Also keep in mind Tsitsipas lost to Djokovic in the final at Roland Garros in 2021, having surrendered a two-set lead.

Nadal hoping for one last hurrah

This has been Rafael Nadal’s tournament over the years, with the legendary Spaniard lifting 14 French Open titles, the most recent of which came in 2022.

However, the 37-year-old’s playing days are dwindling as he is regularly plagued by injury issues, and has looked a shadow of his former self so far this season. He has failed to make the quarter-finals in any of his three clay-court preparation events and can be opposed at 14.39*.

Holger Rune, at 23.62*, is an interesting contender but Casper Ruud’s title credentials are there for all to see at 11.30*.

The Norwegian finished runner-up to Nadal and Djokovic in the last two French Opens and he is the true definition of a clay-court specialist, having won 10 of his 11 career titles on the slower surface.

Cerundolo could be a shock contender

At 72.83*, one player who could outrun his odds is Francisco Cerundolo. The Argentinian made the last 16 at Roland Garros last year, beating ninth seeded Taylor Fritz before losing a five-set epic to number six seed Holger Rune.

Cerundolo, at 25 years of age, still has plenty of time on his side and has made three clay-court finals in his career, winning the Swedish Open two seasons ago. The slower surface brings out the best in the world number 23, and in a tournament that looks more wide open this year, he could be a surprise title contender.

*Odds subject to change

Thursday, May 23, 2024

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