Despite losing his first set in Paris for three years, Rafael Nadal’s bid for an 11th French title is still on. The Spaniard faces old foe Juan Martin del Potro in the semi-finals, while Dominic Thiem takes on unheralded Italian Marco Cecchinato.
Here’s your complete betting guide to the men’s semi-finals at the 2018 French Open.
Nadal continues bid for 11th title
It looked for all the world as if former champions Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were heading for a meeting in this year’s final, but an Italian qualifier caused one of the biggest surprises in recent Grand Slam history.
It’s worth repeating that Marco Cecchinato had never won a Grand Slam match before arriving at Roland Garros, although he’s now beaten three seeds – including two of the top ten – on his way to a hugely unlikely semi-final.
Perhaps his maiden ATP tournament win in April should have alerted us to his talent, but the world number 72 has exceeded all expectations this week and now the 25-year-old plays the talented Dominic Thiem for a place in Sunday’s final.
The Austrian has reached the semi-final in Paris for the third year in a row and he will fancy his chances of making a first Grand Slam final having been beaten by the top seed at this stage in each of the last two years.
The number 7 seed has dropped a few sets along the way this year, but looked in excellent form in despatching number 2 seed Alexander Zverev in the last round for the loss of just seven games. Thiem should win this at 1/9 but Cecchinato did win their one previous meeting on clay (although that was five years ago) and if you fancy the Italian to continue his fairytale run you can back him at 9/2.
An overnight rain break helped to preserve Rafael Nadal’s stunning record in Paris as the Spaniard came from a set down to beat Diego Schwartzman.
The number 11 seed had become the first man since 2015 to take a set off Nadal at Roland Garros, but the intervention of the weather helped the world number one to regroup and move a step closer to an 11th title.
After his win Nadal said: “After the first rain delay, the match changed a lot because I played more aggressive with high intensity and things were more on my side. Before it I was not opening the court with the backhand. I was playing too behind the baseline. He was taking the ball earlier than me.
“I had the feeling he had control of the point too many times to have the chance to be successful.”
Nadal now plays Juan Martin del Potro who had tears of joy after reaching the semis in Paris for the first time in almost a decade.
The number 5 seed beat Marin Cilic for the eighth consecutive time to take his place in the last four at Roland Garros for the first time since 2009.
After his win the Argentinean could now control his delight. He said: “It’s been a long time without a good feeling with my body. I had three surgeries on my wrist and I was close to quitting the sport.”
Nadal has a 9–5 record over his opponent, and won the most recent meeting between the pair. The world number one overcame del Potro in four sets at this stage of the US Open and he is just 1/9 to progress to Sunday’s final.
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.
Also published on Medium.