Men’s French Open Championship Betting Picks: #1 Rafael Nadal vs #2 Novak Djokovic

2014 French Open Tennis Championship
Men’s Final

#1 Rafael Nadal (-120) vs #2 Novak Djokovic (+105)
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Roland Garros – Paris, France
Playing Surface: Red Clay
Sunday, June 8, 2014, 9:00 am Eastern, TV: NBC

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic meet for the French Open title Sunday in Paris. Nadal is a slight favorite to win his 9th French Open title
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic meet for the French Open title Sunday in Paris. Nadal is a slight favorite to win his 9th French Open title

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic meet in a grand slam final for the sixth time Sunday in the Final of the 2014 French Open. Each has won three times against the other The winner will become #1 in Monday’s ATP rankings. Both are also playing for history as well.

Nadal has won 8 titles in Paris, including 4 straight, and has only lost one match ever at Roland Garros back in 2009. No men’s player has ever won 9 grand slam titles at the same event. Margaret Court won 11 Australian Open titles and Martina Navratilova won 9 Wimbledon titles on the women’s side. Djokovic can become the ninth player in the open era to win the career grand slam with a win.

Nadal from Spain just turned 28 during the French Open. Nadal has 13 major titles, including the career grand slam. He lost in the the finals at the Australian Open to Stanislas Wawrinka when Nadal was battling a bad back.

Nadal is 40-6 this season with titles in Madrid and Rio both on clay, plus a hard court title at Doha. Nadal also has runner-ups at Rome, Miami, and the Australian.

Djokovic who has six major titles, is looking for his first French Open title. Djokovic has suffered heartbreaking losses to Nadal in the French the last two years, including in the semifinals last year.

He lost in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open this year to eventual champion Stanislas Wawrinka. Djokovic had won the Australian Open 3 straight times before this year. It broke a string of 14 straight majors of at least making the semifinals for Djokovic.

Djokovic is 30-3 this season with titles at Rome, Miami, and Indian Wells. He missed a few weeks recently with a wrist injury but returned just before the French Open to beat Nadal in the finals at Rome on clay in three sets.

Nadal is the #1 seed in the French Open. He beat Robby Ginepri in the first round, Dominic Thiem in the second round, Leonardo Mayer in the third, Dusan Lajovic in the fourth, #5 David Ferrer in the quarters and #7 Andy Murray in the semifinals 6-3, 6-2, 6-1. Ferrer won the second set against Nadal, but otherwise he hasn’t dropped another set. In fact, only Mayer won more than 4 games in a set to Nadal when he lost the second set 7-5.

Nadal steamrolled Murray in the semifinals in just over an hour and a half. Nadal had 2 aces and 2 double faults. Murray had 2 aces and 3 double faults. Nadal scored on 91% of his first serves and 57% on second serves. Murray was at 63% and 34% respectively. Nadal won 10 of 11 net points and Murray was 4/7. Nadal converted all six break points, and Murray did not attempt a single break point. Nadal had 24 winners and 15 unforced errors. Murray had 11 and 26.

Djokovic is the #2 seed but he was the slight favorite over Nadal before the tournament. Djokovic beat Joao Sousa in the first round, Jeremy Chardy in the second round, #25 Marin Cilic in the third round, #13 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the fourth, #8 Milos Raonic in the quarters, and #18 Ernests Gulbis 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in the semifinals. Gulbis had upset Roger Federer earlier in the tournament.  Cilic won a set in a tiebreaker against Djokovic, but no one else besides Gulbis won another set.

Djokovic had 9 aces and 1 double fault against Gulbis in the semis. Gulbis had 13 and 5 respectively. Djokovic was at 80% on first serves and 43% on second serves. Gulbis was at 70% and 53%. Djokovic converted 10 of 21 net points and Gulbis was 17/22. Djokovic was 5/10 on break points and Gulbis was 2/7. Djokovic had 30 winners and 25 unforced errors. Gulbis had 40 and 44. Even though Djokovic had to go the extra set, his match took just over two and a half hours.

Nadal leads the series 22-19 against Djokovic, but Djokovic has won 4 straight including a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win in the Final at Rome on Clay last month. Each has beaten the other 3 times in a grand slam final, but Nadal won the last one at the US Open last year. Nadal is 5-0 against Djokovic at Roland Garros. This is the third straight year Nadal and Djokovic have met in the French Open, including a tough five set win for Nadal in the semifinals last year where he took the fifth set 9-7.

Djokovic is closing the distance between himself and Nadal on clay. He has beaten him four times on clay but always in three set matches instead of five and never at Roland Garros. I think Nadal holds him off for at least one more year and takes his 9th French title in five sets.

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