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Nadal’s shaky first round pushes his French Open odds out to 1/1

| 25.05.2011

He had previously never dropped a set in a first round match at Roland Garros but Rafael Nadal was made to fight for his second round place yesterday.

The big-serving John Isner took the second and third sets off Nadal before the Spaniard showed his class in the final two sets dropping just six games, but the manner of Nadal’s performance has seen his French Open odds drift.

4/11 just three weeks ago, two final defeats to Novak Djokovic and a shaky performance yesterday means Nadal is now as big as 1/1 to win his sixth French Open title.

Having won five of the six French Open tournaments that he’s played in, the 1/1 for Nadal winning a sixth looks incredible value considering he’s unlikely to face Djokovic until the final.

To put Nadal’s first round in perspective, the world number one played a player ranked 39 in the world while Novak Djokovic faced an opponent ranked 71 and Andy Murray faced a qualifier.

Nadal now faces fellow countryman Pablo Andujar (ranked 48) in the second round and Nadal’s toughest opponent between now and the quarter-finals looks likely to be Robin Soderling – a man who hasn’t won a match of note since the Australian Open.

Andy Murray or Jurgen Melzer look likely semi-final opponents for the man who has lost just six matches on clay since winning his first French Open in 2005, and Nadal looks a huge price to register his sixth French Open final.

Djokovic cruised through his first round match but Juan Martin del Potro could await the Serb in the third round and the Argentine should give Djokovic a run for his money.

Djokovic should prevail and Nadal is 5/2 to beat Djokovic in the final, but the Serb may see his French Open odds of 11/8 drift should he be taken five sets by del Potro.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.