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Can anyone rain on Nadal’s parade at Roland Garros?

| 29.05.2018

So far only the rain has been able to stop Rafael Nadal on his crusade for a record 11th French Open title.

The Spanish star was briefly halted by the weather on his way to a 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 victory over Simone Boletti in the first round at Roland Garros.

It’s Guido Pella up next for the 31-year-old as he bids to retain his Grand Slam title after beating Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka in the final 12 months ago.

He’s 2/5 to accomplish the feat. And it’s easy to see why.

For a start, he’s the master on clay. His 10 previous titles at Rolland Garros are testament to that.

Add in his recent form on the ATP Tour and it should come as no surprise that Nadal remains the heavy favourite in the French capital.

The 6ft 1in ace warmed up for the tournament with success in the Monte Carlo Masters, Barcelona Open and the Italian Open.

To reel off that hat-trick so soon after being forced to pull out of the Australian Open in January is testament to the star’s ability.

It also goes to show the unenviable task his competitors have of unseating Nadal. Only three players have won the tournament since he claimed his first French Open in 2005.

Of that trio, Roger Federer is not competing this year and Wawrinka has already been knocked out.

That leaves Novak Djokovic, after the Serbian saw off Rogerio Dutra da Silva in the first round.

However, the 31-year-old has not gone beyond the quarter-final of a Grand Slam since reaching the US Open Final in 2016.

That doesn’t bode well for Djokovic, who has lost in six of his seven head-to-head meetings with Nadal at Roland Garros.

His bare form on the ATP Tour also leaves a lot to be desired, with just a single semi-final appearance in the Italian Open to show for his efforts in 2018 thus far.

So could it be down to the exciting young German talent Alexander Zverev (7/1) to stop the Nadal juggernaut?

His build-up would suggest yes. The 20-year-old reached the semi-finals in Monte Carlo before winning in Munich and Madrid.

But his Grand Slam form would suggest no. The 6ft 6in giant has yet to advance past the fourth round of a major tournament and was downed in the third round of the Australian Open earlier in the year.

Clay appears to be his surface, though, and after narrowly losing out to Nadal in Rome, pundits and fans alike are wondering whether the apprentice could beat the master in France.

Dominic Thiem (12/1) is the only other contender priced below 30/1 by our traders.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing



Nick Murphy

Nick is a graduate of the UEA where he doubled up as the sports editor of the student newspaper. He supports Dagenham & Redbridge and previously edited the matchday programme at Victoria Road. Darts and Horse Racing are among his other favourite sports.