French Open

2024 Men's French Open: Why 11/1 tip can challenge Sinner in Quarter 4

Hurkacz Sinner French Open
Practice partners: Hopefully Hurkacz learned a thing or two against practice partner Sinner

The top seeds will have to work for their rewards with none granted easy paths to the latter stages, explains tennis tipster Gavin Mair.

  • Injury doubts and tough draws for leading players

  • Outright pick Zverev assigned King of Clay in round one

  • Take on Sinner in 4th quarter

The men at the top of the betting market will not be sitting comfortably, with each afforded a tricky assignment to dig themselves through the draw.

Despite that oddsmakers have retained confidence in Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner making the semis with all priced below evens to get through their quarter.

Here I'll break down the men's draw and explain why it won't be plain sailing for these players.

Quarter 1

Djokovic is number one seed and leads the draw. He is priced at 5/61.84 to make the final four.

His first two rounds look as easy as can be. French wildcard Pierre-Hugues Herbert is unlikely to trouble Novak with his throwback serve-volley game, and both Roberto Carballes Baena and Constant Lestienne lack the repertoire to get close to the defending champion.

However, it starts to get interesting in round three.

Djokovic will likely play Gael Monfils or Lorenzo Musetti. Although Monfils has never beaten Djokovic in 19 career meetings maybe this is his moment against a post-peak Djokovic in his home Slam.

As for Musetti, the precocious Italian was two sets up on Djokovic when they met at the French Open back in 2021.

Get through that and its likely Madrid quarterfinalist Francisco Cerundolo or Rome semifinalist Tommy Paul. Of this pair I think Cerundolo has the tools to make it an interesting contest. The Argentine plays attacking tennis and enjoys the flows of a five set contest. At 25/126.00 to win the quarter Francisco Cerundolo is not an absurd pick.

Then to make the semifinal Djokovic will likely need to beat Casper Ruud who won their most recent meeting in Monte Carlo this season, and who was competitive in defeat to Djokovic in the 2023 French Open final.

This is a a hazardous draw on paper and at the very least should Djokovic come through his quarter, he should at some stage reach a higher price in-play than his quarter winner odds suggest.

Quarter 2

In my outright preview I suggested Alexander Zverev has a great chance of winning a first Grand Slam.

He has actually landed a favourable draw. Other than the fact his first opponent is the fourteen time champion, the King of Clay Rafael Nadal.

This is Nadal's last hurrah and it is certain whatever the Spaniard has left he will leave it out on court against Zverev. Betfair Exchange has settled on Zverev being a reasonable favourite to win at 1.282/7 but I'd be amazed if Nadal doesn't compete over a short distance and with the fresh legs of a first round encounter.

I'm still comfortable with the outright position but only a fool would suggest that getting past Nadal is going to be easy work.

Should Zverev survive, as I expect he will, the path ahead looks less treacherous.

Potential 4th round opponent Holger Rune is a player who is bang out of form, which is a pity as this is a tournament I expect he will regularly compete for during his career.

The second highest seed in this section is Daniil Medvedev who is a joker in the pack and a better hand on clay than he is given credit for, but lacks Zverev's natural aptitude for the dirt.

The first round draw against Nadal has lengthened Zverev's outright price since our pre-draw preview from 9.08/1 to 9.89/1. However, Zverev backers should be happy with his draw.

Quarter 3

This section is led by outright favourite Carlos Alcaraz 4.03/1. There are lingering question marks about his fitness, and his draw looks a potential minefield.

He is joined in this section by the in-form Madrid champion Andrey Rublev - who beat Alcaraz in the Spanish capital. The injury played its part that day but if Rublev can reproduce his excellent serving level from that encounter he will be able to compete.

In my pre-draw preview I selected Rublev as a contender for this tournament and he is certainly in with a shout of coming through this quarter.

Its not the only hazard for Alcaraz to confront as 2021 Roland Garros finalist and Monte Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas lies in wait.

The Greek star is going under the radar, and ELO ratings actually mark him as the best men's clay court player ahead of second placed Alcaraz.

I don't trust Tsitsipas to play his best when it matters but it is certainly not an opponent that Alcaraz will enjoy seeing over the net should they meet at the quarterfinal stage.

Quarter 4

This is the section of the draw headed by Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner. The Italian has been the best player on tour this season but how fit is he?

I'm struggling to envisage him as the French Open champion given that despite his form this remains his least convincing surface and he has barely played during the clay swing.

He doesn't have the worst of draws and should his fitness hold up there's not an obvious name that should trip him up before the quarter finals.

However, at that stage he is forecast to meet 8th seed Hubert Hurkacz.

The Polish player bagged a title in Estoril and has produced some strong performances throughout the clay swing including beating Nadal 1&3 in the Spaniard's final Rome appearance.

Sinner is far too short to win this quarter at 8/111.73 and I think Hurkacz represents value at the much more attractive 11/112.00 price, should he work his way through the draw.

This is not a quarter stacked with quality but Hurkacz has the most upside and he has split a 2/2 head to head record against the Italian.

Now read more of our French Open tips here!

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