French Open Men's Outright Tips: Ruud and Krajinovic big prices to win quarters

Serbian Tennis Player Filip Krajinovic
Filip Krajinovic can be a threat to Stefanos Tsitsipas in quarter two...

Following Thursday night's draw, there's plenty to discuss ahead of the French Open, which starts tomorrow. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, returns to give his thoughts...

"Krajinovic is capable of easing himself into round three with clashes against Nikola Milojevic and probably Aljaz Bedene, and at this stage he’d meet Tsitsipas, who doesn’t have the easiest start."

Djokovic the big winner from Thursday's draw

Novak Djokovic was the big winner from Thursday night's draw, with Dominic Thiem being placed in Rafa Nadal's bottom half of the draw. Djokovic got fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas seeded to meet him in the semi-finals.

This has seen a profound movement in the outright market. Djokovic is now into 11/53.15 from around 3/14.0, with Thiem easing to 11/26.4 and Nadal - after his loss in Rome at the hands of Diego Schwartzman - now out to 5/42.30, after trading a shade of odds-on prior to that loss in Italy.

Lop-sided field with the top three likely to dominate

No other player is priced below the 49/150.0 mark, which is an accurate illustration of the difficulty that any other player has in getting past what can now be described as the elite trio on clay at this current point in time.

If we needed to demonstrate further how lop-sided the field is in this tournament, a Djokovic versus Nadal final is currently priced at 7/5 with the Sportsbook - essentially, around a 40% chance - and realistically, there isn't going to be much scope to look at quarter winners in Djokovic's quarter one, and Nadal's quarter four. They are both heavy odds-on to win their bracket at the time of writing.

Djokovic's main threats come from Matteo Berrettini and Cristian Garin, among others - two players I was keen to see placed in a different bracket - but overall, the world number one will be delighted with his draw. It's not a surprise at all to see him being backed in on the Exchange.

Nadal remains the best player in the field

As for Nadal, matters are more complicated. Thiem in the semi-finals was one that the King of Clay would have been hoping Djokovic had, while Nadal also has Alexander Zverev in his quarter, as well as the unpredictable Fabio Fognini, who has already had several successes against Nadal on clay, including a real shock last year in the semi-finals of Monte Carlo. Again, it's not a huge surprise to see the negative market movement, although based on my data, he remains the best player on clay in the draw by some distance - although he probably would have preferred more court time in Rome, and according to media reports, is complaining about the cold temperatures in Paris.

Ruud can threaten potentially rusty Thiem

Thiem was placed in quarter three, and there's plenty to dislike about his draw as well. Again, unsurprising that he is not getting much market support. His clash with Marin Cilic in round one is arguably the tie of the round, with the former world number three, Cilic, one of the toughest unseeded players in the draw. It doesn't get much better for Thiem after that either, with the big-serving Reilly Opelka a potential hurdle in round two, before a likely round three clash with the highly talented Norwegian, Casper Ruud. Particularly considering he's not played on clay since his US Open - reportedly due to a little achilles problem - Thiem may be a little rusty for his round one match.

I like Ruud a lot - he was shortlisted in the pre-draw preview, and I've seen worse prices than the 17/118.0 on the Exchange for Ruud to win quarter three. He looks to have come out of lockdown playing at an extremely high level, and is a real clay-courter as well - two factors which seem to have been a bit of a common denominator among those who have impressed in the clay warm-up events since the tour resumed.

Of course, there are hurdles - I'm not liking him overplaying this week in Hamburg after reaching the semi-finals last week in Rome, and Ruud faces Andrey Rublev shortly in the semi-finals in Germany. Ideally, he'd lose that one and get to Paris as quickly as possible. However, Ruud has a gift opening two rounds and should be able to ease himself into the tournament without expending a huge amount of effort. He can be considered at a decent price to win Q3.

Krajinovic capable of progress in quarter two

Finally, in quarter two, Stefanos Tsitsipas is the market favourite in what looks a very open bracket indeed. Speaking yesterday on a live broadcast, we described this as the 'quarter of life' and there are a number of players who will fancy their chances of making the latter stages.

As opposed to the 11/43.75 on Tsitsipas, or the 7/1 about Daniil Medvedev, I much prefer Andrey Rublev at 6/1 or the 16/1 about Filip Krajinovic, with the Sportsbook. Rublev, though, has a little bit of a tricky start to his campaign - the current version of Sam Querrey in round one should be overcome, but Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in round two could be a test, before last year's Monte Carlo finalist, Dusan Lajovic, potentially in round three.

Krajinovic is capable of getting himself into round three without an abundance of difficulty, with clashes against Nikola Milojevic and probably Aljaz Bedene, and at this stage he'd meet Tsitsipas, who doesn't have the easiest start. Round one opponent for Tsitsipas Jaume Munar is a competent clay courter, while probable round two opponent Pablo Cuevas still has decent clay numbers despite his advancing years. It's far from easy in the early rounds for Tsitsipas, and I think Krajinovic can give him a test at a decent price here.


Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings

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