The French Open draws to a conclusion on Sunday with the men's singles final, with Rafa Nadal's clash with Stan Wawrinka available on Betfair Live Video. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, is back to run the numbers...
"Overall, the Spaniard leads their head to head series 15-3, although it's worth noting that from 2014 onwards, it's 3-3, so Wawrinka has managed to solve at least part of the match-up issue that saw Nadal win 26 consecutive sets to none in the process of establishing a 12-0 head to head lead."
French Open final the prelude to grass season
Our successful French Open campaign concludes today, with the ATP Tour moving to the grass season from Monday, in the run-up to Wimbledon. Later on today, I'll publish an article which looks closer at the differing dynamics from clay to grass, and look at the characteristics of the upcoming grass court tournaments.
Before any ball is hit on grass on the main tour, we do have the small matter of the men's singles final of the French Open, and to the surprise of no-one, Rafa Nadal has made it to the final, keeping his 2017 clay record of just one defeat intact.
Wawrinka in front of Nadal and ten French Open titles
Stan Wawrinka is the man that stands in front of the King of Clay and ten French Open titles. There is little doubt already that Nadal is the greatest clay courter of all time, but winning ten titles in one single Grand Slam would further rubber-stamp his legend.
Something has to give. Nadal has won all of his nine finals at this event, while Wawrinka is 3-0 in Grand Slam finals, winning all in four sets - twice after losing the first set.
As Wawrinka displayed in coming back from a deficit twice against Andy Murray in their semi-final on Friday, the Swiss player saves his best tennis for the biggest stages and anyone considering writing him off as the next player in line to be destroyed by Nadal would do well to remember this.
Wawrinka has improved in recent head to head matches
However, Nadal has a very strong record over Wawrinka throughout their careers. Overall, the Spaniard leads their head to head series 15-3, although it's worth noting that from 2014 onwards, it's 3-3, so Wawrinka has managed to solve at least part of the match-up issue that saw Nadal win 26 consecutive sets to none in the process of establishing a 12-0 head to head lead.
Despite Wawrinka's head to head improvement, Nadal is a clear favourite to take the title, currently available at [1.21] on the Exchange. My model made this a little generous, but not unduly so, and hence we can establish that there is little in the way of pre-match betting value on either player in this match.
This isn't entirely surprising - as I've mentioned a number of times, matches in the latter stages of Grand Slams between two high-profile players rarely offer significant pre-match value, as player expectations are well established, but we can look at in-play options for the match.
Wawrinka a vulnerable front-runner in today's final
These options revolve largely around opposing Wawrinka when leading. As a heavy underdog, he'd have to take a significant lead to make our lay price reasonably low, so I'm thinking that a set and break, 2-0 and a break, 2-1 and a break or a break up in the final set would be reasonable entry points.
My rationale regarding this strategy is straightforward. Nadal has broken opponents 46.2% of the time in the last 12 months on clay - truly unrivalled numbers - and despite Wawrinka's serve being solid on the surface, holding 85.6% of the time in the same time period, the Swiss' projected hold percentage is in the low 60%s.
With this in mind, Nadal is extremely likely to be able to threaten Wawrinka's serve on a relatively consistent basis, and Wawrinka's price is more likely than average to increase via being broken back in these spots. If we get the break-back, we can hedge for profit, but if Wawrinka avoids being broken back, the recommendation is to hedge for a loss at the end of each set.
Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings
Dan's French Open 2017 P/L
(individual match bets)
8.12 units up
2017 overall, including outrights
17.74 units up
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