The second tennis Grand Slam of the calendar year is coming down to the wire. Just eight months after the tournament was last held, the 2021 French Open will conclude this weekend with the semifinal and championship matches. As it seemingly always does, Roland Garros has delivered. This year’s men’s final four is a talented group with a whole lot of Grand Slam success between them.
Friday morning’s first men’s semifinal will feature Germany’s Alexander Zverev taking on Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas. This marks the best-ever showing Zverev has had on the clay courts in Paris. Meanwhile, Tsitsipas finds himself in the French Open semifinals for the second straight year. The second match features a former Roland Garros champion against the most dominant clay court player that tennis has ever known. Novak Djokovic is rarely such a large-scale betting underdog, but such is the case as he takes on 13-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal.
The following is a betting preview for both of the French Open men’s semifinals. Read on for the match odds, analysis, and betting picks to help get you ready for Friday’s tennis action.
French Open Men’s Semifinals Details
Date: Friday, Jun. 11, 2021
Venue: Court Phillippe-Chartier at Stade Roland Garros — Paris, FR
Start Time: 8:50 a.m. EST
Coverage: Tennis Channel (NBC and NBCSN will also begin coverage at 11 a.m.)
French Open Men’s Semifinals Betting Odds and Picks
All odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
(5) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. (6) Alexander Zverev
Moneyline: Tsitsipas: (-265) | Zverev: (+210)
Games Spread: Tsitsipas: -4.5 (-122) | Zverev: +4.5 (+100)
Total Games: 38.5 — Over: (-112) | Under: (-112)
After reaching the Australian Open semifinals earlier this year, Stefanos Tsitsipas is back for another shot at his first Grand Slam championship. The 22-year-old Greek has a bright future ahead of him. A French Open title would only accelerate his path to true superstar status. Tsitsipas is no stranger to the final weekend at Roland Garros. He lost a grueling five-set semifinal match to Novak Djokovic in Paris last fall.
Tsitsipas has seemingly encountered little resistance on his path through the draw thus far. He has only been pushed beyond three sets one time in his first five matches of the tournament. Considering three of his victories have come against seeded opponents, that’s quite impressive. American John Isner took the first set in his Third Round match before Tsitsipas took control to win in four. He followed up that win with a Fourth Round triumph over 12th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta and a solid straight-sets victory over 2-seed Daniil Medvedev in the Quarterfinals on Tuesday.
Alexander Zverev joins Tsitsipas in making this the semifinal of young guns compared to the veteran players in Friday’s second matchup. The 24-year-old German is also seeking his first career Grand Slam title. He reached both the championship match at the U.S. Open and the semifinals of the Australian Open last year. This marks his best showing at Roland Garros.
In a way, it’s hard to believe Zverev nearly bowed out of this French Open in the very first round. After rallying from two sets down to defeat qualifier Oscar Otte, Zverev has not dropped a set since. Unlike Tsitsipas, however, he is yet to face a seeded opponent in this tournament. His most notable opponent to date was Kei Nishikori, whom he dispatched in the Fourth Round.
The betting odds have sided pretty heavily with Tsitsipas ahead of this semifinal matchup. Looking at the previous head-to-head matchups between the two players, it’s understandable why. Tsitsipas has won five of seven prior meetings, including the only one played on a clay court surface. The two went at it in the Acapulco Open earlier this year, with Zverev winning that meeting in straight sets.
Only two prior meetings between Tsitsipas and Zverev have extended to a third set, including the clay-court dual in 2019. With this being a Grand Slam stage and both players rolling through their opponents thus far, it’s hard to envision either cruising to a straight-sets win on Friday. The favored Tsitsipas should get the job done, but four sets should result in the total games going over. Depending on your handicap, playing over anywhere from 36.5-38.5 is reasonable.
Best Bet: Over 38.5 Total Games (-112 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
(1) Novak Djokovic vs. (3) Rafael Nadal
Moneyline: Djokovic: (+230) | Nadal: (-295)
Games Spread: Djokovic: +4.5 (+106) | Nadal: -4.5 (-132)
Total Games: 37.5 — Over: (-108) | Under: (-115)
At 34 years of age, Novak Djokovic continues to show no signs of slowing down. After claiming his third straight Australian Open title earlier this year, the Joker is once again back in the semifinals at Roland Garros. He has an opportunity to perhaps exact some revenge for his straight-sets loss in last year’s final. Although Djokovic is regularly playing deep into the tournament, his 2016 triumph remains his only career French Open championship.
After cruising to straight-set victories in each of the first three rounds, Djokovic has run into a little more resistance recently on his path to the semifinals. He dropped each of the first two sets in his Fourth Round match against upstart Lorenzo Musetti before rallying. Musetti was forced to retire due to injury in the final set cinching the win for Djokovic. His Quarterfinals matchup against 9-seed Matteo Berrettini saw Djokovic take a commanding 2-0 lead on his way to winning in four sets.
While Djokovic may be the number one seed in the French Open draw and the top-ranked player in the world at present, it’s a well-known fact that Rafael Nadal is the king of the clay. Of his 20 career Grand Slam titles, 13 of them have come at Roland Garros. He has won each of the last four editions of the French Open, dating back to Djokovic’s only title in 2016.
The 35-year-old Spaniard is still in a class of his own on the clay. Coming into Friday’s semifinal, he has dropped but a single set in the French Open to date. He cruised through each of his first four opponents, including a straight-sets win in the Fourth Round over 18th-seeded Jannik Sinner. The only player to win a set against Nadal in the tournament thus far was Diego Schwartzman. That said, his taking the second set in their Quarterfinals match only seemed to invigorate Nadal all the more. He would go on to dominate sets three and four to advance.
Friday’s French Open semifinal will between the 58th meeting in the longstanding rivalry between Djokovic and Nadal. Joker holds a 29-28 advantage across all of the matches, but Nadal has unsurprisingly fared much better on clay. The two most recent matchups were both straight-set victories for Nadal, including last year’s French Open final and the championship match at the ATP Masters in Rome earlier this year. One would have to go back to that same tournament in 2016 to find the last time Djokovic beat Nadal on clay. Djokovic’s only win in eight prior French Open matches against Nadal came in 2015.
Nadal has been viewed as a massive French Open betting favorite going back to the pre-tournament futures odds. He has looked every bit like his dominant self once again on the clay courts of Roland Garros throughout the draw. The match odds speak for themselves in terms of just how big of a favorite he is. Bettors should have no hesitation in laying the 4.5 games with Nadal here. DraftKings also offers any number of alternate game spreads. A potential plus-money payout can be obtained by laying a fifth game (-5.5 at +106) with the 13-time champ.
Best Bet: Rafael Nadal -4.5 Games (-132 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
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