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French Open tips: Casper Ruud looks a smart play to go deep at Roland Garros

The King of Clay is dead, long live the King.

In the end Rafael Nadal’s love story with the French Open did not get the happy ending it deserved after he lost in round one to German fourth seed Alexander Zverev on Monday, but he leaves a legacy in Paris unlikely ever to be matched.

If this really was au revoir, he exits with a scarcely believable 112-4 win-loss record and fourteen titles spanning nearly two decades.

His eternal rival Roger Federer has been retired for a while, but Novak Djokovic refuses to go gentle into that good night and is 4/1 joint-second favourite to win in Paris.

Djokovic began his French Open title defence with a solid win over home hope Pierre-Hugues Herbert, but there’s a feeling he is going to have to up his game if he is to be competitive this year.

The Serb has endured a turbulent season and has yet to play in an ATP final. It’s one thing beating 142nd-ranked wildcard Herbert, but the acid test as always will come in the second week against the red dirt elite.

The Serb himself says he has "low expectations but high hopes" when it comes to retaining his French Open title, and his draw has not been great.

He is in the same quarter as Casper Ruud, a two-time finalist here who beat Nole for the first time in his career earlier this season (at the sixth attempt) in the semis of the Monte Carlo Masters.

Ruud has lost three Grand Slam finals but there’s no denying he knows his way around a clay court and current 21/10 quotes from Planet Sport Bet that he wins Quarter 1 look tempting. 

Ruud only faced one break point during his 6-3 6-4 6-3 victory against Felipe Meligeni Alves. The Norwegian 25-year-old never looked in any danger throughout the contest and will be privately pleased with his performance.




He does not play ‘Lights Out’ tennis but most things well, and he is the fifth favourite for the title (15/2 with Planet Sport Bet).

Djokovic turned 37 last week and as his peers Nadal and Andy Murray prepare for life after tennis after this year, it is becoming increasingly clear he is chasing a young man’s dream on middle age legs.

You can never rule out a 24-time Grand Slam champion, and it would be peak Djokovic to see him win here after a massively underwhelming season so far.

However Ruud is in really good form and won an ATP 250 event in Geneva at the weekend so will feel confident of making it two wins in a row against the GOAT should they meet in the quarters.

Against Ruud in Monte Carlo he actually won more points in the match but double-faulted on Ruud's match point to confirm the result and end a nail-biting decider.

If both men get to the quarter-finals it should be another epic, but Ruud looks a smart play against a Hall-of-Famer struggling woefully in terms of form.


Suggested bet:

Casper Ruud to win the men’s Quarter 1 at 21/10 (Planet Sport Bet)


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