Carlos Alcaraz -1.5 games v Novak Djokovic 3pts 4-5 bet365, Hills
Casper Ruud v Alexander Zverev five-set match 1pt 21-10 BoyleSports
French Open men’s singles semi-finals preview
Carlos Alcaraz is 8-11 to win his first French Open men’s singles title in Paris on Sunday and it’s difficult to see that not happening.
The young Spaniard lines up against Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals at Roland Garros and while the Serb, who has taken tennis to new levels during his career, will hope that his vast experience helps him to thwart his younger opponent, the veteran may have to play second fiddle to one of the most dynamic forces the sport has ever seen.
Djokovic’s record on the French clay means he is second-favourite for the title, while there’s a potentially close encounter in the day’s other semi-final between Casper Ruud and the resurgent Alexander Zverev.
Carlos Alcaraz v Novak Djokovic predictions
Novak Djokovic headed for the French Open aiming to land a record 23rd Grand Slam singles title and pull one clear of great rival Rafael Nadal, with whom he is currently locked on 22 Major wins.
But the super Serb may have to wait for Wimbledon next month to take the lead in that battle given that world number one Carlos Alcaraz stands in his way in the last four at Roland Garros.
Top seed Alcaraz looks well placed to take on Nadal’s mantle of the king of clay and it would be no surprise to see the Murcian go on to win more fast-court Slams than Nadal, who recently announced that he plans to retire at the end of the 2024 season.
Alcaraz has dropped only one set on his way to the last four in Paris and his last three performances in ousting Denis Shapovalov, Lorenzo Musetti and, in particular, Stefanos Tsitsipas in double-quick time were nothing short of scintillating.
After claiming his first men’s Slam in the US Open last September, the belief is now there that he can add to that New York triumph on the French clay. And while Djokovic, now 36 years old, will use his vast experience to try to deny the 20-year-old, it’s difficult to see what the Serb can do to stem the tide of winners likely to come from his opponent.
Alcaraz is 1-2 to progress to the final, but with it being likely that he can win at least a couple of the three sets he requires in dominant fashion, the favourite can be backed at 4-5 to successfully concede just 1.5 games on the handicap to Djokovic.
Third seed Djokovic is a two-time French Open champion, of course, and has two wins to his name over Nadal at Roland Garros, in 2015 and 2021.
But the former world number one’s fine record on clay – he has won at least two titles at each of the four Slam tournaments – may still not save him against Alcaraz, who is one of the finest young talents the sport has ever seen.
Add to that the fact that this venue is likely to become Alcaraz’s playground in the coming years and it’s difficult to make a case for supporting experience over youth.
Casper Ruud v Alexander Zverev predictions
Casper Ruud has been producing the goods on a more consistent basis than his French Open semi-final foe Alexander Zverev, but it may be wrong to write off the German’s chances of defeating the Norwegian.
Just ask bookmakers, who make Zverev a narrow favourite for what looks a captivating, well-balanced contest.
Zverev has dropped just two sets on his path to the semis – Ruud has shipped three – while the German leads their personal series 2-1. All of their previous matches were on hard courts, though, and Ruud won their last meeting.
Ruud is bidding to go one better at Roland Garros than he did last year, when he was thrashed by Nadal in the final. He went on to reach the final of the US Open in September, too.
Zverev has made only one previous Slam final, at the US Open in 2020 when he took a two-set lead only to let Dominic Thiem fight back to take the glory in New York.
The German looks a more relaxed customer on court these days after a major foot injury sustained just over a year ago as well as personal issues.
Zverev hasn’t been performing at Ruud’s level, but he has looked confident in long rallies in Paris so rather than try to pick a matchwinner there could be value in backing the last-four clash to go to a deciding set, which has already been nibbled at by early punters.
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