We’re continuing our French Open predictions with selections for the men’s semi-finals at Roland Garros and reckon both underdogs can be competitive.
Punters can get a bwin price boost of 5/2 for each of the outsiders to win at least one set and that looks a value bet in tough conditions.
However, the feeling is that the two big favourites will ultimately set up a dream decider.
Rafael Nadal to beat Diego Schwartzman 3-1 @ 29/10
Schwartzman is in the form of his life and has already pulled off one memorable upset by beating US Open champion Dominic Thiem in a five-set epic this week.
The Argentine trails Nadal 9-1 in career meetings, but some of those head-to-head encounters offer more encouragement that he can avoid a whitewash here.
Nadal lost the opening set before prevailing 3-1 when they clashed in the quarter-finals here two years ago and suffered a maiden defeat versus Schwartzman in Rome recently.
The Spaniard made light work of his early opponents this year but was taken to a tiebreak in the opening set by Jannik Sinner last time out.
If Schwartzman can hold his nerve and play to the same level shown over the past few weeks, everything suggests he will have his moments.
Having said all that, this is still Nadal chasing a 13th French Open title on his favourite Philippe Chatrier court, so the king of clay has to be the pick to progress.
Nadal said: “He’s coming with big confidence. He was in the final in Rome, he’s in the semi-finals here. He beat me there. It’s a plus of confidence for him. I know that.
“I’m going to try to go on court, play my best, try to play my game, play aggressive, try to do something a little bit different than what I did in Rome, of course. Hope to be ready to play my best. That’s what I need.”
Novak Djokovic to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 3-1 @ 11/4
Tsitsipas has made the most of surviving a first-round scare and was ultra-impressive in brushing aside Grigor Dimitrov and Andrey Rublev in straight sets.
The Greek fifth seed can also take heart from having a decent record versus Djokovic, winning two of their five previous meetings.
After moving imperiously through the first four rounds, Djokovic was troubled by neck and arm injuries during his quarter-final clash with Pablo Carreno Busta.
The Serbian superstar found a way to come from behind and prevail 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-4 but is expecting a stiff test in the semis.
Djokovic said of Tsitsipas: “He has an all-around game. He’s a big guy, big serve. He has weapons, obviously serve and forehand, his backhand.
“He produces a lot of spin. He comes into the net. He can play aggressively. He can defend well because he moves well. He’s really a complete, all-around player.
“I expect a really tough, tough match, tough challenge for both of us. Semi-finals of a grand slam, this is what you expect.”
However, if the top seed is anywhere near his best, he remains a cut above Tsitsipas and can advance again.
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