French Open Men’s Semifinal Betting Preview: Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal

Jun 07, 2019 10:00 PM EDT
  • French Open betting action will continue on Friday with both the men's and women's semifinals.
  • Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will meet for the sixth time at Roland Garros at 6:50 a.m. ET.
  • Daniel Scotti builds a case for each and offers his favorite bet for this highly-anticipated match.

Friday (weather permitting) will mark the 39th clash between two of the greatest ever, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, and the sixth time in Paris at Roland Garros.

Unsurprisingly, Nadal has won all five of their previous encounters at the French Open — four times in four sets and once in straights.

While the two haven’t met on clay in the past seven years, I still think these results hold some merit for Friday’s installment of the rivalry.

Although the two have endured slight dips in their respective games over the past decade, I do believe both men are playing at a level that is at least comparable (perhaps more offensive, even) to that of the mid 2000s when they were cleaning up Grand Slams.

Before I get to the bet I like, let’s build a case for both Federer and Nadal.

The Case for Roger Federer

Federer been both impressive and inspiring this clay season. He’s proven a lot of doubters wrong (myself included) with regard to his clay acumen after three years away from the dirt; due in large part to his pinpoint serving and big groundstrokes.

Federer has also implemented the serve and volley to his clay game, despite its unorthodoxy on slow surfaces. These factors — plus Fed’s sheer clutch gene — have made the Swiss Maestro very difficult to break thus far in Paris. Through five matches in this tournament so far, Federer has only lost serve four times.

Another thing I’ve noticed from Federer over the past few weeks or so is his movement. When Federer is playing at his best — his court positioning is unrivaled: he rarely takes on strokes behind the baseline (rather, inside the court, hugging the baseline) and he’s flying around the court looking for forehands.

And it’s that forehand — taken early and aggressively — that has always been Federer’s key to winning against Nadal. It’s tough for Fed to do much damage against Rafa on the backhand wing.

While Federer’s backhand, crosscourt, pattern gives the vast majority of right-handers on Tour fits, because of how early and linearly Federer hits it — Nadal, and his beautiful lefty forehand, have historically found ways to counterpunch against it.

That said, the forehand crosscourt to Rafa’s backhand is where he can potentially put Nadal against the ropes.

The Case for Rafael Nadal

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