Expert Picks For The 2017 Roland Garros Men’s Semifinals

Posted by Eric Williams on Thursday,June 8, 2017 10:45, EST in

While the incomparable Roger Federer didn’t bother to show up and World No. 2 Novak Djokovic got knocked out in stunning fashion, the ATP portion of the 2017 French Open still has a ton of excitement surrounding it as the semifinal round gets set to take place on Thursday.

You see, the greatest clay court player of all-time, World No. 4 Rafael Nadal still has an opportunity to win his record, 10th French Open title – and a trio of other title hopefuls will give it all they’ve got in an effort to deny Rafa and bag the hardware for this year’s second major.

With World No. 1 Andy Murray looking to win his first French Open title, World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka looking to bag his second French Open title in three years and blossoming World No. 7 Dominic Thiem looking to win his first major, there’s plenty of drama surrounding the pair of quarterfinal matches that will take place on Thursday. Let’s find out where the value lies in both matches and take a closer look at the updated tennis betting odds here.

Expert Picks For The 2017 Roland Garros Men’s Semifinals

 

 

Andy Murray vs. Stan Wawrinka

2015 champion Stan Wawrinka smacked Marin Cilic senseless in his 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 quarterfinal win on Wednesday while World No. 1 Andy Murray beat back World No. 9 Kei Nishikori 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(0), 6-1 to reach the semifinals.

“Since I won in Geneva I found confidence with my game,” Wawrinka said. “I never give up. I work hard. I try to do what’s right. I listen to my team. The past two or three weeks have been very good momentum. I’m playing really well. I’m very calm. I’m extremely confident about my game.”

Murray owns a 10-7 edge in 17 career meetings against Wawrinka and beat the second-ranked Swiss player in the world in each of their last two meetings, including last year’s four-set French Open win.

“Andy defeated me last year. He was playing better. Now the conditions are a little different. I think he’s probably a bit less confident, a bit more hesitant. Hopefully I can take advantage of that and find solutions to beat him. He’s struggling a little bit since the beginning of the year, but he’s in the semifinal. So when a champion like him finds a way to win matches, he’s playing better. But I know the way I’m playing so far, and hopefully I can win.”

Murray said he didn’t play his best tennis but found a way to get past the dangerous Nishikori.

“It’s a huge step in the right direction for me. Anyone can win matches when they are playing well. It’s winning when you’re not playing your best is more impressive.”

Rafael Nadal vs. Dominic Thiem

Rafael Nadal vs. Dominic Thiem

Analysis: World No. 7 Dominic Thiem pulled off one of the biggest wins in this year’s French Open by dispatching 2016 champion and World No. 2 Novak Djokovic 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-0 after losing to Djokovic in last year’s semis.

“I didn’t play a different game style,” Thiem said. “I just had a positive win-error statistic, and that was never the case against him before. I could easily have lost the close first set, and it was the key for my first victory against him to then have a good start to the second set as well.

For his efforts, Thiem will get to face nine-time French Open champion and World No. 4 Rafael Nadal.

“It’s great for me to be in the semifinals again, to defend that. And of course on Friday is coming the toughest opponent ever here in Roland Garros. Going to be the fourth match against him in five or six weeks. He’s again in his best shape.

“Do I feel ready to win a Slam? Difficult question. So far when I have beaten a top guy, I have always played a way worse match the following day. So I hope I can improve that. I mean, it’s a joke how tough it is to win a Slam. Obviously now I beat Novak. On Friday is Nadal. In the finals there is another top star. That’s why it’s a Slam – because it’s such a tough achievement.”

For his part, Nadal advanced easily in 51 minutes with a 6-2, 2-0 retirement win over Pablo Carreno Busta.

“The past few months, I have been playing very well,” Nadal said. “I have played good matches on the whole. I am in the semifinals. “Maybe I could have had a more difficult match. It wasn’t the case. But all of the tournament I have played well and despite the weather conditions, I played well. I’m not quite sure that I need a sort of reference match.”

Nadal has a 4-2 edge over Thiem in head-to-head matches, but the young Austrian snapped a three-match losing streak against Rafa by beating the greatest Spaniard ever 6-4, 6-3 in Rome earlier this year on a clay court no less. Still, I’m going to advise you to back Rafa in this match simply because he’s playing at nearly the same level he was when he completely dominated every player in the world, including Roger Federer, on clay.

I don’t expect Nadal to win in straight sets and four sets might not get it done either, but the rejuvenated Nadal is the ‘safe’ pick seeing as how he’s beaten Thiem twice on clay courts this year at Madrid and Barcelona. I know Thiem looked scary good in handing Djokovic a bagel in the third and final set on Wednesday, but Rafa has the big edge in experience and has more than enough motivation to get past the talented Thiem. Rafa wins in an epic five-setter.

Pick: Rafael Nadal in 5 Sets