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Dominic Thiem & Stefanos Tsitsipas’ French Open Odds Continue Improving Ahead of Event; Do Either Offer Value?

David Golokhov

by David Golokhov in Tennis

May 21, 2019 · 6:43 AM PDT

Dominic Thiem
Can Dominic Thiem finally break through at the 2019 French Open? (Wikimedia Commons) Photo by Gregg Gorman [CC License].
  • Rafael Nadal had won 35 of his last 36 clay court matches entering the season
  • He’s lost on clay three times this season but did win the Italian Open last week
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas, Dominic Thiem have both looked strong during the clay court season

Up until last week, the French Open was deemed to be a wide-open race. Rafael Nadal, who lost just once in his previous 36 clay-court matches entering the season, lost three times this year and didn’t make a final. He did win the Italian Open but is there an opening for someone like Dominic Thiem or Stefanos Tsitsipas to unseat the King of Clay at the French Open?

2019 French Open Men’s Singles Odds

Player Odds
Rafael Nadal +105
Novak Djokovic +225
Dominic Thiem +550
Stefanos Tsitsipas +1600
Roger Federer +2000

*Odds taken 05/21/19

Nadal Had Been Struggling

It’s important to note that prior to last week in Rome, Nadal had been struggling. We’re talking about a guy who had won multiple clay court events every year since 2005. He hadn’t even been to a final in 2019 on the red surface prior to Rome. There were questions about his age or a possible wrist injury. People were concerned.

Yes, he did get back on track at the Italian Open, losing just one set along the way, but it was his first title of 2019. The timing is great for him as now he enters the French Open with momentum, having topped Tsitsipas and Novak Djokovic along the way. At the same time, it’s hard to ignore all of his other shortcomings this season.

Tsitsipas Has Been on a Roll

Last year, this 19-year-old was merely fighting for survival in qualifiers. Now he’s on the biggest stage with a real shot to win a grand slam. As we’ve moved through clay court season, his French Open odds have gone from +2500 down to +1600.

Tsitsipas has won two events this year (Estoril and Marseille) and has looked really crisp of late. He enters the 2019 French Open having won 11 of his last 13 matches. One of those wins was over Nadal on his home turn in Barcelona.

Tsitsipas is a clay court specialist and the likely heir to the throne on the red surface once Nadal is gone.

Tsitsipas is a clay court specialist and the likely heir to the throne on the red surface once Nadal is gone. Maybe this is his time to emerge.

Thiem a Threat to the Throne

Dominic Thiem is a hot-and-cold player who does best on clay. Even on clay, though, he can win events and look awesome, like he did in Barcelona, and he lose events and look awful in the process, like he did in Italy last week when he lost his opening match.

What you have to like about Thiem is a few things. First off, he’s a clay court specialist, so if he’s ever going to win a grand slam, this would be the one. He’s been the semifinals or beyond in three straight years at Roland Garros. Secondly, he’s just one of four players to beat Nadal on clay over the last three seasons (he beat him in Barcelona this year).

Lastly, he’s playing pretty well right now. There was the hiccup at the Italian Open but even with that, he’s won eight of his last 10 matches. Expect a deep run from his in Paris.

What’s the Best Bet?

When you look at the 2019 French Open, I can only really see four players winning it: Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Tsitsipas, or Thiem. The first two don’t offer much value, so I’m taking a flier on the latter two. I’d bet Thiem over Tsitsipas just based on experience but both are worth a flier.

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