Men’s Singles Semifinal – 1:05pm local time on Friday, June 5, 2015 at Stade Roland Garros
TV coverage: NBC (US), ITV Sport (UK), Fox Sports (AUS)
Weather: Scattered thunderstorms
H2H record: Djokovic leads 18-8
Novak Djokovic (1) – $1.19 at Sportsbet.com
2015 record on clay: 15-0
Andy Murray (3) – $5.30 at www.Crownbet.com
2015 record on clay: 15-1
One of the great modern rivalries in Men’s Singles tennis resumes on Friday afternoon when, weather permitting, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will duke it out for a spot in the 2015 French Open final.
The winner will face either Stanislav Wawrinka or local hero Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who could become the first Frenchman to contest the championship match at Roland Garros since Henri Laconte in 1988.
Djokovic is the unsurprising favourite to progress, with online bookmaker Sportsbet offering $1.19 best odds on the world number one to reach the decider for the third time in his decorated career.
The Serb opened the tournament right up on Wednesday when he reversed last year’s final result with a dominant straight-sets victory over Rafael Nadal in the quarters.
“It’s definitely a big win, a match that I will remember for a long time,” Djokovic said after ending the Spaniard’s 39-match winning streak in Paris.
“At the end of the day, he’s human. I understand that people are questioning his game. But if you need a reminder of who he is, you just look at his career stats and grand slams that he won.”
Nadal has won nine of the last 10 French Open Men’s Singles titles, so there’s one thing we know for certain: come Sunday, there will be a new name on the Coupe de Mousqetaires.
Djokovic could hardly be in better touch. He is yet to drop a set at Roland Garros 2015, and his preparation included successful clay-court title fights against Roger Federer in Rome and Tomas Berdych in Monte Carlo.
Better still, the 28-year-old has already bested Murray in two finals this year: at the Miami Masters in April and the 2015 Australian Open at the end of January.
But while ‘The Joker’ has the wood over his Scottish rival at Melbourne Park – he’s won all four of their clashes in Australia – the ledger reads 3-1 in favour of the latter in all other Grand Slam meetings.
The two have never met in the French Open, however, and they haven’t faced each other on clay since Djokovic triumphed via tiebreaker in the semifinals of the 2011 Italian Open.
Furthermore, Murray’s record in 2015 is impressive. He has won 15 out of 16 matches on clay this year, the only defeat coming in Rome last month when he withdrew from his match with David Goffin due to fatigue.
But it has been no easy run to the semis for the Scot, with three of his five matches going to four sets – including a see-sawing quarterfinal encounter with the seventh seed, David Ferrer.
The alarm bells sounded when Murray blew a match point on his way to losing the third set, but he rallied to close out the fourth 6-1 in what many are calling his most important clay-court performance to date.
“The third set was tough to lose having match point,” the former Wimbledon and US Open champion said after his first-ever victory over Ferrer on the red dirt.
“The groundsman watered the court and I went to the bathroom to take a few minutes and get my composure back.
“It’s going to be an extremely tough match against Novak. I’m going to need to play a high-quality match to have a chance.”
Murray has lost each of his last seven meetings with Djokovic, all on hard courts, but Pat Cash has suggested that the 2012 Olympic Gold Medallist’s vast improvement on crushed brick surfaces could prove to be a big leveller.
“This is what Andy was hoping to achieve – a semifinal. He’s having a great clay-court season,” the former Australian tennis star said on BBC Sport.
“Of course Djokovic in the semifinal is going to be tough but they have turned out to be very good matches when these two have met.
“Mentally can he hang with Djokovic? I think the time is right for him to do that, but we’ll soon see.”
Djokovic vs Murray match betting
Result – Novak Djokovic ($1.19 at Sportsbet)
Correct score – Djokovic 3-1 ($3.75 at Bet365.com)
First set tiebreaker? – Yes ($4.50 at Bet365)
First set score – Djokovic 7-6 ($7.25 at www.Luxbet.com)
While this is one of the drawcard match-ups in world tennis right now, it has become rather lopsided over the last two years. Besides, how can you bet against Djokovic after he knocked out Nadal, the king of clay?
On the court, however, these are rarely one-sided affairs. Only one of their Grand Slam matches has ended in straight sets – the 2011 Australian Open final – so you have to back Murray in to get on the scoreboard at the very least.
For a real French Open value bet, keep an eye out for online sportsbooks taking wagers on tiebreakers. Murray and Djokovic have played nine of them in their last 12 clashes, five of which occurred in the first set.
More 2015 French Open semifinal odds
Women’s Singles – Thursday, June 4
Ana Ivanovic (7) – $2.26 at www.CrownBet.com
Lucie Safarova (13) – $1.73 at WilliamHill.com
Ivanovic comes in as the higher seed, but the bookies are backing Sarafova due to the Czech’s superior head-to-head record (5-3). They are all square at the French Open, however, with one win apiece.
Serena Williams (1) – $1.16 at Bet 365
Timea Bacsinszky (23) – $5.75 at www.Sportsbet.com
The world no. 1 is the runaway favourite to progress to the final – something she has done just twice at Roland Garros in her 20-year professional career. Bacsinszky has never beaten Williams, but the Swiss did managed to win eight games out of 21 when the two met at Indian Wells earlier this year.
Men’s Singles – Friday, June 5
Stanislav Wawrinka (8) – $1.45 at William Hill
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (14) – $3.00 at www.Bet365.com
Wawrinka is red hot after downing Roger Federer in the quarterfinals, while Tsonga is carrying the hopes of a host nation that hasn’t tasted Men’s Singles success since 1983. The Swiss boasts a slight head-to-head advantage on clay with three wins to two, including a four-set victory in the David Cup final last year.
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