ONLY four remain in the men’s draw at the 2018 French Open.
One of those is Rafael Nadal, who bested a spirited Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-finals with no little assistance from the weather.
The Argentine had taken the first set and was travelling well in the second when rain forced lengthy delays at Stade Roland-Garros.
Both were different players when play resumed, with Nadal powering to a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory.
He now faces Juan Martin del Potro, who edged out Marin Cilic over four tight sets in one of the tournament’s most muscular matchups.
On the other side of the draw, Dominic Thiem has his best chance yet to reach a major final after demolishing a weary Alexander Zverev earlier in the week.
Standing in his way is March Cecchinato – the surprise packet of the tournament.
Let’s see how the odds are shaping up at 5Dimes – the top-ranked online sportsbook for gamblers in United States.
Marco Cecchinato vs. Dominic Thiem (7)
Cecchinato – +570
Thiem – -909.09
Cecchinato has taken down some big names on his incredible run to the last four. Pablo Carreno Busta knows his way around the clay; David Goffin is a tough customer on any surface; and Novak Djokovic is Novak Djokovic. The Italian has played a lot of tennis, however, racking up some 20 sets in eight days.
Thiem has had to work a little harder than expected. The unseeded Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini both took him to four sets, as did Kei Nishikori. There was no such trouble against Sasha Zverev, if only because the German gun strained a muscle early in the first set.
These two have never met in the main draw of a top-flight event. Thiem claimed a win in qualifying at Doha in 2014, while Cecchinato beat the Austrian on clay in an F17 Futures event the year before. It is extremely tempting to back the underdog at odds, but this is a chance Thiem cannot afford to waste.
Best bet: Thiem to win in straights (-149.25 at 5Dimes)
Rafael Nadal (1) vs. Juan Martin del Potro (5)
Nadal – -769.23
Del Potro – +505
The quarter-final scoreline says Nadal did it easy in the end, but Schwartzman was hitting him off the park until the rain intervened. What will trouble Rafa most of all is how often his service game crumbled against the Argentine’s aggressive strokeplay.
After years of injury woe, del Potro is back to something very like his best. His serve and his forehand are always strong, but an improved backhand and silky movement oacross the court were the difference in his win over Cilic.
Juan Martin is one of the few players on tour who often causes Nadal problems. The big Argentine has won five of their 14 encounters, including a semi-final clash at the 2016 Olympics. He is a good chance to claim a set or two, especially early, but Rafa will rise in the end.
Best bet: Del Potro to win at least one set (-120.48 at 5Dimes)
Latest French Open outright odds
-303.03 – Rafael Nadal
+350 – Dominic Thiem
+1100 – Juan Martin del Potro
+5000 – Marco Cecchinato
See more French Open odds at 5Dimes
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