As in any major tournament, it’s only a matter of time before the top contenders meet up against each other at the French Open. But that won’t be the case for most of tennis’ biggest stars this weekend, as the highest seeds will largely play relative unknowns on their way to the quarterfinals.
That’s especially true on the men’s side, where Rafael Nadal and his leading challengers have mostly avoided upsets thus far.
Nadal Inches Closer to Record Win
Rafael Nadal celebrated his 35th birthday on Thursday with a routine 6-0, 7-5, 6-2 victory over Richard Gasquet to move into the third round. Nadal holds a 17-0 career record against Gasquet.
“I think I played an amazing first set,” Nadal said after the win. “I don’t feel that Richard was plying that bad to have that score, but I didn’t miss that much.”
Nadal is seeking his record-extending 14th French Open title, and his 21st career Grand Slam, which would put him one ahead of Roger Federer for the all-time lead.
On Saturday, Nadal will face off against Cameron Norrie in the third round. Nadal comes in as a massive -4000 favorite over Norrie (+1400), according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Nadal also stands as the -150 outright pick to win the French Open this year.
Federer will continue his run at Roland Garros tomorrow as well. The 20-time Grand Slam winner will take on Dominik Koepfer as a -365 favorite. Meanwhile, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic (-10000) will face off against Ricardas Berankis (+2400) in what should be an easy win for the 2016 French Open champion.
The top three seeds are all out of action on the women’s side of the French Open draw. But while that would normally create a wide open tournament, it has instead served to solidify the position of defending champion and favorite Iga Swiatek of Poland.
Women’s French Open Odds Favor Swiatek
The No. 8 seed rolled through the 2020 tournament, and hasn’t face a serious challenge so far in 2021. Swiatek (-800) will next face Anett Kontaveit (+540) on Saturday, looking to continue her streak of winning every set at Roland Garros over the past two tournaments.
The loss of some top players has benefitted a few prominent names who weren’t among the favorites at the tournament’s start. That includes Serena Williams, who is still seeking her 24th career Grand Slam title. The 39-year-old beat fellow American Danielle Collins 6-4, 6-4 on Friday to advance to the fourth round.
|French Open Odds – Women’s Winner (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Iga Swiatek: +110||Serena Williams: +750|
|Paula Badosa: +950||Cori Gauff: +1400|
|Victoria Azarenka: +1400||Elina Svitolina: +1800|
“That felt really good for me,” Williams said afterwards. “Things were not going my way. It’s not like she gave me those games. I had to earn it and turn it around. That was really positive for me going into the next match.”
Williams will take the court again on Sunday. She’ll be a -205 favorite against Elena Rybakina (+168), with the winner booking a spot in the quarterfinals.
Americans are doing well in the women’s side of the French Open, with Jennifer Brady, Coco Gauff, Sofia Kenin, and Sloane Stephens all safely into the third round. No. 13 seed Brady and No. 24 Gauff will face off on Saturday, with Gauff entering as the -194 favorite.