Rafael Nadal stands two wins away from a record-extending 14th French Open championship, but will have to get past young star Alexander Zverev in their semifinal matchup on Friday.
Nadal comes into that match as a -360 favorite over Zverev (+280), according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
Nadal outlasts Djokovic in quarterfinal classic
Throughout his career, Nadal has blown away his opposition at Roland Garros. His 13 wins in the French Open form the background of his 21 Grand Slam titles, the most ever for a male player. In addition, 62 of his career 91 tour titles have come on clay courts.
In other words, even as he’s about to turn 36 on Friday, beating Nadal on clay is a monumental challenge. Novak Djokovic found that out again on Tuesday night, as Nadal beat the defending champion 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).
“I lost to a better player today,” Djokovic said after the match. “Had my chances. Didn’t use them. That’s it.”
Nadal praised Djokovic – who, along with Roger Federer, has been one of Nadal’s two great rivals – after the match.
“To win against Novak, there is only one way – to play at your best from the first point to the last,” Nadal said. “Tonight has been one of those magic nights for me.”
Nadal will next face No. 3 seeded Zverev, who beat rising superstar Carlos Alcaraz 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (9-7) in their quarterfinal. Zverev prevented an all-Spanish semifinal, while also matching his deepest run at the French Open. The German also made the semifinals last year before losing a five-set thriller to Stefanos Tsitsipas.
“I told [Alvaraz] at the net, ‘You’re going to win this tournament a lot of times, not just once,” Zverev said after his win. “I hope I can win it before he starts … beating us all.”
Ruud, Cilic seek first French Open final
In the other semifinal, No. 8 seed Casper Ruud will try to reach his first Grand Slam final, while No. 20 Marin Cilic will attempt to make the French Open final for the first time. Cilic beat Andrey Rublev 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (10-2) to become only the fifth active player to reach the semifinals of all four Grand Slams.
|French Open Odds – To Win Men’s Tournament (via DraftKings Sportsbook)|
|Rafael Nadal: -200|
|Alexander Zverev: +350|
|Casper Ruud: +600|
|Marin Cilic: +900|
Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, played an aggressive tiebreaker to finish off Rublev after an epic match.
“I played that kind of tennis the whole match, and especially the fifth set was an incredible battle,” Cilic said afterwards. “Andrey played incredibly well, and it was an incredible fair play performance on the court.”
Ruud defeated 19-year-old Holger Rune in a fiery quarterfinal, 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3. Rune claimed that Ruud shouted in his face after the match, but the Norwegian has disputed that story.
“What he says is really not what happened,” Ruud said to Eurosport. “We both were in the dressing room after the match, and it’s obviously a huge dressing room. There are many players, so we were just in our own part of the room all the time … how he creates the story of me shouting ‘yes’ straight into his face is just a lie.”
Ruud now comes into the French Open semifinal as a -230 favorite over the veteran Cilic (+185).