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French Open preview

Just a short one this time, for the first time in about a decade I haven't been commissioned to write one and time to do a proper one is very scarce at the moment!

The men's top half simply comes down to Djokovic v Nadal, and Rafa wins that nine times out of 10 if fit. Not worth looking any further.

The bottom half is far more interesting. The obvious choices to reach the final or win their respective quarters are Federer and Ferrer but the prices reflect that. Other options:

Berdych - beat Djokovic recently in Rome on the way to the semi-finals, a result matching his record in Madrid. Semi-finalist here in 2010. Tricky opener against Monfils, R4 vs Almagro should be fine (9-3 h2h) but trails Ferrer, his likely QF opponent, 3-7.

Almagro - a double-figure ranking gives an expectation of R4 exit, maybe QF with the right luck. No different this year.

Raonic - already underway with a win over Malisse. Has been coached until recently by a claycourter, so certainly not like a fish out of water on the surface. Would prefer warmer weather to dry up and speed up the courts, likely to face fellow beanpole Kevin Anderson in R3. Big servers/attacking players have had decent results here in the past, Pat Rafter made the semis in the 90s, Martin Verkerk (remember him?) made the final in 2003, but as you see by those dates, it's not that common.

Anderson - similar profile to Raonic, can't see him going any deeper.

Ferrer - obvious selection, no better than evens on Betfair, gets a genuine chance to reach the final this year.

Tsonga - should breeze through this quarter to meet Federer at the end, unless Chardy pulls a cat out of the bag.

Chardy - the wildcard in this section. Reached the quarters in Melbourne, beating del Potro along the way. Clay season not flying so far, but he's the one who can sharply improve.

Monaco - won Dusseldorf last week but not going to threaten here.

Cilic - only 3-4 on clay this season, much better player on hardcourt.

Simon - gutsy win over Hewitt in five sets to kick off, doubt he'll be tested as hard until R4 where he'd taken on Federer.

Benneteau - has won one match in his last eight. R3 here last year was best result for several seasons.

Federer - tailor-made for him to reach the final but he's only reached one final in the past 12 major tournaments. As much as he should have on this bunch, would you really want to back him at odds-on?

If having a bet...
then I'd be backing Berdych at around 3/1 in the third quarter, and a gold coin or two on Chardy at 80/1 with Boylesports. The latter is a bit of a hail Mary, but the kid can really play when he strings it altogether...

Might look at the women's draw a little further into the tournament.

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