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After rain put paid to a Friday finish in the second men’s semi final on Friday Andy Murray came out and won the opening set of the day against Novak Djokovic by seven games to five.
Now, if he’d have done that on Friday we’ve had enjoyed a lovely 29.00 winner, but in typical French Open style Murray won two sets by 7-5 and neither of them came in the opener.
The Scot bounced back from nowhere to force a decider with Djokovic on Saturday lunchtime, but the Serb showed his class and composure in the fifth set to up the ante and ease away to make yet another major final.
Seeking to become the first man since Jim Courier, who coincidentally will be commentating on Sunday’s final, to win the Australian Open and French Open back-to-back, Djokovic starts a heavy 1.17 shot to do just that.
Trying to stop him will be Stan Wawrinka and those who got on my suggestion of backing him at 29.00 before the Roger Federer match will have made a few quid there already, but can Stan the Man stop Nole on Sunday?
The Paris weather is set fair at around 23C on Sunday, with no great amount of wind forecast, so we should have perfect conditions for this 21st meeting between Djokovic and Wawrinka and seventh on clay.
The Swiss has proven on several occasions that he can be a match for the world number one on medium to fast outdoor hard courts, but on clay I would expect Djokovic to prove too solid.
I’m not even convinced that Wawrinka finishing his match on Friday is that much of an advantage this time, with Djokovic only playing one quick set and five games on Saturday.
That is hardly taxing and certainly not for a man of Novak’s fitness – he would probably have hit for at least as long as that on Saturday anyway, had he finished on Friday as Stan did.
It would perhaps have been an advantage at a run of the mill tour event, but surely not in the championship match of the one title that Djokovic needs for a career slam.
Djokovic leads the career series 17-3 at main level and on clay that mark is 5-1, with the one win for the Swiss coming by way of retirement way back in 2006 in Umag.
They haven’t clashed on clay since the 2012 Madrid Masters, but that was on the slippery blue stuff that caused so much controversy, and so their most recent red clay meeting was in Rome 2011 when Djokovic was a 6-4, 6-1 winner.
Indeed, of their five completed matches on clay the opening set has ended 6-4 on four occasions and that score to Djokovic looks decent today at 5.00, as does the 6-3 at the same price.
Six of their last seven meetings have seen set one end in nine games or fewer and Djokovic has won the first set the last five straight times on all surfaces.
On this fairly slow clay in Paris on Chatrier, which gives loads of room for defenders to ply their trade, I’m not convinced at all that Stan will be able to hit enough winners past Djokovic to make this one too competitive.
I think the best that Stan is likely to achieve here is to take a set and that is possible if he zones for a set, but to win three that way in these conditions is very unlikely.
He’ll surely hit the most aces and considering that there’s only been one tie break in the last 19 sets that they’ve played against each other the 2.00 on no tie breaks seems pretty generous.
Djokovic hasn’t been taken to a tie break yet this tournament and he’s only played one in 16 matches this clay swing – or one in the 44 sets played on the red dirt in 2015.
On those stats 2.00 has to be value and I’m going to supplement that bet with a punt on the [6-3] or [6-4] set one score. Usual tactics apply here, with 6-3 being the pick if Djokovic serves first and 6-4 if he doesn’t.
I wouldn’t totally rule out the 6-0 set at 11.00 either. Djokovic hasn’t produced a bagel this tournament, but he’s had four 6-1 sets, and if you do fancy this match going to five sets that wager is one to bear in mind.
Back Djokovic to win set one 6-3 or 6-4 at 5.00
Back no tie breaks at 2.00
The final of the men’s singles at the 2015 French Open is all set for Sunday in Paris and Sean Calvert can’t see past a win for world number one Novak Djokovic…