Who’ll be king and queen of clay?


Ahead of Thursday’s draw, we take a look at the best bets for this year’s French Open at Roland Garros.

Rafael Nadal has won the French Open 11 times in the last 14 years and anyone who saw him waltz to the title in Rome last week would struggle to genuinely believe he won’t claim another in 2019.

Rafael Nadal to win @ 11/10

Nadal blitzed his way past several opponents in the Italian capital to put to bed the question marks which had been growing around him after three clay-court tournaments without a title.

World number one Novak Djokovic was among those foes. While the Serb made their final competitive for an hour, winning the second set, he also lost the others 6-0 6-1.

Gael Monfils each way @ 66/1

Largely thanks to Nadal’s dominance, the men’s singles doesn’t have a recent record for producing big-priced finalists but Gael Monfils could be a shrewd each-way option.

He’s enjoyed an impressive season so far and usually performs well in front of his home crowd. A semi-finalist back in 2008, he’s also made three other quarter-finals at Roland Garros. It usually takes a good player to stop him – of his 12 tournament losses, eight have come at the hands of a top-10 player.

Sloane Stephens each way @ 14/1

The women’s singles looks much more open and Sloane Stephens, who lost out to Simona Halep in last year’s final, could offer value at 14/1.

The American can be hit and miss but she does have a strong record of delivering in big events.

The 2017 US Open champion played very well here last season and went on to also finish runner-up at the WTA Finals.

She made the semis recently in Madrid, losing only to eventual champ Kiki Bertens.

With a game well-suited to clay, Stephens can contend again.

Belinda Bencic each way @ 33/1

Belinda Bencic has proved she can live with the world’s best with no fewer than seven top-10 wins on her record already this year. They include a victory over world number one Naomi Osaka en route to the Madrid semis.

Bencic has also taken sets off both Halep and Bertens – the two favourites in Paris – on clay in recent weeks and has potential at a big price.

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