French Open 2011 Odds: The 15 Men Most Likely to Win on the Clay

Jordan SchwartzSenior Writer IMay 20, 2011

French Open 2011 Odds: The 15 Men Most Likely to Win on the Clay

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    Thinking of wagering a few dollars on the 2011 French Open?

    Five-time and defending champion Rafael Nadal and red-hot Novak Djokovic are the odds-on favorites, but what dark horse can you throw your money behind in order to get the most bang for your buck?

    Let's take a look at the 15 men most likely to win at Roland Garros.

Fernando Verdasco, 150:1

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    Verdasco is one of the most consistent players on tour, as proven by his four consecutive round of 16 appearances at the French Open. Problem is he'd have to play Rafael Nadal in the fourth round this year.

Gael Monfils, 150:1

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    This seems like pretty good value for a nine seed, but Monfils has been inconsistent at the French. He made back-to-back quarters in 2008 and '09 but fell in the second round last year.

Thomaz Bellucci, 125:1

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    Bellucci's best Grand Slam result came last year at the French when he reached the fourth round. He'd probably face Novak Djokovic in that round this year, and Bellucci is 0-2 against the Serb with both losses coming on clay in the past two years.

Stanislas Wawrinka, 125:1

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    Wawrinka has steadily improved at the French Open over the past five years, and if he continued the trend, you'd see him in the quarters this time around. But he'd have to beat countryman Roger Federer to do that—something he's only been able to accomplish once in nine tries.

Jurgen Melzer, 100:1

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    You may be surprised to see Melzer as the eight seed, but he reached the semis last year and with Andy Murray being the stiffest competition in his quarter, you could see him make a return trip.

Richard Gasquet, 100:1

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    Gasquet hasn't won a match at the French Open in four years, and he's never gotten past the third round, so I wouldn't even worry about that potential round of 16 meeting with Novak Djokovic.

Nicolas Almagro, 80:1

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    Almagro's only two major quarterfinals have come at the French Open in the past three years, and he seems primed to maybe make a run at his first berth in the semis.

    The Spaniard won back-to-back clay-court tournaments in February and hasn't lost on the surface to a player ranked outside the top 22 all year.

Tomas Berdych, 66:1

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    Berdych reached the semis last year and doesn't seem to have a particularly difficult draw until a potential meeting with Novak Djokovic in the quarters.

Robin Soderling, 40:1

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    Soderling has reached the finals each of the past two years at the French Open, but he had the bad luck of drawing Rafael Nadal in his quarter.

David Ferrer, 30:1

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    Ferrer has a tough draw in the first round against Jarkko Nieminen, a man he has split two matches with already this year. If the Spaniard gets through that match, he should have a good shot at returning to the quarterfinals for the third time since 2005.

Juan Martin Del Potro, 25:1

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    After winning the 2009 U.S. Open, Del Potro played just three tournaments last year because of a right-wrist injury.

    However, the Argentine has bounced back in 2011, going 27-6 and claiming two titles to climb from 485 to 27 in the world rankings.

    Most recently, he won a French Open tuneup in Estoril, Portugal, blitzing the competition, including Robin Soderling, while only dropping one set.

    Del Potro then had to withdraw from his round of 16 meeting with Rafael Nadal at the ATP World Tour Masters in Madrid, due to a hip injury, but he says he will play the French.

    When healthy, he is among the best players in the world.

Andy Murray, 15:1

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    Murray has never even reached the semifinals at the French, so it's a bit of a stretch to see him winning it all this year.

    He went an uninspiring 7-3 during the clay court tuneup season.

Roger Federer, 10:1

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    It's not often you're going to get 10:1 odds on Federer winning a tennis tournament.

    The 16-time Grand Slam champion has gone just 6-3 in three clay tuneups, but he did win this event just two years ago.

Novak Djokovic, 3:2

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    Djokovic has won 39 straight matches, including four finals against world No. 1 Rafael Nadal. The last two meetings came on the clay of Madrid and Rome, so the Serb has proven he can beat the Spaniard on his favorite surface, but can he defeat him in a best-of-five?

Rafael Nadal, 1:1

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    When you've won five of the last six French Opens, it's kind of hard not to be the favorite.

    Nadal is 38-1 at this event, and while Novak Djokovic has won four consecutive meetings, the Spaniard is 4-0 in best-of-five matchups.