The 2015 French Open did not see any of the top favorites eliminated in the early rounds this season. However things changed on Tuesday in the quarterfinal round as both Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori exited the tournament. Those results have lead to a bit of a shake up in the betting market, one that has catapulted Stan Wawrinka up to third favorite.
Before we look at the updated odds, let’s first take a look at what the odds were not long ago. Drawing on an article I wrote that was published on May 25th, here’s what the betting odds for the 2015 French Open looked like at that point:
1. Novak Djokovic (-120 bet365) 5/6
2. Rafael Nadal (+500 Stan James) 5/1
3. Andy Murray (+1000 Boylesports) 10/1
4. Roger Federer (+1000 Stan James) 10/1
5. Kei Nishikori (+1200 Stan James) 12/1
6. Stan Wawrinka (+2500 Stan James) 25/1
7. Tomas Berdych (+2500 bet365) 22/1
8. Gael Monfils (+4000 bet365) 40/1
Here’s an updated look at the odds now that only six players remain in the tournament:
1. Novak Djokovic (-125 bet365) 4/5
2. Rafael Nadal (+400 Bwin) 4/1
3. Stan Wawrinka (+600 WilliamHill) 6/1
4. Andy Murray (+1000 Boylesports) 10/1
5. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (+1600 SportingBet) 16/1
6. David Ferrer (+4000 betway) 40/1
Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, and Ferrer are still in the quarterfinal round. That round will see Djokovic face Nadal in a much anticipated match-up while Murray will face Ferrer in the other quarterfinal yet to be decided. On the opposite side of the draw Wawrinka will face Tsonga in the semifinals, with both players having won one Grand Slam semifinal in their respective careers.
Looking at the odds, not much has changed for Djokovic, Nadal, or Murray as they are still in one another’s way just to make the final. However Wawrinka is now priced at odds to win the French that he has never been priced at before – for any season. The 2015 French Open truly represents a career opportunity for the Swiss No. 2 and he’s fortunate to have a winnable match in the semis.
Betting odds for that upcoming semi, between Wawrinka and Tsonga, make the former the favorite. But the Swiss, currently priced at -225 with bet365 straight-up, does NOT have an edge over Tsonga on head-to-heads. In fact the two players are even at 3-3 heads up and Wawrinka’s status as favorite is likely due to longer-termed form more than anything else.
Wawrinka, unlike Tsonga, has been playing excellent tennis for several months. He went deep in Rome in May, he won Rotterdam outright in February, he made the semifinals in Melbourne, and Wawrinka won Chennai. All totaled, entering the French Open Wawrinka was 22-8 and he has improved that record to 27-8 with the five match-wins he’s earned already at Roland Garros. It’s this consisent play over several months that has likely garnered Wawrinka support in what otherwise appears to be a semifinal coin toss.
Tsonga, priced at +190 with Boylesports to beat Wawrinka, entered the 2015 French Open off of the radar. Prior to Roland Garros, he was just 6-5 on the year with losses to David Goffin, Tomas Berdych, Marcel Granollers, Marin Cilic, and Gael Monfils. The Frenchman, following several months of below standard play, remained off the radar through the opening rounds of the French because he did not have a difficult draw to prove himself with.
But, in hindsight, Tsonga probably should have caught more people’s attention after dispatching Christian Lindell, Dudi Sela, and Pablo Andujar because he took them each out in straight sets. Those lopsided wins, even against weaker players, hinted that the Frenchman was more of a threat to Berdych and Nishikori than what many tennis fans realized.
When assessing Tsonga and his odds the wins over Berdych and Nishikori should definitely be given more weight than longer-termed results. Players dip and peak quite often on tour and Tsonga appears to be at the top of his game, even following a lengthy period of mediocrity. Accordingly, the Tsonga and Wawrinka match appears to be more of a coin-toss situation than the “favorite vs. underdog” situation that the odds suggest. Due to the lengthy odds on Tsonga, it’s his odds that value bettors should be taking.
On Djokovic’s side of the draw, things are a lot more complicated. Nadal remains a difficult player to read as he has not played well this season. Although he is into the quarters relatively fresh Nadal’s wins over Jack Sock, Andrey Kuznetsov, and one Quentin Halys do not prove much. Where the Spaniard is at right now is difficult to assess but he’s probably a bigger longshot against Djokovic than what his odds of +225 with bet365 to beat the Serb straight up suggests.
The two quarterfinal matches remaining will be played on Wednesday. The French Open semifinals will then be played on Friday and the final will be played on Sunday. This year appears to be Djokovic’s opportunity to complete his career Grand Slam however, priced at -125, his betting value isn’t clear. The best play is probably to take a poke at Tsonga’s odds to beat Wawrinka straight up in their upcoming semifinal.