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French Open

French Open

The French Open is the second Grand Slam of each year and is played at Roland Garros in Paris. It is the only Grand Slam that is held on clay courts and the main clay court season more or less ends with it. Since it is played relatively shortly before the Wimbledon, it allows tennis fans to see the players in action just before the “greatest” tournament starts. And the form certainly does carry on. In 2010, Rafael Nadal won both, while Tomas Berdych reached the semi-finals in the French Open and the finals in the Wimbledon. Robin Söderling also impressed in both tournaments.

The nature of the surface greatly benefits players that base their style on consistency and fitness. Powerful baseline shots and huge serves do not play a big role in this Grand Slam, which also means that spectators get to see many spectacular rallies and brilliant points. That, along with the stunning French atmosphere, makes the tournament a truly superb experience. Fortunately for tennis fans, after recent deliberations giving consideration moving the event, the tournament officials are not going to move the Grand Slam from Roland Garros

In recent years, the tournament has been dominated by the world number one, Rafael Nadal. He has already won it an incredible seven times and is definitely looking for more titles in the future. His dominance has been broken just once. In 2009, Robin Söderling surprisingly beat Rafael Nadal and established himself as one of the top tennis players thanks to that performance. It was perhaps the biggest upset in the modern history of the Grand Slam. It also allowed Roger Federer to finally capture the French Open title he could not get for so many years.

In 2012, Novak Djokovic was bidding to become the 1st player since Rod Laver in the late 1960’s to hold all 4 grand slam titles at the same time, but Nadal was to confirm his superiority on clay by winning in 4 sets spread over two days due to bad weather in Paris.

Women also have to adapt their game plans to the conditions and specialists naturally do pretty well on clay. Most people thought that Samantha Stosur would be able to get the title after a number of great matches. However, Francesca Schiavone, who spends most of her time on clay courts, was able to outfox Stosur in a brilliant match in 2010 but Schiavone couldn’t complete the double when losing in straight sets to Na Li in 2011. Maria Sharapova warmed up beautifully for Wimbledon with a straight sets victory over Sara Errani in the 2012 final.

Betting fans should remember that this is a tournament in which fitness plays a huge role. The longer format and tougher rallies often allow fit players to turn matches around in spectacular fashion, while one-dimensional players that rely on serve tend to struggle, as they are unable to keep the points short and the efficiency of their serves will gradually spiral down.

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