It’s a Grand Duel Between Two Big Tennis Stars!

Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal

This year’s Wimbledon has been outshined by the great symphony of upsets that is the 2018 World Cup. However, the glamour and the bright lights of football’s brightest stage cannot take away from the superb action and class that only the green courts of Wimbledon can provide!

The quarter-finals have been nothing but fantastic to many a tennis fan, but everyone knows that a battle between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal is hard to ignore.

Both men have been playing fantastic tennis, so it’s quite hard to tell which Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal predictions are going to come true. One thing is for certain when it comes to this game, however: it will be a very entertaining match for the flocks of rabid fans coming to watch two of the best tennis players duke it out.

Moreover, the result of one other semi-final makes this match a must-win for both the Serbian and the Spaniard. This particular game has also made Wimbledon betting odds a lot more interesting.

Talking Points

Wimbledon betting odds shifts as the South African beats the 8-time champion

Kevin Anderson has beaten Roger Federer 2-6 6-7 7-5 6-4 13-11 to advance to the Wimbledon semi-finals

The biggest match of the Gentlemen’s Singles quarter-final easily has to be the outrageous battle Kevin Anderson went through to defeat perennial favourite, Roger Federer. The last set of the four-hour epic took 24 games, with neither man budging or giving up any significant advantage.

However, the South African’s steely determination and willingness to play rough tennis helped him defeat the odds that were stacked against him, settle the match and book a well-deserved spot in the semi-final.

With the eight-time champion out of the Wimbledon courts, the door has been left wide open for both men to come in and dominate in their place. They are heavily favoured compared to Anderson and John Isner, the American ninth seed.

However, they must beat their semi-final opponent if they want to play a final that looks like an easy winner on paper.

Djokovic is especially looking to get into his first Grand Slam final in a while. It may seem to the casual tennis fan that he has disappeared for a bit, so it is understandable that he is playing with a fire in his belly. That anger of his has helped a lot in overpowering Kei Nishikori, making quick work of him in four sets.

Djokovic’s mad tennis might make life difficult for Rafa Nadal, but the Spaniard has been nothing short of brilliant this season. The Spaniard also ran the distance against Juan Martin Del Potro and almost shared the fate of his Swiss rival. Fortunately for him, he pulled himself together and made a wonderful run to win the match, 7-5 6-7(7) 4-6 6-4 6-4.

This year’s run has been the farthest Nadal has been in six years. He may be riding the momentum he built during the clay season, but it’s hard to deny that this has been his best performance yet.

He will surely look to win another Wimbledon trophy. While the current iteration of the Serbian is a tough opponent to play, Nadal will be doing everything he can to make his fourth Wimbledon final.

History

Djokovic has a high batting average at Wimbledon: he made the finals four times, winning the title thrice. His run-up to this match has also been ideal, winning his prior matches without much trouble.

Meanwhile, Nadal has had a rather interesting run in the Grand Slam he only won twice. From the Round of 64 onwards, he would always play a set where he would find it difficult to break his opponent’s serves. This worrying trend he has built up throughout this tournament only means trouble when he faces a motivated Djokovic.

However, it’s not like he will be coming into this match blind. The two rivals have faced each other a record 51 times, an Open Era record for head-to-head meetings. Nadal has won their last two games, but there is a long stretch where the Serbian would simply steamroll over Rafa.

Their last Wimbledon match was in 2011, a match Novak dominated and won in four sets.

What are the odds?

us Tips Novak Djokovic to win Wimbledon semifinal vs Nadal

Novak Djokovic beats Kei Nishikori to advance to his first Wimbledon semifinal since 2015

It will take a lot of effort from Rafa in order to defeat this fired-up Djokovic. us tips agree with my prediction, and the odds the bookies have for this match favours the Serbian by a mile.

If you think Djokovic’s powerful strokes and serves would rattle Nadal out of his game, then a look at the Asian Handicap market is in order. Djokovic -1.50 @ 2.53 is an intriguing option.

However, there is also a big possibility that Nadal will turtle through and make his fourth-ever Wimbledon final. Nadal has 2.00 odds in the 1X2 market.

It will be an uphill battle for Nadal, but it will be one to remember if he manages to pull it off.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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Stat Corner: Neymar and Vettel Reach 50s, Rafa Rolls to La Undecima

Whether you are a fan of numbers or not, it’s hard not to appreciate the greatness that unfolded in the sports world today.

Neymar just reached a new milestone with Brazil as he became the country’s joint-third top scorer in their friendly with Austria. Meanwhile, in the latest Formula One updates, Sebastian Vettel joined only a handful of drivers to win 50 Grand Prix races.

On top of all records, Rafael Nadal cemented his status as the greatest clay-court tennis player of all time by winning another French Open title!

Neymar joins Romario for third-most Brazil goals

us Blog features Neymar and his rapid ascend to become one of Brazil's all-time greats

Neymar ties Romario as Brazil’s third all-time scorer after netting his 55th in win over Austria

Neymar’s return to football couldn’t be off to a better start.

After scoring for Brazil in their warm up with Croatia, the Paris Saint-German talisman was at it again—this time bagging a goal to become the nation’s third top scorer of all time.

Neymar found the back of the net just moments after the hour mark to help Brazil to a 3-0 win over the Austrians. That was his 55th goal for Brazil, lifting him alongside Romario for the third-most goals in the nation’s history.

 The former Barcelona star was unsurprisingly happy with his accomplishment, citing that “it is a great honour” to have his name mentioned in the same breath as the Brazil icon.

“I wanted to pay homage to him [Romario] in some way because he is an idol. Like I said last week, I do not want to be better than anyone, just myself,” Neymar said.

“So it was a way to pay tribute, because he is an idol, not just to me, but all Brazilians.”

Neymar reached the feat in his 85th appearance for the country, while Romario scored 55 goals in 70 caps.

Only Pele (77) and Ronaldo (62) have scored more than Neymar in Brazil football history, though the PSG striker has a chance to add more to his tally and move closer to the two legends.

Sebastian Vettel breaks into 50-win mark with Canada win

Formula One Updates: Sebastian Vettel joins elite class of 50-win F1 racers after ruling Canadian GP

Sebastian Vettel gets his 50th Formula One win after conquering Canadian Grand Prix

There’s no doubt Sebastian Vettel is one of Formula One’s all-time greats.

The German driver cruised to a comfortable victory in the Canadian Grand Prix, giving him his 50th F1 race win that only three other drivers have achieved.

A four-time F1 champion, Vettel joined Ferrari legend Michael Schumacher, former Scuderia driver Alain Prost and Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton as the only drivers in history to break into the 50-win threshold.

Besides his landmark victory, Vettel’s Canada win was also made sweeter with the fact that it’s the team’s first win at Montreal in 14 years.

“Perfect is probably a good way to describe it. It’s unbelievable. I said yesterday how much this place means to Ferrari and to have a race like we had today is unbelievable,” Vettel shared.

“It’s 50 for me but after a long stretch that Ferrari didn’t win here, I saw the people around and they were super happy.”

Vettel made his debut in 2007 in the United States Grand Prix and has since become a fixture in the F1 scene. In 2010, he became the youngest world champion at 23 years old. He went on to win four straight championships in a dominant run with Red Bull before jumping to Ferrari.

Rafael Nadal owns French Open for record-extending 11th title

French Open Highlights: Rafael Nadal comes out triumphant after bagging his record-tying 11th Roland Garros title

Rafael Nadal gets his 11th French Open title to tie Margaret Court’s 45-year-old record

If someone asks you why Rafael Nadal is called the “King of Clay,” just show him or her  Rafa’s record in the French Open.

Nadal took down first-time Grand Slam finalist Dominic Thiem in straight sets to bag a record-extending 11th French Open trophy. His win also marked an 11-0 finals record in the tournament, having missed the finals on only three previous occasions—in 2009, 2015 and 2016.

Moreover, the 32-year-old Spaniard is the second player in history to win the same Grand Slam 11 times. As mentioned in our French Open Finals highlights at us Blog, Margaret Court was the first one to do it after winning the Australian Open on 11 different occasions from 1960 to 1973.

More amazingly, no other man or woman has achieved La Undecima since the Open Era began in 1968.

“Coming back and to have the chance to win in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, and now especially here, it’s very emotional for me,” Nadal said. “It was a very special moment and well received,  that minute or two minutes of the crowd supporting me. That feeling in that moment was difficult to describe it. Very emotional for me.”

“What really matters for me is have this trophy again with me. That means a lot. As everybody knows, for me is the most important tournament of the year. But I always say the same. Tennis is not only about Grand Slams. There’s much more tournaments, a lot of important tournaments that, for me, means a lot. But of course Roland Garros is always on the calendar and a special date.”

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French Open: This is Why Nadal is King!

Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem (6-4, 6-3, 6-2)

Another day, another French Open title for Rafael Nadal.

Indeed, we might as well rename Roland Garros as the “Rafael Nadal Clay Grand Slam” with how the 32-year-old Spaniard became synonymous with the tournament.

Some fans backed Dominic Thiem to win. After all, the Austrian knows how to take down the World No.1 on clay, having beaten him at last year’s Italian Open and at the Madrid Open last month.

However, as this French Open final results proved, the King of Clay is on a whole different level compared to the 24-year-old Thiem.

Highlights of the game

Nadal had been the hot favourite to win the event after warming up with titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome, and he did not disappoint as he made easy work of Thiem who never really threatened in his first Grand Slam final appearance.

Rafa breezed through in straight sets for his 11th French Open title, using his experience, athleticism and shot-making brilliance to wear down the seventh-seeded Austrian.

While he struggled with serves in his opening games against Diego Schwartzman and Juan Martin del Potro, Nadal had a dream start against Thiem as he won the first six points of the match to jump to a 2-0 lead.

Although Thiem battled back and saw off a break point to make it 2-2, he continuously gave Nadal plenty of chances on his own serve, eventually allowing the defending champion to break serve to close the set.

It was the same story in the second frame as Nadal stamped his authority for another 2-0 advantage. Thiem had a chance to cut the lead to just one in the seventh game of the set, but Nadal’s smarts shined bright as he broke his opponent’s momentum with a drop shot before firing a passing shot to make it 5-2.

Nadal won the set when Thiem sent a backhand long and wide.

French Open Final Results: Rafael Nadal shrugs off his cramp and continuously dominated the Roland Garros Final

Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Dominic Thiem during French Open Final

With the gigantic lead, the title was Nadal’s to lose. However, there were some concerns when he suffered from cramp in his left arm that required treatment, albeit controversially as tournament rules do not allow players to receive treatment for the specific issue.

Nadal held on at 5-2 and served out to finish Thiem’s ordeal.

“It’s amazing now, I can’t describe my feelings,” an emotional Nadal said after winning the Roland Garros trophy. “It’s not even a dream to win here 11 times, because it’s impossible to think of something like this.”

Key statistics

As what the French Open betting odds suggested, Nadal was purely dominant in the contest, winning 71 percent of his service points and 46 percent of his return points. Meanwhile, Thiem only won 54 percent off his service game and 29 percent on returns.

It didn’t help the young Austrian that his usually reliable serve didn’t click well, finishing with only seven service aces. He also ended up with five double faults on top of 42 unforced errors that doomed his chances of staging a comeback.

Besides his poor showing, Thiem acknowledged Nadal’s dominance on clay, saying: “Rafa is too much on clay. It’s kind of like a joke.”

And indeed, the stats also showed that. With the victory, Spain’s Raging Bull is now 86-2 at Roland Garros while winning a record-extending 11 titles—tied with Margaret Court for the most singles titles at the same Grand Slam event.

Court won 11 trophies in the Australian Open in the 1960s and 70s.

More amazingly, in his 11 finals appearances in Paris, Nadal has only lost a total of six sets on his way to an undefeated record.

What’s next?

With 17 Grand Slam titles, Nadal undoubtedly has his sights on matching Roger Federer’s all-time record of 20. Nonetheless, the top-rated star said that he is not that obsessed with matching or even surpassing his great rival.

“You can’t be frustrated if somebody has more money than you, if somebody has a bigger house than you, if somebody has more Grand Slams than you,” Nadal said. “I’ve never been crazy about this kind of stuff. You can’t live with that feeling. You have to do your way.”

“I’d love to have 20 like Roger in the future or more, but it is not something in my mind. I know I’ve had an amazing career so I want to keep fighting for these things.”

French Open Final Results: Rafael Nadal eyes to continue his dominance when he battles with Roger Federer at Wimbledon

Roger Federer in action against Thanasi Kokkinakis during the Miami Open last March 24

Up next is the grass-court season which will culminate at Wimbledon. However, Nadal is up for a tough task as Roger Federer—the defending champion in the grass-court slam—recently returned to tennis at the Stuttgart Open after skipping the whole clay event.

 

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French Open: The King Dominates, Thiem Challenges

Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem

If you think the Golden State Warriors winning the NBA Finals is the only David-vs-Goliath match that you’ll get to see before the World Cup starts, think again. There is still one match that many of the pundits here at us are looking forward to catching.

The Men’s Single final is slated to become an interesting match for neutral fans and the sports betting crowd. These two are enjoying great success on clay, but Rafael Nadal has garnered much better French Open betting odds than Dominic Thiem.

The Austrian will be embroiled in a tough contest, and it does seem like the odds are stacked against him. However, he has found relative success against the Spaniard last time out and won’t be afraid to try out new tactics against his opponent.

Talking Points

The match centres around one man and one man only. Nadal has continued to be outstanding on the clay and hasn’t looked back. He is the heavy favourite to win his eleventh Roland Garros title, and his performance on the court clearly explains why.

One of the biggest topics talked about among tennis-loving circles is Nadal’s new approach in receiving serves. Instead of standing just close enough to the backcourt, he stands so far back that he is out of the camera shot during live coverages.

Bet online now on heavy favourite Rafael Nadal as he is poised to win his 11th French Open title

Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Juan Martin Del Potro during their French Open semi-final clash

While this tactic would usually mean that a great amount of effort would be

Usually, this won’t work out fine against the many power servers that the ATP Pro Tour has. However, clay is disadvantageous for fast serves, and Nadal uses this fact to his advantage. His tactic in receives is so effective that even Thiem and many of the other top-ranking pros have adopted it through the clay season.

“If Nadal stands up in the court, in the traditional position around the baseline, then he has to deal with the normal power of the serve, which can create errors,” ATP Tour strategist Craig O’Shannessy told ESPN.

Moreover, the convincing way by which Nadal overpowered Juan Martin del Potro just adds to the already-impressive legend has built for himself on clay. He beat the Argentine 6-4 6-1 6-2 during the semi-final to make it to his eleventh final.

The 24-year-old Thiem does look like an underdog if he is put side-by-side with Nadal. However, the last thing you’d want to do is underestimate the Austrian. The lad has performed well in this tournament that it warrants for Nadal’s fans and the rest of the betting public to give the man some respect.

Thiem has performed well throughout the clay season and has snagged important victories against Kei Nishikori, Alexander Zverev and Marco Cecchinato. While his quarter-final win against Zverev has a question mark due to the German’s hamstring injury, but Zverev brushed those doubts aside and expressed his trust towards the Austrian.

“I think he can definitely go to the final,” Zverev said after his defeat. “It’s going to be between Rafa and him.

“I think he’s playing very heavy. I think he’s not missing much. I think he’s improved his serve a lot. So he’s definitely playing great tennis. You know, I think one of the three best players on the clay court in the last few years, and right now especially.”

History

Looking at the history of the French Open is not a good pick-me-up for Thiem because the Spaniard has dominated Roland Garros and much of the clay courts for more than a decade now. Seven of his ten French Open titles were won in the past decade, and his form at the moment suggests that this year will be Trophy No. 11 for him.

Nadal’s form in prior tournaments also gives him a major boost. His spectacular performance over Zverev in the Italian Open is encouraging for many of Rafa’s fans. While the young German did take a set from Nadal, the 32-year-old had the composure to keep his cool and take the W.

Thiem will need to look back to his performance against Nadal during the Madrid Masters for inspiration. He was simply unstoppable then and managed to choke Rafa’s chances at victory. Out of all the people in the French Open draw, he has the biggest chance of pulling off an incredible upset.

What are the Odds?

There are a plethora of interesting options if you head to the us tennis page.

Betting odds are not in the favour of Dominic Thiem as he will face the King of Clay in the Final

Dominic Thiem serves against Marco Cecchinato during their French Open semi-final clash

Both have played brilliant tennis on clay, and it is highly possible that this match would go the distance. I see Thiem at least taking a set here, so going for Thiem with a +1.50 Asian Handicap will reward punters with 2.63. If you have complete trust Thiem’s ability this season, going for his 4.12 Money Line odds is the way to go.

However, if you believe Nadal can make a big splash in the final, Nadal’s Game Handicap of -6.50 will give you 1.95.

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French Open: The Best Play on the Best Clay

2018 French Open

The stage is set, and the eyes of the tennis world are fixed on Paris, France!

The French Open is the biggest clay-court tournament in the calendar, and many are already looking forward to the plays they will be seeing from some of the best tennis stars in the world!

Betting sites will be especially busy in the coming days as there are a lot of matches to cover. Rafael Nadal is obviously the man to beat in the Men’s Singles, while the ladies of the Women’s Singles will find themselves to have an interesting race to the top.

Put on your thinking cap and sit on your favourite chair, because this preview will be a bit of a doozy.

Talking Points

Betting sites back Alexander Zverev to make a thrilling upset in Paris

Alexander Zverev reacts after winning a point against Marin Cilic at the Italian Open semi-final

Nadal is having a grand time on the clay this season and he is undoubtedly the biggest favourite to progress through the tournament. He put on a remarkable display that left many in awe of his talent, and his latest victory at Roma just solidifies his legacy as one o the best players to ever set foot on the clay courts.

However, Roland Garros bore witness to some of the most impressive underdog runs in the sport’s history. It won’t be surprising to see any of the players in the bracket take him out in a stunning upset. He best be careful not to trip during the Grand Slam’s opening stages.

Leading the charge for the rest of the pack are Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev. Djokovic is slowly getting into form, and his performance in Roma is an indicator of what’s ahead for the players in his bracket. Meanwhile, Zverev is also looking to pounce. He’s had a great clay season and will be looking to add a first French Open to his trophy cabinet.

Of course, Roger Federer’s absence from the clay courts is a glaring fact that prevents the Men’s Singles from being one of the most exciting draws in the sport. However, it’s not like Federer has fully given up on playing in France. He revealed that he may play in the clay again at some point in the future. Until that happens, we sit and wait.

Meanwhile, the women’s game is a much more open field. Simona Halep is seeded first in the competition, but her inconsistency was in full display after Elina Svitolina knocked her out in Rome. With the World No 1 playing this way on clay, the rest of the players have a good shot at taking the trophy for themselves.

Angelique Kerber has a relatively easy path to the Last Eight and may run all the way to the title. Gabriñe Muguruza may also shock the world once more with another Cinderella run to the final. Serena Williams is making a comeback and will be a nightmare to deal with. Maria Sharapova is another tough cookie on the clay that will be rather tricky to defeat.

Naomi Osaka, Coco Vandeweghe, Johanna Konta, Venus Williams, and Caroline Wozniacki are the other impressive ladies that could make a splash in Paris.

The women’s game is much more entertaining to watch, in my opinion. I think even the best sportsbook will have a tough time identifying which lady will hoist the trophy in the end.

History

Maria Sharapova remains eager to prove herself to her fans and the top betting sites

Maria Sharapova serves the ball to Jelena Ostapenko during their quarter-final match at the Italian Open in Rome

History matters in this tournament and a peek at the history books will give you a clue on what to expect in this competition.

Nadal is loved by the clay as he has won ten of the last twelve French Open trophies. Federer, Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka were the only ones to break the Spaniard’s monopoly in France. Given Nadal’s current performances in the early part of the clay season, there’s no reason for many to not choose the 31-year-old as the leading favourite to win it all again.

However, it wouldn’t be surprising to see someone like Alexander Zverev making a thrilling upset in Paris. The 21-year-old is playing some of best clay tennis in the Tour, making the idea of him winning the tournament a nice change of pace.

The Women’s Singles of the Roland Garros has been less predictable than its male counterpart. Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams took turns in lifting the trophy from 2013 to 2015. Muguruza shocked the world in 2016, and Ostapenko did the same in 2017.

The last two tournaments were won by talented young ladies that were not even booked as favourites to win the title. If this trend holds true, there wouldn’t be any surprises should a new face win the French Open this year.

What are the odds?

I am running out of words and synonyms to try and elaborate just how dominant Nadal has been on the clay this season. Bookies help me with my case after giving the Spaniard unsurprisingly low outright odds of 1.40.

Zverev is the second-lowest with his 8.00, while Nadal-beater Dominic Thiem is blessed with 11.00. Other significant ATP pros you should take note of include Djokovic (13.00), Wawrinka (51.00), Grigor Dimitrov (51.00) and Denis Shapovalov (81.00).

Meanwhile, Simona Halep is the heavy favourite among bookies in the Women’s Singles with her 4.00 outright odds. Maria Sharapova is a close second with her 6.00, and Elina Svitolina is not far behind with 6.50.

Muguruza (15.00), Petra Kvitova (15.00), Wozniacki (17.00), Osaka (41.00) and Williams (11.00) are some of the other ladies that are worth your attention.

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King of Clay: Nadal is Back to the Summit!

Rafael Nadal vs Alexander Zverev (6-1, 1-6, 6-3)

A rain-drenched Italian Open final saw Rafael Nadal return to the top of the men’s standing at the expense of defending Rome champion Alexander Zverev.

Nadal has been on impeccable form on clay all season long; and despite his quarter-final defeat to Dominic Thiem in the Madrid Open a couple of weeks ago, he showed online gambling sites why he is the King of Clay and why he should never be counted out.

Sure enough, it wasn’t a walk in the park against Zverev, undoubtedly the only player who could argue to have a better clay performance than Nadal this year. However, Rafa showed his veteran savviness and turned the game around in a thrilling finale at Foro Italico.

Highlights of the game

Nadal opened the contest in style and looked to be on his way to an easy victory, but defending champion Zverev bounced back in the second set and led by two in the decider.

Following a lengthy rain delay, however, the Spaniard turned the live betting odds around to secure the victory and his eighth Italian crown.

Rafa cruised to the first set in just 32 minutes, with Zverev barely avoiding the bagel after Nadal dropped serve in the opening game. Nonetheless, what appeared to be another routine victory for the Spaniard turned into an online sports betting thriller as the German youngster blistered through the second.

Zverev took the initiative in the second frame and was aggressive throughout, using his sharp serve and crisp ball striking to overpower Nadal and move 5-0 up. It didn’t help the 31-year-old Nadal that he made a number of uncharacteristic errors as the 21-year-old Hamburg native levelled at 1-1.

Alexander Zverev has intensified the match after beating online gambling sites favourite Rafael Nadal during second set

World No. 3 Alexander Zverev serves the ball during the Italian Open Final against Rafael Nadal

The World No.3, who won nine of the next 11 games from the second set, led 3-1 going into an 11-minute rain delay in the decider. Nadal won the game after the restart, only to be halted by a longer rain delay.

It proved costly for Zverev as the delay took the momentum away from him and allowed Nadal to regain his composure. The German would not win a game after that as the King of Clay won four straight games, hitting a drop volley winner to close the match and clinch the title.

“When it happened, the rain delay, I didn’t feel in that moment that it would help me,” Nadal said after the match.

“That’s my feeling. It’s true that, if we analyse it now, of course, we can say that the rain delay helped me. But really, in my opinion, what helped me is that I came back with a clear idea in terms of tactical issues and in terms of decisions that I took after that break.”

Key statistics

Nadal won the contest and the title in roughly two hours and nine minutes, during which he fired 19 winners. Interestingly, according to ATP, Rafa also dominated the shorter rallies despite common views in the sport that the Spaniard is at his best in long rallies.

In rallies under five counts, Nadal won 33 times to Zverev’s 25. Furthermore, in rallies from single digits (0-9), the former won 62 times while the latter only had 51.

Zverev hit a total of 21 winners in the match, but his 28 unforced errors doomed his shot at defending his title and winning a rare double—having won the Madrid Open title recently.

Nadal is now 5-0 against Zverev. He defeated the #NextGen star while representing Spain in the Davis Cup last month.

What’s next?

Nadal’s victory allowed him to return to the top of the men’s standing after losing it to Roger Federer due to his poor Madrid stint.

He also got a piece of history with the trophy—his 78th overall—as he surpassed John McEnroe for the most Open Era titles. He’s currently in fourth place behind Jimmy Connors, Federer and Ivan Lendl.

Moreover, he extended his record to 32 Masters 1000 title, two more than Novak Djokovic’s collection.

Meanwhile, despite the defeat that snapped his 13-match winning streak, Zverev will rise to the top of the ATP Race to London leaderboard. He already has a tour-leading 30 wins this year, five more than second-placed Dominic Thiem and seven ahead of third-placers Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro.

Online gambling sites are backing Rafael Nadal to seal another trophy in the upcoming French Open

Rafael Nadal poses with the trophy after winning his tenth French Open title in 2017 against Stan Wawrinka

The two players are now headed to Roland Garros for the French Open. Betting sites favourite Nadal, who won the title in 2017,  is aiming for the ‘Undécima’ at the clay grand slam; and his latest win is undoubtedly a warning to all his rivals that are eyeing to stop him.

Zverev, on the other hand, will hope to replicate the form that rattled Nadal in this contest and build from it to win his first major title.

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Italian Open: Nadal Gives Zverev an Interesting Challenge

Rafael Nadal vs Alexander Zverev

Rafael Nadal told everyone that his shock loss to Dominic Thiem at the Madrid Masters quarter-final was nothing but a small bump in his form. He told fans and betting sites all over the world that he will come back stronger, and Rome saw his dominance on the clay.

He took down all of his opponents with the poise befitting the “King of Clay” title. Fabio Fognini and Novak Djokovic made his trek to this year’s Rome Masters a lot more difficult, but he is still the dominant force that we just love to see sliding around the court.

Alexander Zverev has had a wonderful year on clay, but King Rafa is the biggest boulder that stands in his way from winning his third clay competition of the year.

Talking Points

Nadal’s defeat to Theim in straight sets was a huge blow for fans that were raving about his rankings in the ATP ladder. Due to his defeat, Nadal saw tough rival Roger Federer retake the top spot and the right to be called the world’s best. This sparked a huge commotion between rabid fans of the two tennis stars, but Nadal has a chance to reclaim the summit with a win against Zverev.

However, Nadal’s trip to his 10th Rome final was anything but easy. He struggled to get things going against Fognini, who took down Gael Monfils and Madrid runner-up Thiem en route to a more-than-acceptable exit in the Last Eight.

Djokovic didn’t make things any easier for the 31-year-old. The Serb is trying to regain the dominant form that he lost through a niggling injury, and his performance here was an indicator of what’s to come at Roland Garros.

Nadal traded blows with Djokovic, with the Serb making the most out of his first serves. He even got four aces in. However, Nadal clung to the skin of his teeth and managed to secure the tiebreak, 7-4. He then went on to win the second set in a more comfortable manner.

“It was a tough match,” the Spaniard said post-game. “Playing against him is always a challenge. I played a couple of bad shots serving for the first set. Against him, you always have to play at the limit of your game.

“This victory is a good confidence for me.”

The huge win for Nadal doesn’t escape Zverev’s eyes, with the young German admitting that he is the underdog in Rafa’s kingdom. However, it’s not like he’ll be facing the King of Clay without any chances of winning.

He showed crowds through the clay season that he is definitely one to watch out for. His latest match against Marin Cilic, the fifth-best player in the world, is a testament to how much he’s grown as a player over the past year.

His 7-6 7-5 win over the Croat is a notch to his impressive clay run this year, and Nadal will be his biggest test yet.

History

Nadal will be the barometer that will help online bookies discern whether Zverev is worth a risk when the French Open begins. While his stint at Monte Carlo was one riddled with full-set games, he then showed his quality in the following tournaments, beating strong competition like John Isner and Dominic Thiem in straight sets.

Meanwhile, there is little that needs to be said about Nadal’s impressive streak at clay this year. He took down a long-standing record by John McEnroe while winning in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. If it wasn’t for Thiem’s dogged victory over the Spaniard, the record could have extended well into the third round of the Italian Open.

Meanwhile, their match history provides an interesting picture. Their first meeting was at Indian Wells in 2016, where Rafa took down Zverev Jr. in straight sets. They next played each in the 2017 Australian Open, where the then 19-year-old took Nadal to full sets in a four-hour classic. Nadal won the contest then took him down on straight sets when they clashed once more in the 2017 Monte Carlo Masters.

Their last duel gave everyone a rough idea of how this matchup will end, but Zverev’s impressive year on clay puts a cloud of doubt on casual fans.

What are the odds?

The top betting sites still give Nadal the advantage as he is nearly impossible to beat on clay. Some even gave him odds as low as 1.58 after slapping Nadal with a -1.50 handicap. Zverev supporters get 2.35 for the same amount of boost, while Money Line odds offer an eye-popping 3.94.

What the 21-year-old needs to do here is force Nadal to take shots at very odd places. While that is easier said than done, his spectacular form on clay makes this task a bit more achievable. He also needs to look at what Thiem did to unsettle Nadal. While what Thiem did will not work this time around, he should get ideas on how to beat Nadal.

Rafa is a tough cookie to crack for any player that loves to play on the clay. Zverev knows that he is facing an insurmountable wall, but even the smallest of walls can crumble after a weak point is discovered.

The question now is whether Zverev will actually find that crack.

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SPOTLIGHT: Stateside Rooney, Super Rafa and a Chile-ing Absence

In order for a punter to know the right moves to make on the top betting sites, he must know his sports. Keeping up with the latest buzz in the sport you are following gives you the edge above the others who blindly punt on a betsite.

Today’s news circle around three parties that are familiar with being the center of attention. us is certain that the waves they made in the headlines will surely affect your betting prospects!

Wayne Rooney is headed to the MLS

Wayne Rooney is reportedly set to depart from the Premier League to MLS

Wayne Rooney’s potential move to MLS has been agreed in principle

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Wayne Rooney’s time in the Premier League is now up. The former England captain is 32, had a subpar season with Everton and does not want to play for any clubs other than the Toffees and Manchester United.

Some feel that his game isn’t suited to the English game anymore, and his move away from the Premier League is inevitable. Wazza confirmed those theories by agreeing a deal in principle with Major League Soccer side DC United.

The deal, reportedly worth £12.5m, was closed after Rooney’s representatives negotiated terms in the United States. Pundits such as Gary Neville supported the move, saying that his return to his boyhood club didn’t really work out well for him.

However, Everton boss Sam Allardyce insists that the Toffees haven’t asked him to leave.

“My understanding is there seems to have been some negotiation along the line but as for clarity as to whether Wayne is staying or going we’ll see later on,” Allardyce said. “I’m comfortable with any player who wants to leave but let’s get this clear. Wayne Rooney has not asked to leave and neither has Wayne Rooney had a confrontation with me.”

Should Rooney head to the USA, he will inevitable meet with former United team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who already made himself a home with the LA Galaxy.

Rafael Nadal sets new record in dominant clay streak

Rafael Nadal broke McEnroe's 49-set winning run

Rafael Nadal holds an all-time winning record of 50 winning streak in a row

Rafael Nadal is undoubtedly the man to beat on clay courts, and his wins at Monte Carlo and Barcelona are clear evidence of his dominance. However, not many people know that Nadal just added another huge accomplishment to his already-illustrious career.

The King of Clay broke American tennis legend John McEnroe’s record of 49 straight sets won on the same surface. The match that got him through the record books is his victory over Diego Schwartzman in the third round of the Madrid Open.

He will try to extend his record when he faces Dominic Thiem, but Nadal is just appreciating what he just did.

“When my career is over, these are things that are going to be there for always. It’s difficult to be able to win 50 sets in a row,” Nadal said. “Well, it’s done. It’s over. Let’s not talk about that anymore and let’s continue on what we have ahead, which is what I am concerned about.”

Chile’s World Cup absence will haunt Sanchez

Chile missed out the World Cup qualification

Despite being on FIFA’s Top Ten, Alexis Sanchez and Chile will miss the World Cup.

Football fans that know their FIFA World Rankings will be aware that almost every single nation in the Top Ten are on their way to Russia. Chile is the only curious exception.

It’s unimaginable that a team that stars Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Bravo would be missing out on playing for the World Cup. However, a devastating defeat to Brazil forced Sanchez and friends to try and make it to the intercontinental playoff.

Colombia’s loss to Peru doomed La Roja to spend the summer watching the World Cup from their homes. The loss hurt Sanchez so bad that it affected his training with Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger shared his opinion on his former winger: “I believe to play at the top level, it is part of dealing with that kind of disappointment. He is in a very difficult mind. Chile just won the Copa America twice, and now they don’t even go to the World Cup.”

It wouldn’t be a stretch to think that Chile’s devastating exit from the World Cup was what prompted Sanchez to pack up and leave the Emirates for better pastures. While he is now playing on a better team at Manchester United, the sting of not playing in Russia will affect his mental state for quite some time.

He is among the list of excellent players who won’t play in the World Cup. The fault is in no way entirely Sanchez’s, but the team did lose some important matches that could have secured their spot.

All they could do now is hope that Sanchez is still as effective a player when he is 33 for the next World Cup. While this won’t be his last World Cup, Alexis won’t be playing at such a high level when the doors for Qatar open.

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Madrid Open: Can Dominic Rustle Rafa’s Leaves?

Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem

Can anyone actually beat Rafael Nadal on clay this year?

This is the question many must ask before going to their favourite sportsbook and bet. The man is simply unstoppable on clay that it seems unfair to even have him play on the tournament. Nadal has proven time and time again that playing against him on his home surface is practically impossible.

It will take a lot out of Dominic Thiem to even try and snatch a set against the Spaniard. The question we must ask is not whether Thiem can win against the King of Clay: it’s whether can steal a set from him at all.

Talking Points

Let’s get the most obvious thing out of the way: Rafael Nadal is outrageous to play against on clay. The man is so at home on this surface that he broke John McEnroe’s record for successive set wins on a single surface. The high praise he is getting from pundits is justified whenever his statistics and overall game sense on clay is mentioned.

Fans throughout the world bore witness to the sheer dominance King Rafa showed in his realm. The only men who were close to threatening his supremacy were Martin Klizan and Roberto Carballes Baena. However, Nadal made sure that his superb service game will not allow the game to be swayed away from him.

Sports betting tips Rafael Nadal to continue his dominant form in the Madrid Open

Rafael Nadal hits a backhand return to Gael Monfils during their Madrid Open clash

The odds continue to stack against Thiem as the Spaniard is a consistent performer in Madrid. Nadal has only missed two of the nine finals ever since the courts changed from hard to clay. Of course, Nadal will always want to play his best tennis in front of an adoring home crowd, so he should expect the Spaniard to continuously attack him time and time again.

Thiem is more than aware of Nadal’s good form and even admitted that facing Rafa at this point is a tough prospect. However, he has to remember that he was the last man to defeat Nadal on clay, and that little nugget could help him spark a run that will result in a stunning upset.

History

This can be considered a rematch of the 2017 Madrid Open final, one that Nadal won in straight sets. The 24-year-old Austrian is right in predicting that this match will be more lopsided than the one they played last year, and their match history supports his musing.

All of their meetings were exclusively on clay, so Thiem should be more than familiar with Rafa’s tactics and machinations. However, he has only bested the Spaniard on two occasions: a full-set win in Buenos Aires two years ago and a straight sweep during last year’s Rome Masters.

Some online bookies believe that Dominic Thiem can upset the world no.1 Rafa Nadal

Dominic Thiem returns the ball to Slovakia’s Jozef Kovalik during their Barcelona Open match

Thiem had a brilliant game during his Italian Open win over Nadal. While his over-aggression may have put a dent on his service game that time, his impeccable return games made sure that Nadal didn’t get the breaks he badly needed. His steady defence won him the game.

However, that match was only a blemish in what otherwise is a one-sided stomp. Nadal was the heavy favourite at Monte Carlo, and online bookies were also all over him winning against Thiem. The Austrian could not contain Nadal and became a notch in the 31-year-old’s incredible record.

What are the odds?

A lot of men have tried to topple Nadal’s reign of terror on the clay, but it doesn’t look like it’s stopping soon. Rafa’s fantastic tennis arguably shows its best on the clay. While Thiem is still coming into this match with the mentality to win, it’d be hard to imagine Nadal cracking under the pressure now out of all times.

Multiple gambling sites pick Nadal to win over Thiem and give him the better odds. As Nadal is the most likely to win, an Asian Handicap of -1.50 rewards punters with 1.24. Thiem will have his back against the wall and fight his way to gain a set. If he does steal a set from Nadal, punters will get a handsome 3.50 boost to their stakes.

The fate of this match will be up to Thiem. Rafa has always played at such a high level that he deserves to be called the King of Clay. Whether that statement will remain unblemished after this match is up to him. If he cannot find a weak link to his opponent’s game, he will be on an early flight to France.

Other notable match-ups

Alexander Zverev vs John Isner: The young German continues to make strides in the tournament, and he has his own small streak of straight-set wins to protect. John Isner will try to buck the trend.

Kevin Anderson vs Dusan Lajovic: Dusan Lajovic is on a wave of good form in the tournament, clawing through the qualifiers to defeat Richard Gasquet and Juan Martin Del Potro. Kevin Anderson will have an interesting challenge in his hands.

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Madrid Open Preview: Nadal, Halep Ready to Make History in Caja Magica

Mutua Madrid Open

An emotional drama with tennis history at stake is set to unfold at Caja Magica as Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep aim to add more milestones to their already impressive résumé.

The two have dominated the Madrid Open over the past couple of years; and as the tournament observes its 10th anniversary of moving from hard court to red clay, Nadal and Halep will be hoping to give online sports betting fans more reasons to celebrate.

Talking points

Last year, Nadal achieved an unprecedented record on clay court: becoming the only man in the open era to win the same ATP tournament 10 times. More amazingly, he did it at three different events—in the Monte Carlo Masters, Barcelona Open and Roland Garros.

He already upped that to 11 in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, proving once again that he is the undeniable King of Clay.

Now, Nadal will be looking to achieve another titanic feat, this time in the Madrid Open where he has already won five titles. Sure enough, Nadal is already high on the list of players with more than five titles in a single event, but he could add the Caja Magica competition to that list with another trophy.

The Spaniard is also the only player to win the tournament in back-to-back seasons, which he managed back in 2013 and 2014. This 2018, the defending champion could repeat that accomplishment and cement his legend status.

On the other hand, Halep is also on the verge of making history. After dominating the Madrid Open and winning the past two titles, she now has a shot to become the first WTA three-time champion at the tournament.

However, it won’t be as easy as it sounds for the Romanian, especially after her quarter-finals exit in Stuttgart last week. She has been dealing with an upper leg injury, and there are still concerns about her fitness despite her claims that she can take on the best in the Spanish capital.

Online sports betting favourites Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are only two of the "Big Four' to play in Madrid Open

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are both ready to impress Spain in the upcoming Mutua Madrid Open 2018

History

The “Big Four” of men’s tennis have shared the tournament’s championship since its move to Caja Magica in 2009. Nadal has won it four times at the venue, while Roger Federer has three. Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have two each.

Unfortunately, out of the four, only Nadal and Djokovic will be playing this year. Federer opted to skip the whole clay season, while Andy Murray is still recovering after undergoing surgery for a hip injury.

Meanwhile, as mentioned earlier, Halep has won the women’s event for two straight seasons now. Before her, Petra Kvitova (2015), Maria Sharapova (2014) and Serena Williams (2012, 2013) reigned supreme on the red clay of Madrid.

All four women were initially listed to play in the 2018 competition, but Serena pulled out last week as she told organisers she needs more time to be fit after a 14-month layoff.

What are the odds?

Nadal is the King of Clay for a reason, so it’s no wonder why the 16-time Grand Slam champion starts as the favourite to win on online gambling sites. At odds of 1.40, top betting tips also suggest he could be in for a relatively easy path up until the quarter-finals.

However, while the absence of some of the renowned stars helps Nadal’s claim to glory, other players could give him a run for his money.

Djokovic (15.00) has fitness issues, but he’s more than capable of beating Nadal if he’s healthy. If everything goes on the Serbian’s way, he could meet Rafa in the finals.

The best servers on tour have also found success playing on the venue, so the likes of Juan Martin del Potro (17.00), Milos Raonic (41.00) and John Isner (41.00) will fancy their chances of making a deep run.

And who could forget about the Spanish Armada? Spanish players, more often than not, succeed on clay—ask Nadal about that. Hence, it’s not far-fetched for Roberto Bautista Agut (51.00), Pablo Carreño Busta (81.00) and Albert Ramos Viñolas (81.00) to pull off some surprises.

In the women’s category, Halep is favoured to win it all at odds of 6.50, having won 13 straight matches in the tournament including a nervy three-set finale against Kristina Mladenovic last year.

Nonetheless, the Romanian champ needs to be cautious of home heroes Garbiñe Muguruza (7.50) and Carla Suárez Navarro (51.00) who will certainly get support from the stands.

Online sports betting is getting intense as tennis stars are more than ready to battle in Mutua Madrid Open

Garbiñe Muguruza in action during the Cincinnati Masters in 2017

World no.3 Muguruza, particularly, pose a tough challenge for Halep given the way she’s playing. And what better way to mark the 10th year anniversary of Madrid Open by becoming the first Spanish winner of the Premier Mandatory event?

Former champions Sharapova (19.00) and Kvitova (9.00) know how to win the competition and should never be counted out.

Just like in the men’s tennis, the top female big hitters such as Karolina Pliskova (9.00) and Sloane Stephens (21.00) could be in for a treat as well.

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