We have reached the semi finals of the 2021 French Open which means only four men and women remain on their respective sides of the draw. Unlike the women’s side of the draw, four top 10 seeds remain at Roland Garros in 2021, including 13 time French Open champion Rafael Nadal.
Enjoy our free daily picks and predictions for each round of the 2021 French Open at Roland Garros.
Alexander Zverev (6) vs Stefanos Tsitsipas (5)
Two of the young stars in professional tennis will face off in the semi finals at Roland Garros when world No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on world No. 6 Alexander Zverev. Only one of the two young top 10 talents will progress through to the French Open final, as both Tsitsipas and Zverev are still on the hunt for their maiden Grand Slam singles title.
Prior to the commencement of the tournament, Zverev was the third favorite to win the event and claim his first major championship, however after dropping the first two sets of his Round 1 clash against Oscar Otte things were looking bleak. The German went on to win the match in five sets and he has not dropped a set since then, progressing to this semi finals clash having won 15 consecutive sets.
As for the sixth seeded Tsitsipas, he has dropped just the one set so far at Roland Garros, which was in his fourth rebound clash against John Isner. Unlike Zverev, Tsitsipas has already defeated a player that was seeded higher than him, overcoming the No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev in three sets in their quarter final matchup.
As this is going to be the youngest Grand Slam semi final in over a decade, experience may be the key for Zverev in this matchup. The 24 year old has been much more prevalent at the pointy end of major tournaments and he will take confidence out of making an appearance at the final of 2020 US Open.
Zverev owns a 1-1 win-loss record in Grand Slam semi finals, while Tsitsipas is yet to progress to the final of a Grand Slam from his three career semi final attempts. The German will also take lots of confidence out of his record on the surface. Zverev owns 91-36 (.716 winning %) record on clay throughout his career, which is his best record on any Grand Slam surface.
Tsitsipas is aiming to become the youngest Grand Slam men’s singles champ since Juan Martin del Potro won the 2009 #USOpen.
He’s also bidding to become the youngest #RolandGarros men’s singles champion since Nadal in 2008.
Can he do it? 🏆 pic.twitter.com/2Yg2zs2Pgu
— ATP Tour (@atptour) June 8, 2021
As for Tsitsipas, he has maintained a consistently high standard of play throughout both the 2021 French Open tournament and the entire ATP season to date. The 22 year old has a tour leading 38 wins so far this season, including 21 on clay courts, which is also the most of any player on the men’s tour.
Tsitsipas has also overcome a tough draw to make his fourth appearance in a Grand Slam semi final, as his opponents average raking through his five matches at Roland Garros is 42. Zverev’s average opponent ranking has been 97, playing two qualifiers in that time. As well as that, the Greek holds a career 5-2 record over Zverev in their career head to head matches.
Although Zverev (.716 winning %) is a successful clay court player, Tsitsipas boasts an impressive 58-19 (.753 winning %) record of his own on the surface, and we are going to take the young Greek to win this match and advance to his first Grand Slam final.
Both players have very similar and powerful styles of play, however we believe that Tsitsipas has overcome a tougher draw with as much/more ease and think that he is playing a higher level of tennis than his German counterpart.
Novak Djokovic (1) vs Rafael Nadal (3)
Two of the top three players in the history of men’s tennis will add another chapter to their rivalry in the 2021 semi finals at Roland Garros when World No. 1 Novak Djokovic takes on the king of clay, Rafael Nadal. The two superstars, who share a combined 38 major titles, have already met on 14 occasions at Grand Slam semi finals or later, eight of which have come at the French Open.
With a relatively easy draw by his standards, Djokovic cruised through his first three rounds of the French Open without dropping a set. However, the Serbian received an almighty scare in the fourth round after dropping the opening two sets of his match against the unseeded Lorenzo Musetti. He went on to win the match in five sets.
Djokovic did drop another set in his quarter final clash against Matteo Berrettini, advancing to this semi final matchup in four sets. As for Nadal, he unsurprisingly won his first four matches at Roland Garros without dropping a set. However, the 13 time French Open champion dropped the second set of his quarter final match against Diego Schwartzman 4-6, marking the first time since the 2019 final that he had dropped a set at the event.
The world No. 1 will be looking to vindicate his performance against Nadal from last year’s final at Roland Garros, as Djokovic managed to win just seven games off the Spaniard. Although he does possess powerful strokes of his own, Djokovic will have to utilise his baseline athleticism to create cross court and drop shot opportunities, as getting into a battle of power against Nadal on clay is as good as conceding defeat. Their semi final matchup will mark a record 58th match in their career head to head series, where Djokovic owns a 29-28 record over Nadal.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are set to play against each other tomorrow in the French Open men’s semifinals.
This will be their 58th time going head-to-head 🤯 pic.twitter.com/iHjj8BMpzS
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 10, 2021
However, of their 57 clashes, 26 have come on clay and Nadal owns a 19-7 record over the Djoker in that time. Although he has struggled with his serve so far at Roland Garros, the Spaniard has been his brilliant best in the back court throughout the tournament, striking 86 winners through his five matches so far.
If Nadal doesn’t land his first serve consistently in their semi final matchup, Djokovic may be able to push this match to a fourth or fifth set, as the Serbian is widely considered the best returner on the tour. However, the 13 time French Open champion has a 105-2 record at Roland Garros, and we can’t see him being upset on this occasion.
There is not a more dominant player on any surface in the history of tennis than Rafael Nadal on clay. The Spaniard owns a remarkable 464-42 (.917 winning %) record on the surface throughout his professional career and we can’t go past him to add to that record against Novak Djokovic in their semi final meeting at the 2021 French Open.
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.