French Open last 16: Tsonga battles Berdych, Nishikori in action
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has never been beyond the semi-final of his home Grand Slam, the French Open, and he faces a real fight to even make the second week at Roland Garros this year.
Fourth seed Tomas Berdych, a former Wimbeldon finalist and 22/1 chance with Coral to win his first major honour in tennis here, beat one of France’s best players of recent times in straight sets on a clay court surface as recently as the Madrid Masters.
Odds-on at 4/11 to win his tussle with Tsonga, top Czech ace Berdych has hardly made plain sailing of the Frech Open’s early rounds. It’s taken him four sets to dispatch compatriot Radek Stepanek and the same against Benoit Paire, another Frenchman.
Tsonga, meanwhile, dropped just 11 games in his first couple of matches at Roland Garros, before being taken to an opening set tiebreak by Spaniard Pablo Andijar, en route to another straight sets win in round three. He does have a couple of victories over Berdych, though none on clay.
It’s difficult to know what to make of Tsonga’s 2/1 price to beat Berdych with both men reaching the end of their prime. Given his form in previous French Open rounds, an astute bet could well be backing Berdych in four sets at 11/4.
Punters may also want to take 13/8 on Tsonga winning the second, as his Czech opponent has dropped this in his last two Roland Garros outings on a tiebreak (odds of 3/1 for set two to go the distance).
Kei Nishikori, meanwhile, has been earmarked for some time to step up and the challenge the Grand Slam dominance of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
At 8/1 to win his maiden Slam at this year’s French Open, Japanese tennis ace Nishikori meets Georgian-born Teymuraz Gabashvili, who represents Russia, but is fresh following third round opponent Benjamim Becker pulling out injured.
Having a midweek rest will have benefitted Nishikori no end, and that is reflected in his massive odds-on 1/12 price to win. A slightly better price of 4/7 says he can repeat his straight sets win on clay from Barcelona earlier this term here.
Gabashvili has only ever beaten Nishikori when injury force the rising star of the Far East to retire, so 6/1 for another upset are not worth considering.
Coral betting tip: Back Berdych to beat Tsonga in four sets at awesome odds of 11/4.