No one can blame you for double-watching the odds for Novak Djokovic vs. Carlos Alcaraz in Friday’s semifinal match.
Djokovic, a 22-time Grand Slam champion and two-time French Open winner, is +170 behind the 20-year-old Alcaraz, who is aiming for his first Coupe des Mousquetères.
Perhaps my first thought when looking at the odds was that Djokovic was either struggling with an injury or out of shape.
It’s true that the Serb has been battling lingering injuries on clay swings, but it’s not all crazy in Paris.
Djokovic has dropped just one set in his first five matches.
He’s not 100%, and he may not be at the peak of his power, but he hasn’t been given much reason to believe he’s far from it.
Is Djokovic’s price too high to let go?
Novak Djokovic vs Carlos Alcaraz nominations
The rise of Carlos Alcaraz was rapid and impressive.
The 20-year-old Spaniard will have a big run at the 2021 US Open and will lift the trophy at Arthur Ashe less than a year later.
And while the US Open is played on hard courts, everyone seemed to agree that Alcaraz was Rafael Nadal’s successor on clay.
That sentiment ran even higher this season, when Alcaraz won titles in Barcelona and Madrid as part of a 12-game winning streak on dirt.
The Alcaraz run ended in a shocking upset by world No. 115 Fabian Marozin, but the result did little to deter the gambling market.
Alcaraz was the clear favorite to win at Roland Garros, posting around +155 before the first round.
And even with such a low number and tight draw, there was a lot of support for Alcaraz.
The Spaniard had his eye on the gauntlet of three matches against up-and-coming clay-court talent Lorenzo Musetti, 2022 French Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas and Djokovic.
Nonetheless, Alcaraz was still on the money, as many thought it would be the last time he would come close to those odds before the French Open.
they may be right.
Alcaraz dominated the first week and a half in Paris, dropping just one set to Japanese scrapper Taro Daniel.
Even more surprising is that the teenager has won 11 sets in eight games (out of 16). He is pushing through a draw.
Alcaraz also beat world No. 5 Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals.
The Greeks looked weird, probably because the Spaniards were playing at a ridiculously unbeatable level.
And while Alcaraz took Tsitsipas to school, Djokovic didn’t have the easiest match against Karen Khachanov in the quarterfinals.
Djokovic dropped the first set and needed a tiebreaker in the second to avoid going 0-2.
The 36-year-old has won, but will need to be at an exceptional level to beat Alcaraz.
Alcaraz’s prices are obviously a bit insane — and Djokovic took some initial funding — but it’s hard to blame anyone who doesn’t want to step in front of this train right now.
Nonetheless, Alcaraz’s recent performance against Tsitsipas (an elite player who has struggled since his return) has provided some value in the semi-finals.
Djokovic is much better than Tsitsipas on his comeback and is more motivated to score longer points against Alcaraz, which should give him a chance to take on the prodigious genius.
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And while I think Djokovic deserves a pre-match moneyline bet, we could split the stakes and see if Alcaraz wins the first set and then beats the Serb.
Djokovic is a master of in-match coordination, going 13-2 in his last 15 matches after losing the first set.
The Bet: Novak Djokovic +170