French Open Men's Day Nine Tips: Question marks over some of today's value

Fourth round action at the French Open continues on Monday, as we continue to get towards the business end of the tournament. Dan Weston is back to preview the day ahead...

Sunday's action - Nadal pushed in four-hour epic

All of yesterday's matches featured heavy pre-match favourites to make the quarter-finals, and three of those - Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Carlos Alcaraz - all got the job done in straight sets.

However, Rafa Nadal needed a decider to usurp Felix Auger-Aliassime in a match lasting in excess of four hours, which is hardly what he would have liked ahead of his meeting with Djokovic in the quarter-final. Early prices have the Serb as a solid pre-match favourite, and that epic five-setter which Nadal had to fight to win will be a contributory factor to that.

Night match - Medvedev favourite over Cilic

Eight players will be looking to join that quartet in the quarter-finals today, and there's some fascinating matches up for discussion. Firstly, I don't think there's much doubt that we picked off the pre-match value nicely from Daniil Medvedev on Saturday, but he's now a much shorter favourite today against Marin Cilic in the night match.

On hard courts this price of 1.31 about Medvedev would probably even look a little generous, but on clay, I'm not quite so sure. Cilic has done pretty well in the tournament so far, although had a pretty mediocre clay season in advance of this event, but I have a very slight leaning towards this being a competitive match. Not a strong lean by any means, but a slight one.

Fatigue doubt - Ruud over Hurkacz

The day's schedule starts at 11:30 UK time in the men's event, and going back to the first match on the card, it is Casper Ruud versus Hubert Hurkacz. This is a match where in normal circumstances Ruud looks great value to make the quarter-finals, but there are some caveats for this specific match today.

Quite simply, the duo are pretty similar on serve on clay in the last 12 months data-wise, but Ruud is far, far better on return, winning around 6% more return points and breaking around 8% more as well. There is little doubt that Ruud is the better clay-courter by a fair distance.

However, there's the danger for Ruud which I mentioned previously about Nadal - accumulated fatigue. Not only has Ruud played several long matches here, including a five-setter last time out against Lorenzo Sonego, but he also won the Geneva warm-up event last week when perhaps taking a week off might have been more advisable, particularly after reaching the semi-final of Rome the week previously.

We don't really have a lot to go on in terms of seeing how Ruud can back up week after week of playing numerous matches, but most players struggle to at least some degree. I think that's why Ruud is priced up at 1.69 here, as opposed to quite a bit shorter which basic numbers would make him.

Evenly matched - Rublev and Sinner

The other close-looking match today is Andrey Rublev versus Jannik Sinner, which the market is finding it hard to call - Rublev is trading at 1.97 currently on the Exchange. The duo met in Rome last month with Sinner taking a three-setter, and the Italian was shorter priced then at around 1.85 pre-match.

Both players have strong records on clay this season, with Rublev having a very marginal edge in terms of points won percentage and in particular service points won. It's enough to make him a slight favourite in my opinion, but it's difficult to disagree with the market pricing here - this should be a highly competitive match.

Game handicap possible - Rune against Tsitsipas

Finally, Holger Rune is yet to drop a set in the tournament so far and the Danish player is now at a career-high 40 in the world, which should improve again following this tournament.

The 19-year-old is a real prospect, particularly on clay, and could well give Stefanos Tsitsipas a tough time today.

Tsitsipas is the 1.23 heavy favourite to get the win here, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was closer. If Rune was a better server - he has more of a return-oriented dynamic - I'd be more keen to look at game handicap options but this should be a good test of where Rune is currently at against top 10 opposition as his career progresses.

So, to summarise, slight leans towards Cilic and Rune on the game handicap, and if not affected by fatigue, Ruud over Hurkacz, but there are enough question marks to not be particularly confident on those today.

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