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Monday, 15 October, 2018

Carreno Busta could provide Nadal with his biggest test yet

Galician has already seen off seeds Dimitrov and Raonic

Pablo Carreno Busta may not be totally embarrassed by the king of clay
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Day ten
ITV4 and Eurosport, from 1pm Tuesday

Carreno Busta v Nadal
Rafael Nadal, who has his sights set on a tenth Roland Garros singles crown, is a hot favourite to defeat fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta and reach the semi-finals.

Carreno Busta is improving nicely and has turned over seeds Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic, but next up is the best clay-courter who ever lived.

Nadal demolished Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1 6-2 6-2 and Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-0 6-1 6-0 in his last two starts, but Carreno Busta could get a little closer to the Majorcan than RBA did.

Carreno Busta is 11-4 to win at least a set, which doesn't appeal hugely, but a total-games over/under quote of 27 is more interesting.

Considering Nadal is 31 years old and his Galician opponent is approaching his prime at 25, the clash could be more competitive than many believe so getting with the outsider may be worthwhile.

Recommendation
Over 27 games
1pt 8-11 Betway

Thiem v Djokovic
There's an understandable belief that Dominic Thiem could fare significantly better against Novak Djokovic in Paris than he did in Rome recently when he was thrashed 6-1 6-0, but bookmakers may be factoring that feeling into their prices too much.

Djokovic is a tempting 3-1 chance to defeat Thiem in straight sets and he is asked to concede just 3.5 games on the match handicap, which seems fair for his supporters given that he could still be buoyed by taking on the services of Andre Agassi as coach.

Obviously a handicap bet means punters have a better chance of winning, but given that Djokovic has dropped sets to only Diego Schwartzman, who was convinced he could trouble the Serb, it could be wiser tilting at the jackpot.

The world number two remains a fine performer in pressurised situations and even if a set or two was to go close Djokovic could still nick them.

Recommendation
N Djokovic to win 3-0
1pt 5-2 Betway

Ostapenko v Wozniacki
In a remarkable personal series, Jelena Ostapenko leads Caroline Wozniacki 3-0 and because of that, bookmakers make former world number one Wozniacki only a slight favourite.

Wozniacki, who is still without a Grand Slam singles title at senior level, will view this as a chance to alter that record, but Ostapenko is such a precocious talent that the Dane may not have things all her own way.

Both players are feisty, making this clash difficult to call, and the wisest play could be to back it to go to a deciding set.

Recommendation
Three-set match
1pt 11-8 bet365

Mladenovic v Bacsinszky
In the wake of Kristina Mladen­ovic’s 6-1 3-6 6-3 victory over last year's singles winner Garbine Muguruza, which was arguably the match of the tournament so far, it was thought that the French­woman would be shorter to defeat Timea Bacsinszky than the available prices issued.

Bacsinszky is a confirmed clay-lover who made the semi-finals at Roland Garros in 2015, but if Mladenovic can keep the ball in court as much as the Swiss number one, then she ought to have the power needed to snatch victory.

The oddsmakers will also be factoring into the equation consistency and temperament. There are few worries in those spheres as far as Bacsinszky is concerned, but if Mladenovic can keep her cool she can nose ahead in their personal series.

Recommendation
K Mladenovic
1pt 4-5 general

Considering Nadal is 31 and his Galician opponent is approaching his prime at 25, the clash could be more competitive than many believe
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