The BNP Paribas Masters is a men’s singles tennis tournament in which it has paid dividends to oppose the favourites and the 2013 edition could produce another surprise or two.
Novak Djokovic heads the BNP Paribas Masters title betting and the Serb arrives in Paris having won the last two events in which he has competed. Since going down to Rafael Nadal in the US Open final, Djokovic has helped Serbia to reach the Davis Cup decider and triumphed on his own in Beijing and Shanghai. One can understand why Djokovic is so highly rated in the eyes of bookmakers but, at best odds of 2.75 with Betfred, he is not the top tournament betting option.
That is because Djokovic is drawn to meet John Isner in the BNP Paribas Masters third round. Djokovic does have a very good head-to-head record against Isner, with the big-serving American proving more than a match for the Serb. Djokovic is up 3-2 overall versus Isner but their ledger is level at 2-2 on hard courts, plus the American beat the Serb 7-6 3-6 7-5 when they met on a Cincinnati hard court six months ago.
Djokovic’s first real BNP Paribas Masters test – by that one means his first scheduled meeting with a fellow seed – is a potential banana skin for the favourite and, therefore, one should not be backing him at short odds at this point.
The knee-jerk reaction to opposing Djokovic in any important tournament at the moment is to back Nadal but the Spaniard is under the odds as well, with the 3.50 offers of Betfred unattractive given the world number one’s poor record in indoor events played on hard courts.
Nadal is bidding to become the first player to win six ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles in the same season but the Spaniard does not excel indoors on hard courts, which is why he has failed to take out either the BNP Paribas Masters or the ATP Tour World Finals. Another reason why Nadal is not worthy of such short odds is that he is drawn to meet Jerzy Janowicz in the BNP Paribas Masters third round. Janowicz made it through to last year’s BNP Paribas Masters final.
Bypass Djokovic and Nadal and one can take one’s pick of the BNP Paribas Masters field at odds of 11.00 and longer. Juan Martin del Potro will attract support from some quarters – the Argentinian has won his last two hard-court clashes against his likely quarter-final opponent, Roger Federer – but the player who appeals most at the pre-tournament odds is one of the home hopes, France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Tsonga is one of the former BNP Paribas Masters winners in the draw – the Frenchman won the 2008 championship and he was the 2011 runner-up – and he boasts good head-to-head statistics versus the players whom he will probably have to beat in order to make the last four. Tsonga has won each of last two matches against Richard Gasquet and both clashes occurred on a hard court. Tsonga trails Nadal 3-8 overall but each of the Frenchman’s three wins over the Spaniard have happened on relatively fast surfaces, including in the 2011 ATP World Tour Finals on a London hard court indoors.
French players have an excellent BNP Paribas Masters record, with a Frenchman making the final in four of the last five years. Tsonga is available at odds of 41.00 with Betfred and, given the unattractiveness of Djovokic and Nadal at odds of 2.75 and 3.50 respectively, the Frenchman is the definite value call, either in win or each-way betting.
The BNP Paribas Masters gets off to a slow start, with the 16 seeds receiving a bye into the second round, which will not start until Tuesday 29 October 2009. The BNP Paribas Masters is the final event before the ATP World Tour Finals and Tsonga is one of the players in the race to snatch one of the unclaimed berths in the end-of-season tournament.