2024’s edition of the French Open has been a curious one. From draconian snap-decisions to ban alcohol, through to the terrible weather and a playing schedule into the early hours of the morning, it has not been a good look for tennis. Compounded with Roland Garros great Nadal going out in the first round and Djokovic departing through injury a week later, the tournament needs a strong finish and the semi-finals and finals will need to produce something special. Whatever happens from here, La Coupe des Mousquetaires will see a new name on it for the first time in a generation. 


Semi-final 1:  Alcaraz vs Sinner,  1.30pm UK time Friday 7 June.

With the early exit of Djokovic, Sinner will pick up the top spot of the ATP rankings when they come out on Monday.  The timing of this switcharound could not be better for Sinner with the start of the grass-court season just days away. That is reflected in the betting markets that have seen Sinner come into a 3.00 (2/1) shot to pick up his first Wimbledon title.  Alcaraz is 2.50 (6/4) and Djokovic moves out to 5.50 (9/2).  With at least 4 weeks required to recover from the knee surgery required this week, Djokovic is surely a lay at this price.

But first up, we have a mouthwatering semi-final between Alcaraz and Sinner.

  • "This is an absolute titan of a match-up; this is a Tyson fight in the late 80s." - Andy Roddick, 6 June 2024

Just over a month ago, Alcaraz was forced to withdraw from the Italian Open with a right forearm injury. While he is wearing strapping in Paris, there are no signs that this injury is giving him any concern.

A day after the Alcaraz news broke, Sinner also withdrew from the same tournament with a hip injury.   He too seems to be moving fine in Paris.  

The betting sees Alcaraz as a solid favourite. The pair share four wins each after their 8 meetings to date. They’ve only met once on clay, Sinner with the win that time.  But that was two years ago and since then these two have been very evenly matched. Neither player has put more than 2 wins in a row against the other. 

Since Sinner’s win on the dirt in 2022 the pair have been very hard to separate. The graph below shows the fluctuations in dominance over the last few years using games-won as a supremacy metric.  It has been back and forth between them.

Game supremacy over the last few years


With the Big Three of Federer, Nadal and potentially now Djokovic too riding into the sunset, the game is already in very safe hands with this new crop of talent. The likes of Medvedev, Zverev, Ruud and Rune can go deep in all four slams, but there is no doubt that it is these two players who will provide the box-office rivalry for this generation of men's tennis.

At SharpBetting, we have long been an advocate of the Jannik Sinner game.  A few years ago, when Alcaraz was first being tipped as the next big thing, it was Sinner who was catching our eye.

Sinner has always been on the radar

We posted this in 2021:  “Sinner to have a better career than Alcaraz. There’s a lot of Djokovic about his game; amazing movement, a bigger serve, better overhead and mentally incredibly strong.”   Three years on, and deservedly at the top of the men's game, Sinner has without doubt been the man to watch over the last 6 to 12 months.

Does that mean he is the bet on Friday?  Probably not.

While Alcaraz looks to be enjoying every second of his time in Paris, Sinner seems to be carrying more concern about that niggling hip injury from last month.  He admitted in his first press conference since becoming world number one that he “came here with some physical doubts” and also that the clay is “a surface where I struggle a lot”.

Djokovic has raised his concerns about the surface in Paris being more slippery than usual. Sinner would not comment on it when asked.  But if there is any truth to what Djokovic is saying, then Alcaraz does have the advantage.  His drop-shot is a stunning shot; statistically the best in the business, and on this surface it is the most potent.  

While it is foolish to make a prediction about a shot that is only deployed a few times per set, it is the ramifications of having this shot in the locker that also pays dividends.  In a game of such small margins, this could be key.

Look for the impact of the Alcaraz drop-shot, especially during the Sinner service games. Don’t be surprised to see a break of the Sinner serve come during a game in which Alacaraz has put the drop on him.

I really like Sinner’s game and it matches up well with Alcaraz.  But on this surface, at this time, I am not surprised to see Sinner is available at 2.4x on Betfair (11/8). 

He has too much firepower to be rolled over, and while I would pick him to beat Alcaraz should they meet on the grass in a few weeks time, I expect he’ll come off second best in this particular match, and I will be backing Alcaraz to win in 4 or 5 sets.


  • Alcaraz to win 3-1 @ 5.0 (4/1)
  • Alcaraz to win 3-2 @ 6.0 (5/1)

Dutching these two selections pays odds of 2.73 (approx. 7/4).

[Click here to use the SharpBetting tools for Dutching multiple selections into one position.]


Semi-final 2:  Ruud vs Zverev,  4.30pm UK time Friday 7 June.

Playing second-fiddle, we have another great semi-final between Casper Ruud and Alexander Zverev. It's a rematch of the 2023 semi-final when Ruud rolled-over Zverev, dropping just 7 games in a straight sets win. There is a large asterisk next to this result as it came just 12 months after Zverev's ankle injury that could have been career-ending.  It was achievement enough to reach the last four, and now Zverev looks back to his best. 

It would be a huge surprise to see last year's result again. The betting is very close in this one and the day before the match you can get 10/11 about both players. If Zverev is at his best, I would make him the favourite but it is a case of Zverev's volatility versus Ruud's consistency.  Zverev's top level is enough to defeat Ruud here, but he is more likely to produce a sub-par performance than Ruud, and if that happens it will be Ruud's match.

There will be a talking-point about Ruud having a quarter-final walkover and therefore not getting the court-time required for the perfect preparation here but that should not be a huge factor at this level with his experience.  Once again, Ruud has crept through to a Grand Slam semi-final without much fanfare and among the elites in the game, he is often overlooked.   With only one win against a Top-10 opponent in the majors, that would explain why his consistency to go deep is not given the credit it perhaps deserves.

Zverev's conditioning should see him at 100% for the semifinal and I can see him winning in four. But if this gets to a deciding set the betting is likely to favour Ruud at that stage. If the Zverev serve is firing, Ruud won't do enough on return to trouble the German. But Ruud's drop-shot has been excellent this fortnight and he will look to exploit that to test Zverev's fitness reserves after his 17 hours on court. That is nearly five hours more than Ruud has had to invest to get this far in the tournament. 

Zverev has played one tie-break in each of the five rounds so far, winning all of them.  No one will be surprised to see tie-breaks in this match, and the Over/Under 37.5 Total Games threshold could even be breached in three sets.  Ruud has played two breakers in his four matches, winning both.

So it really is hard to pick a winner. I feel more confident that this is not going to be straightforward day at the office for both of them. That's why we are taking the short prices on offer for this to go long, either player to win in 4 or 5 sets and at least 38 games in the match.


  • More than 3 sets @ 1.50 (1/2)
  • More than 37 games @ 1.67 (4/6)






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