The second Grand Slam of the season is here – and with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic drawn into the same quarter of the draw, even the first week should be full of excitement.

Who Can Win?

Novak Djokovic

Source: Edwin Martinez1 @ Flickr

The Spanish legend will be looking to make his mark in the tennis history yet again, but it’s Novak Djokovic who’s actually the number one favorite for the title – and for a good reason. He’s the man who’s lost just two matches since the start of the season, with his dominance never looking in doubt, while Nadal has won just a single title in 2015 – and in a pretty small tournament at that.

Tensions were high before the start of the draw and they will be even higher now that we know that the two cannot even meet in the semis or in the final. Unsurprisingly, there are still many who believe that Nadal is going to make a miraculous recovery in time for the French Open and that he’s going to win the thing yet again, but the tournament in Rome showed how unlikely that is and bettors that are looking for a good outright bet should certainly look in the opposite direction. The odds for Djokovic might look low, but they’re fully justified and worth taking.

Things are much less clear-cut on the women’s side of things, but it nonetheless seems a bit odd to favor Serena Williams after her rough start to the European clay court swing. She might be the world’s number one by a big margin, but she’s never liked the red stuff, so she doesn’t look like a particularly good bet this year. At the current odds, Maria Sharapova looks like the best play to us.

Potential Surprises

Svetlana Kuznetsova

Source: Edwin Martinez1 @ Flickr

The winners are most likely going to emerge from the small pool of big favorites, but we believe that chances are that there will be some surprising semi-finalists on both sides of the draw. Firstly, there’s David Ferrer, who’s virtually guaranteed to make it to the quarter-finals due to his easy draw early on, and we’re happy to have a bet on him to make it one round further.

Next, we also fancy Tomas Berdych to make it to the Grand Slam semis yet again. Kei Nishikori is his greatest rival in the race for the spot, but the Japanese number one is notorious for his Grand Slam struggles and constant injuries that tend to surface at the worst possible moments, so the Czech looks like the safer bet to us.

The world’s number three, Simona Halep, should also be too tough for everyone else in the third quarter of the draw, as she was brilliant in Paris last time out and looked in good shape in Rome. Carla Suarez-Navarro was eventually able to beat her in that tournament, but she should be able to peak in time for the big one and make it very far for the second year in a row.

The last bet we’ll be taking is Svetlana Kuznetsova to win the second quarter of the women’s draw. She’s been up and down since the very start of the season, but her epic run in Madrid a few weeks ago was the best she could’ve hoped form in the run-up to the French Open, so we believe that she’s going to prove that she’s still a force to be reckoned with over the next couple of days. As a former champion, she knows the terrain inside out and that usually counts for a lot in the Grand Slams, while the rest of her quarter is hardly proven in slow conditions. Kvitova will be dangerous if she finds her range in the first couple of rounds, but certainly not as dangerous as she was in Madrid.

The Recommendations

Novak Djokovic to win French Open 2015 (Best Odds: 1.90 @ Paddy Power)

Maria Sharapova to win French Open 2015 (Best Odds: 5.50 @ Bet365)

David Ferrer to win his quarter (Best Odds: 3.75 @ Paddy Power)

Tomas Berdych to win his quarter (Best Odds: 3.40 @ Paddy Power)

Simona Halep to win her quarter (Best Odds: 2.00 @ Bet365)

Svetlana Kuznetsova to win her quarter (Best Odds: 9.00 @ Bet365)