French Open tips: Carlos Alcaraz to prevail in one of the greatest matches of all time

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Tennis guru Derek Bilton is looking for a second winner in two weeks with both outright picks for the French Open still in the running as the tournament moves into its business end.

The French Open rumbles on and we have reached the business end at Roland Garros. The column knocked out another winner last week and both our outright picks in Paris are swaggering towards the final. To steal a line from Yer Man Conor McGregor "We're not just here to take part. We're here to take over."

Attention will soon switch to the short grass-court season with action from Nottingham, Den Bosch and Stuttgart from Monday. But first, let us wrap things up on the red dirt, shall we?

Carlos Alcaraz v Novak Djokovic in the semi-final on Friday might go down as one of the greatest matches of all time. This is not hyperbole. Alcaraz has looked unplayable at times over the last week and a bit. He is the future of the game. However, facing Djokovic at the business end of a Grand Slam is not something he has done before and it is at these moments 'Nole' morphs into a different animal.

Djokovic has been there and done it. Two French Open titles and 22 Grand Slam men's singles titles in total. The Serbian can raise his level to a place not many players in the history of the game have ever reached.

Matches between 'Old Masters and Young Geniuses' in any sport are captivating. The excitement for this is through the roof, to the extent I've taken half a day off work on Friday to enjoy the fireworks.

Djokovic will be super motivated. If he wins here he will move out on his own to 23 Grand Slam wins and it would be extra special to do so at a venue his great rival Rafael Nadal (currently tied with him on 22 Majors) calls home.

Is Novak Djokovic slowing down?

Djokovic has looked decent so far after a sub-par clay season before the French Open. It wasn't easy in his quarter-final against Karen Khachanov, who truth be told was the better player for most of their first two sets. But Novak played a perfect tiebreak and then went through the gears to win in four.

However, there is a nagging doubt that at 36 his movement on the court has slowed just a little. Alcaraz beat him in their only previous meeting (last year in Madrid) and conditions should favour the Spaniard. World No. 1 Alcaraz has bulldozed his way into the French Open semis with a series of merciless performances. This feels like his time.

Don't sleep on the Juan Carlos Ferrero angle either. Ferrero is coaching Carlos these days and won the French Open himself exactly 20 years ago. He's more explosive but you can see elements of El Mosquito's game in Alacarz. Both have venomous backhands. Ferrero zipped behind the baseline and hit from both wings with deceptive power, just like his protégé. And both play with heart and passion.

In terms of the betting for this one, the line opened with Alcaraz a 1/2 favourite. I can't remember the last time Djokovic was 7/4 against in a Grand Slam semi but here we are. It is a great match-up stylistically and unlikely that either player will wrap things up in straight sets. With this in mind, 'Over 38.5 Games' looks a shout with Planet Sport Bet at 20/21. However, my hunch is youth will be served and so instead I am going to have a few quid on 'Charly' getting it done in four.

Tip: Alcaraz to win 3-1 at 3/1 (Planet Sport Bet)

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