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Craig Porter 18th May 2009 - 11:39

Federer finally shows class on clay

Roger Federer's defeat of Rafael Nadal on the clay at the ATP Madrid Masters has shaken up the betting odds for the French Open which starts this Sunday.

Federer ended Nadal's run of 33 consecutive victories on clay as he dispatched the World Number 1 in under and hour and a half, 6-4 6-4. The performance saw Federer's odds cut from 9/1 to 13/2 joint second favourite to win at Roland Garros alongside Novak Djokovic who has been pushed out from 5/1.

King of the Clay Nadal, who has won 150 of 154 matches on dirt since 2005, is still odds on to lift the French Open trophy for the fifth successive year but now a slightly bigger 4/11 after losing to Federer for only the second time on clay in ten encounters. Rafa overcame three match points against him in a four-hour semi-final against Djokovic but insists that was not the reason for the defeat in front of his home crowd.

"Playing four hours was not a problem for today," he said. "Roger was much better than me and deserved to win today."

Murray has shown improvement on clay this season

The new World Number 3, Andy Murray, showed how much he has improved on his least favourite surface reaching the quarter finals, to back up his recent semi-final on the clay in Monte Carlo.

The Brit defeated claycourt specialist Tommy Robredo in the third round before falling to fifth-seed Juan Martin del Potro in the quarters and is confident, yet still cautious, going into the French Open.

"I feel confident going into the French, better than I have done in previous years. I just need to work in a few bits and pieces but my game is definitely better on clay this year than last."

You can back Murray at 10/1 while his victor, del Potro, is available at 40/1 in William Hill's French Open betting odds.

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