New Challenge to Familiar Faces at Australian Open

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Novak Djokovic looks to extend his Australian Open record while Naomi Osaka can confirm her authority in the women's game this weekend.

Eight-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic

The season’s first Grand Slam is set to reach its conclusion this weekend with Novak Djokovic bidding for a ninth Australian Open title when he takes on starlet Daniil Medvedev in Melbourne, while Naomi Osaka eyes successive major trophies when she locks horns with America’s Jennifer Brady in the women’s final.

Medvedev Can Secure First Grand Slam Title

No player in history has more Australian Open titles to their name than superb Serbian Djokovic, who has come out on top in Melbourne in four of the last six years.

But there have been plenty of shaky moments for the 17-time Grand Slam winner in this tournament and if any player can capitalise on those faults, it is Medvedev.

The prices emphasise how close this contest could be with both Djokovic and Medvedev rated 20/21 to prevail.

And although Djokovic has experience on his side, punters are advised to side with Medvedev.

The dynamic Russian has won each of his last 20 singles matches, winning the Paris Masters, ATP World Tour Finals and ATP Cup in the process and he barely broke a sweat when taking down Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

Tsitsipas had himself beaten Rafael Nadal in the previous round but Medvedev looked the much stronger of the two and has only dropped two sets in the entire competition – both against Filip Krajinovic in the second round.

Djokovic, meanwhile, dropped sets against Alex Zverev, Milos Raonic, Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe and lost to Medvedev 6-3 6-3 in the ATP World Tour Finals. A Medvedev win looks the best bet but Djokovic should be fancied to win at least a set so a 3-1 win to Medvedev at 19/5 could represent value.

Irrepressible Osaka Can Justify Favouritism

Osaka beat Brady on her way to the last Grand Slam title – the 2020 US Open – and the prices suggest the Japanese ace can beat her American counterpart once again.

Osaka is 2/9 to win in Melbourne with Brady rated 7/2 and the prices look about right.

World number three Osaka had a fairly smooth ride to the final but had to take down 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams in the semi-finals and did so convincingly, winning 6-3 6-4 and firing six aces.

As for Brady, despite ranking 22nd in the world, she has not faced anyone seeded higher than her on the way to the final and, although she deserves her spot in the showpiece, she showed shades of vulnerability when dropping sets against Karolina Muchova and Jessica Pegula.

This looks set to be a more one-sided affair than the men’s final and with Osaka’s superior experience of Grand Slam finals – she won this major in 2019 – she can come out on top.

She has won each of her last six sets in the tournament and it is no surprise to see a 2-0 win rated 4/7. Punters should anticipate a fairly straightforward win for Osaka and as a result under 20.5 games looks an enticing selection at 5/6.

*All odds correct at time of writing

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