Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open withdrawal opened the doors for a number of would-be champions in the men’s tournament, none more so than Daniil Medvedev, who has taken favourite status in his stride in the opening week of 2022’s first Grand Slam.
The robotic Russian, who broke his Slam duck when claiming the US Open title at Djokovic’s expense last season, has eased his way to the last 16 in Melbourne with victories over Henri Laaksonen, Nick Kyrgios and Botic van de Zandschulp.
Medvedev’s win over the enigmatic Kyrgios was particularly impressive, the world number two stuck to his gameplan to see off the home favourite in four sets, and he is now just 5/4 to claim the Aussie title. He faces French-American Maxime Cressy for a place in the quarters.
If the betting is to be believed, Alexander Zverev is Medvedev’s most likely final opponent. The German, drawn in the opposite half, is 7/2 to win the tournament and has yet to drop a set. However, he has benefited from a kind draw and faces a much tougher test against Denis Shapovalov on Sunday.
Hard to Rule Out Rock-Solid Rafa
If Medvedev and Zverev falter, 4/1 shot Rafael Nadal looks well placed to claim a men’s record 21st Grand Slam title.
The veteran Spaniard is on course to clash with Zverev in the semi-finals and has looked in fine fettle throughout the tournament, but he is not the only one threatening to roll back the years – Gael Monfils has not dropped a set and is 20/1 for a surprise triumph.
Shocks have been hard to come by and most of the heavy hitters remain. Stefanos Tsitsipas is 14/1 and Jannik Sinner is 16/1. Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini, meanwhile, has won 19 straight Grand Slam matches against players other than Djokovic and could tempt punters at 25/1.
Melbourne Hoping for a Barty Party
While Medvedev is a heavy favourite in the men’s draw, Australian hope Ashleigh Barty is the one they all have to beat in the women’s tournament.
The world number one, already a French Open and Wimbledon winner, has dropped just eight games in beating Lesia Tsurenko, Lucia Bronzetti and Camila Giorgi in her opening three matches. However, she faces a serious test against Amanda Anisimova on Sunday.
Barty is 7/5 to delight the home crowd and lift the trophy while Anisimova, who defeated Naomi Osaka in a stellar contest on Friday, is 16/1 but would see her odds contract significantly if she can dump out the favourite.
Simona Halep, drawn on the opposite side to Barty, looks close to her best following three easy opening-week wins. The Romanian is 11/2 to win the title as is Iga Swiatek, who impressed in a high-quality match with Daria Kasatkina on Saturday.
Paula Badosa is 9/1 while popular two-time champion Victoria Azarenka and her fellow Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka are both on offer at 13/1.
*All odds correct at time of writing.