The 2019 Australian Open Men’s Singles Tournament will have a couple of differences to previous ones, with all five-set matches decided by a tiebreak for the first time. After three sets, players will also take a ten-minute break.
But what punters really want to know is whether there will be a different name on the trophy this year or whether Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer can win a record seventh Australian Open Men’s Singles Title. Outsiders don’t have a great record in the event though, with Marat Safin in 2005 the last outsider to lift the trophy. Since then, Novak Djokovic has won it six times, Federer five times, and Rafa Nadal and Stan Wawrinka once each.
However, the draw for the 2019 Australian Open has been made and some of the big names have some potentially tough hurdles to overcome if they’re to win the title this year.
World number one Djokovic heads the first quarter and is set to face one of the qualifiers in round one. However, he could face a potential challenge in round two in Jo-Wilfred Tsonga. The Frenchman has won six of his 22 matches against Djokovic including beating him here in the quarter-finals in 2010. Tsonga also comes here in decent form having made the semi-finals of his last tournament in Brisbane.
Djokovic is still fancied to beat Tsonga, and he’s unlikely to lose any sleep over potential matches against David Goffin and Daniil Medvedev, who he respectively leads 5-1 and 2-0 in head-to-heads. Djokovic should also be relishing a potential quarter-final match against eighth seed Kei Nishikori as he has won his last 14 matches against the Japanese player.
Australian Open First Quarter Free Tip
Novak Djokovic @ 1.50 Betfair, Ladbrokes, PaddyPower, Coral
This looks a real opportunity for youngsters Alexander Zverev or Dominic Thiem, though a shock is not ruled out with Zverev having never progressed past round three, whilst Thiem has never reached beyond round four. Zverev is a danger man as he’s capable of beating anyone, but his stamina is suspect in the two-week slam format. He also might have to beat the likes of Hyeon Chung, Nick Krygios, Milos Raonic, and Stan Wawrinka along the way, all of whom are potential dangermen if recapturing their best-form.
By contrast, Thiem has an easier looking road to the quarter-finals, and he made further progress at the slams last season by reaching the final of the French Open and the quarter-finals at the US Open. Thiem also beat Zverev in straight sets in last season’s French Open quarter-finals and could again have the legs of Zverev if they meet in the quarter-finals here.
Australian Open Second Quarter Free Tip
Dominic Thiem @ 8.00 Ladbrokes and Coral
Roger Federer will have to be on his guard against first-round opponent Denis Istomin, who has knocked an under-par Djokovic out of this tournament in the past, but Federer has beaten him on the six previous occasions they’ve met. Indeed, if Federer is in anywhere near as good a form as he was in the last two years, he should reach the quarter-finals without too much fuss. However, he potentially faces Marin Cilic at that stage, and the pair fought out an epic five-setter in last year’s final. Federer would be fancied to beat Cilic, but a similarly tough match at the quarter-final stage could leave him jaded for the semis.
Australian Open Third Quarter Free Tip:
Roger Federer @ 2.10 Ladbrokes and Coral
It’s going to be tough for last year’s semi-finalist Kyle Edmund to go as far this time, as his potential fourth-round opponent is Rafa Nadal. However, Nadal may not be at his best after an extended absence due to his recurring knee injuries. That could mean the fourth quarter is a great opportunity for Kevin Anderson to put in another good grand slam performance, with the big-serving South African reaching the final in two of his last five grand slams. Admittedly, he’s been beaten in the first round in his last two appearances here but comes into the tournament in-form this time after winning his warm up in Chennai.
Australian Open Fourth Quarter Free Tip
Kevin Anderson @ 6.00 Betfair and PaddyPower
Semi-Finals & Final
A semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem would be an interesting confrontation as, whilst Djokovic leads Thiem 5-2 on previous meetings, it’s Thiem that has won their last two matches. However, as those two matches were on clay and at a time when Djokovic was lacking motivation, Djokovic would be fancied to overcome the young Austrian back on hardcourts.
Meanwhile, a semi-final between Roger Federer and Kevin Anderson could be an equally interesting battle. Federer is in front on head-to-heads and loves the fast courts that were put down two-years ago, but he must have some mental scars about allowing Anderson to come back from two sets to nil down to win 3-2 at Wimbledon last year. In truth, Anderson’s serve and booming forehand were unplayable in those final three sets and the South African could take Federer’s measure again if Federer is jaded after a tough quarter-final.
Anderson also took Djokovic to the brink of defeat at Wimbledon in 2015, when the Serb trailed 2-0 and was on the ropes only to be saved by a rain-break after which he returned refreshed and reeled off three straight sets. Anderson does boast a victory over Djokovic in 2018 but Djokovic was dominant in two meetings towards the back-end of last season at the Shanghai Masters and the ATP World Tour Finals.
It would be great for tennis if Djokovic and Federer made the final, duelling it out to become the first player to win a seventh Australian Open Title. However, the younger and newly motivated Djokovic may prove too strong for Federer. Therefore, backing Djokovic to win his sixth Australian Open in 12 years looks a fair bet at odds against, whilst Anderson looks the each-way alternative.
Australian Open 2019 Free Tips
Novak Djokovic Win @ 2.25 BoyleSports and RedZone
Kevin Anderson Each-Way @ 34.00 WilliamHill, Betfair, PaddyPower, UniBet