Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic are closely matched in the betting for the Australian Open, however Djokovic must be glad he’s now number two in the world as the draw looks to have been extremely kind to the 6-time champion in comparison to new world number one Andy Murray.
There’s no doubt Andy Murray has a tricky looking first-quarter to get through. Okay, he holds impressive head-to-head records against likely early seeded opponents Querrey (6-1), Isner (8-0) and the improving Pouille (3-0), but all are capable on their day, and Querrey beat Djokovic at Wimbledon in 2016. However, if he gets past those opponents, he’s then seeded to meet either Federer or Nishikori in the quarter-finals. Quite what form Federer (11-14) will be in is open to debate, but he has won his last 5 encounters with Murray, and won their last meeting at the Australian Open in 2014. Nishikori (9-2) also beat Murray the last time they met in a Grand Slam in the 2016 US Open, though Murray beat the Japanese player in straight sets when they met in the Australian Open in 2012.
Even his potential semi-final opponents are dangers in waiting, with seventh seed Cilic having won 2 of their last 3 hardcourt matches, and fourth seed Stan Wawrinka having won 3 of their last 5 matches, as well as already being an Australian Open Champion after his victory in 2014.
Djokovic must be licking his lips at the prospect of who he might have to play in the fourth quarter, and he holds serious head-to-head advantages over most of them: Thiem (4-0), Goffin (11-0), Dimitrov (6-1) and Gasquet (13-1). His biggest danger may well be Karlovic, who’s actually beaten him on 3 of the 4 times they’ve met, but the chances are someone will have beaten the ageing veteran before he becomes a danger.
His potential semi-final opponents are also unlikely to prove much of a hurdle, as the Serb holds an 8-0 record against third seed Raonic, a 13-1 lead over sixth seed Monfils, and has won his last seven matches against ninth seed Nadal.
Australian Open Summary
If the Murray and Djokovic are seen as equals on current form, then the draw looks to have swung the advantage in Djokovic’s favourite. Even if Murray makes the final, he’s likely to have had to put in much more effort to do so, and fatigue would hand a massive advantage to Djokovic. Djokovic is also the one who has the great Australian Open record, winning it six-times, and beating Murray in the final on four occasions. A seventh victory for Djokovic would also be a new record – and that may provide the motivation that was lacking from his game after completing his Career Grand Slam in year’s French Open.
Australian Open Men’s Singles Tip
Djokovic @ 7/4 (Betfair Sportsbook)