Last week, we made a big deal about just how hard it’s going to be to beat Djokovic at the Australian Open, and those of you who took plenty of the 10/11 last week are now sitting pretty as the World Number 1 is down to a best-priced 8/11.
However, odds-on shots aren’t everybody’s cup of tea – so it’s time to take a closer look at the draw to try and discover if there’s any value in backing anyone against Djokovic, or even as a saver.
The best way to do this looks to be to take a quick look at the four quarters, and to see how the draw may pan out.
Djokovic is just 1/5 to win the first quarter and, whilst he should make it through to the semis, that’s too short in my books as Ivo Karlovic potentially lies in wait in round 3. The big-serving veteran is one of the few players who can boast a head-to-head lead over the Serb, and has won all 3 of their previous hard-court encounters.
Roger Federer is 5/4 to reach the semis but, he hasn’t dome particularly well at the Aussie Open, and could be vulnerable in a quarter that contains Berdych, Cilic, Dimitrov, and Kyrgios – and it’s the bad boy of Australian tennis Kyrgios that’s fancied to upset Federer. He may not be the easiest to predict, but he’ll sooner or later stop running his mouth off and let his undoubted talent do the talking.
Wawrinka has shown a real liking for this tournament, and arrives here in winning form after taking the ATP Chennai title on his last start. Nadal is also in this quarter, and also arrives here with his game in much better form than at this time last year. It would be an interesting quarter-final between the pair as they’ve each won 3 of their last 6 head-to-heads – but Wawrinka may just be able to find that bit extra.
Murray looks to have landed the easiest quarter of the big-four, and should have no problem making it through to the semis.
If Djokovic does make it through to the semis, then he’d probably sooner play Federer who, despite winning 2 of their last 7 matches, has had to play second fiddle to Djokovic in matches of real importance. Kyrgios would be a more interesting opponent for Djokovic, as he has the power and brilliance to trouble anyone at his best.
Meanwhile, Murray may have a harder time making it to the final though if, as expected, he has to face Wawrinka or Nadal in the semis. Wawrinka has won the last 3 times they’ve met, whilst Nadal gave Murray a 6-4 6-1 drubbing at the recent ATP World Tour Finals.
I’m predicting a Djokovic/Wawrinka final and, as Wawrinka has beaten Djokovic in 2 Grand Slams in the last two seasons, going on to win both of those tournaments – he looks to be worth a saver if you’ve already backed Djokovic, or looks the value if you fancy a bet at bigger odds.