Aus Open – Men’s Final

Novak Djokovic vs Dominic Thiem, 7:30 pm
Novak -1.5 Sets

It can’t be understated just how impressive Novak’s run to the Final has been. He’s dropped just one set all tournament and looked in complete control in every match. I think he’s comfortably the better player and like him -1.5 sets here.

Thiem has also done a remarkable job, but just hasn’t been on the same level as Novak thus far. Wins over Monfils, Nadal, and Zverev are all impressive, although he could’ve easily lost in round 2 to Alex Bolt.

Djokovic has established himself as the king of Melbourne Park, making it to the Aus Open Final 7 times and winning every single one of those. He is 16-9 overall in grand slam finals, so the moment definitely won’t be too big for him here.

Thiem, on the other hand, has played in only 2 grand slam finals previously. Known primarily as a clay-courter, this is the first time he’s advanced this far anywhere but Roland Garros. He was just 10-6 at the Aus Open prior to this year and his game doesn’t appear to be geared for hard courts.

Novak also has a huge rest advantage here, getting an extra day to prepare and spending significantly less time on court. This could prove to be a huge factor and I can see Thiem’s head dropping if he loses the first set.

Overall, Novak is the more talented and experienced player, who happens to have a rest and motivational advantage. I think he wins this comfortably, and I can’t see anything more than 4 sets.

Aus Open – Women’s Final

Garbine Muguruza vs Sofia Kenin, 7:30 pm
Muguruza to Win

Let’s start with the uncomfortable yet obvious fact, Ash Barty clearly choked last time out. She is a much more talented tennis player than Kenin, as is Muguruza in this matchup.

Grand Slam success is nothing new for the Spaniard, who has previously won both Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Her career record is now 21-7 at the Aus Open, which is definitely solid for a clay courter.

Her path to reach this point has been incredibly impressive, knocking off four straight seeds in straight sets. This included 3 top 10 opponents in Svitolina, Bertens, and Halep.

Kenin just doesn’t have the same track record and experience as her opponent here. Barty was the lone seeded player that she beat, in two sets that really could’ve gone either way.

This is also her first time reaching the second week of a major, previously having a below .500 record for her career. Ultimately, I think Muguruza’s elite return game, experience, and proven track record help her get the win here.

Aus Open – Day 12

Dominic Thiem vs Alex Zverev, 7 pm
Thiem to Win

Despite facing a scare against Aussie Alex Bolt in Round 2, Thiem has had a largely excellent Aus Open campaign. He claimed two top 10 scalps, beating Monfils in straight sets and Nadal in 4.

Zverev has had a similarly impressive run, although he hasn’t faced the same level of quality that Thiem has. He was a comfortable favourite in every match thus far, only beating Rublev and Wawrinka as seeded players.

Thiem is known as one of the best return men on tour, which is a major reason behind his immense success on clay. He is averaging 5 breaks per match so far and I can see him succeeding on the Zverev serve.

Thiem also has the experience edge here, especially at this stage of a grand slam. Zverev has never made it to a grand slam semi before, whereas Thiem has done it 4 times, even making it to 2 finals.

This has the makings of a competitive 4 or 5-setter with very little between these two players. Ultimately, I think Thiem’s experience and edge in the return game give him the win here.

Aus Open – Day 11

Ash Barty vs Sofia Kenin
Barty to Win

Barty has a fantastic opportunity here to make the final of her home slam. She is the better and more experienced of these two players and I’d expect a comfortable win here.

It hasn’t been an easy road to get here, dropping a few sets and having a tough Quarter Final against Petra Kvitova. Her return game has been splendid all tournament, which really bodes well for her here.

All in all, Sofia Kenin has had one of the easier roads to the semis in recent memory. She has not faced one seeded player thus far and got a walkover in the 4th round.

Barty is a huge step up in opponent quality and I’m not sure she can match her here. She was just 12-11 in grand slams prior to this, having never reached the second week before.

Ultimately, I think Barty’s edge in the return game gets her the win here. Her inconsistency means the straight up win is a better bet than 2-0.

Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer
Djokovic -1.5 Sets

It’s been under-the-radar just how good Novak has been in this tournament. He dropped just one set in the first round and has essentially been flawless since.

His last two performances were especially good, dominating seeds in Schwartzman and Raonic. His return game has been on point of late, getting a whopping 16 break point opportunities against Raonic last time out.

Federer, in contrast, has struggled mightily to reach this point. He was taken to 5 sets by Johnny Millman and even dropped a set against Fucsovics.

Not to mention he should’ve lost against Sandgren last time out, having to save 7 match points. He appeared to pick up an injury in that match, the effects of which will likely linger here.

These two played a close one in the Wimbledon Final, with Novak just edging it in the 5th. The hardcourt is a much better surface for Novak and I’d be shocked if he doesn’t win this in 4 or less.

 

Aus Open – Day 10

Stan Wawrinka vs Alex Zverev
Zverev to Win

The #7 seed Zverev has had a hugely impressive run to this point, yet to drop a set thus far. He was especially good against Rublev last time out, winning all 3 sets 6-4 as an outright underdog.

He is averaging over 4 breaks of serve per match and has only been broken himself twice in his last 3 matches. Having played solely 3-setters so far, he should have a notable rest advantage heading into this one.

Wawrinka has had an up and down tournament, playing two 5-setters, a 4-setter and a 2-setter where his opponent retired. He hasn’t looked particularly dominant in any one match and easily could be out of the tournament by now.

Almost 35 years of age, he doesn’t come close to matching the athleticism and power of Zverev. At generous odds of $1.67, I think Zverev’s impressive serve fires him to an outright win here.

Anett Kontaveit vs Simona Halep
Halep to Win

Halep has had a very impressive tournament thus far and could easily take out the title here. She is yet to drop a set and looked in control throughout against #16 seed Mertens last time out.

Her opponent, Kontaveit, hasn’t been as dominant and could easily lost 2 of 4 matches thus far. She did beat #6 seed Bencic in Round 3, but the 6-0 6-1 scoreline suggests there were other factors at play.

Despite entering this tournament as the #28 seed, her grand slam record of ~ .500 is pedestrian to say the least. This is her first time reaching the second week of a slam, so I expect nerves to definitely be at play here.

She faced 19 break points against little-known Swiatek last time out, suggesting her serve has been pretty weak. An elite returner like Halep will capitalize on these opportunities and make it very tough for her to win. I also expect Halep’s serve to continue to hold here, meaning a spot in the semis should await.

Aus Open – Day 9

Novak Djokovic vs Milos Raonic
Novak -1.5 Sets

Novak has been on fire all tournament and is yet to drop a set thus far. Especially with a rest advantage before the Final, I think he’s the overwhelming favourite to claim this tournament.

Raonic has been hugely impressive himself, winning all 4 contests in straight sets, including a win over #6 seed Tsitsipas. That said, his strengths just don’t match up as well against a player like Novak.

His serve is undoubtedly his best quality, but Novak is still comfortably the best returner on tour. He’s been opportunistic on break point so far, but I don’t see him getting many opportunities on the Djokovic serve.

These two have played 9 times before and Novak has unsurprisingly won all 9 contests. Raonic’s serve will keep him competitive here, but I’d be shocked if he claimed anything more than a set.

Ash Barty vs Petra Kvitova
Barty to Win $1.70

Barty has had a strong tournament so far and has emerged as the early favourite to claim the title. She has a tough opponent in Kvitova here but is well equipped to win this match outright.

Her form has been consistently strong over the last week, dropping just 2 sets all tournament. Dropping the second set 6-1 to Riske was a bit of an eye opener, but she recovered nicely in the 3rd set.

Kvitova has also had a strong start to the tournament, although her trademark serve appears to have faded of late. She was broken by Sakkari 4 times last time out, a feat that I can see Barty matching in this one.

I’d expect the Barty serve to hold true here, while a strong return game puts pressure on Petra’s serve. Currently at odds of $1.70, you’d have to back the tournament favourite with the home crowd behind her.

Australian Open – Day 8

Elise Mertens vs Simona Halep
Halep to Win

Halep has had a fine start to her Aus Open campaign, winning her first three matches without dropping a set. Her return game has been on point all tournament, breaking 5 times in each of her three matches thus far.

Her opponent, Elise Mertens, is very accomplished for a #16 seed and has also had a good run to this point. She has dropped just 1 set all tournament, managing a bagel in each of her matches thus far.

That said, I like the look of Halep to win straight up here at $1.60. Her and Ash Barty are the clear two favourites in the women’s draw and I expect a professional performance here.

Mertens has had great success on break points in this tournament, which I’m not sure is sustainable against Halep. The former Darren Cahill protégé is serving much better of late, something which I expect to continue. If she can keep up her recent serving form, I expect her to advance to the Quarters here.

Garbine Muguruza vs Kiki Bertens
Muguruza to Win

Despite entering this tournament unseeded, I think Muguruza has a great shot at unsettling the #9 seed here. She’s been great all tournament, including a decimation of #5 seed Svitolina last time out.

Bertens is yet to drop a set thus far, although this is a huge step up in opponent quality. She is averaging nearly 5 breaks of serve per match so far, something which is unlikely to continue against Muguruza.

The Spaniard has really found her serving rhythm of late, only getting broken 3 times in her last 6 sets. Her return game has also been on point, averaging nearly 5 breaks a game against some relatively good servers.

She has performed well at the Aus Open throughout her career and enters this clash with a solid 20-7 career record at Melbourne Park. Bertens hasn’t been nearly as good on hard court, actually having a 4-7 career record at this slam prior to 2020.

I’m expecting a close match here, but Muguruza’s improving serve and elite return ability give her the decisive edge.

Australian Open – Day 7

Fabio Fognini vs Tennys Sandgren
Fognini to Win

I like Fognini to win here at a reasonable $1.60 price point. He is the more technically gifted of these two players, and I think the slower Aus Open court benefits him here.

He had two tough five-setters to start out, but looked dominant in a straight sets win over #22 seed Pella last time out. While known primarily as a clay court specialist, his Aus Open form has really improved of late. He is 8-2 in his last 10 Aus Open matches, which suggests he is becoming very used to these conditions.

The controversial Tennys Sandgren is a bit of an enigma. He made the Aus Open Quarter Finals in 2018, which was the high point of his career. This was the only year he won a match at the Aus Open in 7 attempts prior to this year.

He is also participating in the Men’s Doubles and I think he’ll be the more fatigued of the two men here. Fognini has the talent edge here and I’d also favour him if this one goes to 4 or 5 sets. At $1.60, I think he’s a safe bet to move onto the quarters.

Ash Barty vs Alison Riske
Barty 2-0

The #1 seed enters this clash as the relatively heavy favourite. I think she’s got a strong matchup advantage over Riske and would back her to take this in straight sets.

It has been a relatively straightforward road for Barty, who has won her last 6 sets with ease. She had a tremendous 2019, winning her first slam and making it to the Quarters at the Aus Open.

She has now won 11 matches in her home slam since 2017, no doubt due to the excellent home support. Her opponent hasn’t been nearly as successful at Melbourne Park, going just 4-8 for her career before this year.

Riske has somewhat struggled to even reach this point, having to negotiate two tense 3-setters in her 3 matches. She also had a relatively late doubles match yesterday, which could lead to some fatigue here.

Overall, Barty is essentially just a better version of the same player. That accounts for a lot in tennis and I’d expect her run to continue with a straight sets win here.

Australian Open – Day 6

Angelique Kerber vs Camilla Giorgi
Kerber $1.65

I’m taking the #17 seed Kerber to defeat journeywoman Giorgi at solid odds of $1.65. The matchup really favours her here and I expect her dominant return game to really shine.

A ranking of #17 isn’t indicative of the immense talent this 3-time grand slam champion has. She is now 31-11 in her career at the Aus Open and hasn’t looked like dropping a set thus far.

Giorgi typically struggles on hard courts, entering this Aus Open with a 6-7 record and going an even worse 5-8 at the US Open. She has had two impressive wins thus far, although neither opponent has Kerber’s quality.

She has served just 2 aces compared to 6 double faults thus far, while Kerber has already broken serve 12 times in 2 matches. I just don’t see Giorgi’s serve holding up over 3 sets and expect Kerber’s elite striking to prove the difference.

David Goffin vs Andrey Rublev
Goffin +3.5 Games

Despite entering this clash as the #11 seed, Goffin finds himself as a sizeable underdog to the #17 seed Rublev. Rublev probably has a slight edge on hard courts, but I think this should be closer to even odds.

I like Goffin getting the 3.5-game head start here and think he has a definite chance of winning this match outright. He is now 13-6 at the Aus Open all time, reaching the Quarters back in 2017.

Rublev is a relative newcomer and hasn’t advanced past the 3rd round of the Aus Open previously. He has had a rather easy route to this point, taking care of two unheralded players thus far.

Goffin is a definite step up in opponent quality and I don’t see him overwhelming big Dave with his power here. It was a poor showing in round 2 from Goffin, but I think that has a lot to do with his inflated price here. I’m chalking that up as one bad match and think that 3.5 games is great value in what should be a close one.

Multi: Kyrgios/Medvedev/Nadal
Odds of $1.68

Medvedev and Nadal are the two biggest favourites of the day and probably as close to locks as you can get at this point. Kyrgios is essentially a better version of the same player as Khachanov and will emerge victorious if he plays to his level. Including him really boosts the price here and makes this a solid play at $1.68.

Aus Open – Day 5

Roberto Bautista Agut vs Marin Cilic
Bautista Agut -1.5 Sets

Now 31 years of age, it appears Marin Cilic’s best days are firmly behind him. He made the final here two years ago, but managed only 8 grand slam wins in 2019.

His opponent, RBA, seems to be finding a new level, entering this tournament as the #9 seed. He has looked in control in both of his matches so far, only dropping one set in the process.

Cilic won an epic 5-setter against Benoit Paire in the second round and I can see him somewhat fatigued entering this matchup. This will make it more difficult to keep up his ferocious serve for long periods and I can see a few break opportunities going RBA’s way.

This should lead to a few 6-2 or 6-3 set victories, which really bode well for the -3.5 handicap here. Cilic has the talent to win a set here, but if this goes to 5 I’d be pretty surprised. With that in mind, I’ll take RBA -1.5 sets.

Roger Federer vs John Millman
Federer -7 Games

I’ve always thought the nickname ‘Mailman’ was somewhat paradoxical for John Millman. Despite being given that moniker, he’s hardly ‘delivered’ throughout his career.

He has a 42%-win rate in ATP Singles matches and is coming up against one of the best of all time here. He’ll no doubt be energised by the crowd, but I’d expect a guy like Federer to also feed off of this.

Millman isn’t a particularly good server, which could prove troubling against an excellent returner like Federer. This means we could see a few multi-break sets, which would really help the -7.5 games cash.

The Fed Express has had an excellent start to the tournament, not even coming close to dropping a set in 2 matches so far. He has won 87% of career matches at the Aus Open and looks primed for another big run here. If he passes the early test, I see him running away with this match.

Multi: Schwartzman/Tsitsipas
Odds of $1.90