Thursday 24 January, 2019

Petra Kvitova vs Danielle Collins, 1 pm
Kvitova 2-0 $1.65

Petra Kvitova

The #8 seeded Czech put on an absolute masterclass last time out, crushing Aussie Ashley Barty 6-1, 6-4. Her trademark serve was again fantastic, winning 75% of points on her first serve. Petra has been in phenomenal form all tournament, yet to drop a set or even enter into a tie-break all tournament.

Danielle Collins

The relatively unheralded American has surprised a lot of people to get to this point. With wins over the seeded Julia Georges, Caroline Garcia, and Angelique Kerber, she has well and truly deserved her place here. Her serve is definitely a strong point to her game, having won at least 70% of first serve points in 4 of her 5 matches.

Prediction: Kvitova 2-0 $1.65

With the form Kvitova is in, it’s very difficult to oppose her here. She has the clear power edge over Collins, is better in the return game, and has more experience at this point in a Grand Slam. Expect a confident Kvitova win here.

Naomi Osaka vs Karolina Pliskova, 3 pm
Osaka to win $1.80

Naomi Osaka

Osaka enters this one off an incredibly impressive straight sets victory over Elina Svitolina in the Quarter Finals. Her serve was again on point, serving 8 aces to 0 double faults. An impressive trio of wins against Hsieh, Sevastova, and now Svitolina really highlight the quality Osaka has going forward.

Karolina Pliskova

After seemingly being dead and buried yesterday, Pliskova pulled off a great escape to beat Serena Williams in 3 sets. 5 breaks of serve against a player of Serena’s calibre shows her quality as a returner. Her run to the Semi-Finals has been just as impressive, knocking off 3 seeded players in Giorgi, Muguruza, and now Williams.

Prediction: Osaka to win $1.80

After such a huge emotional win yesterday, Pliskova is primed for a letdown here. Osaka also has the rest advantage, playing significantly less minutes and having her match finish 3 hours earlier. At $1.80, I think she is great value to take this one out.

Rafael Nadal vs Stefanos Tsitsipas, 7 pm
Over 35.5 Games

Rafael Nadal

Nadal enters the Semi-Finals well rested after yet another solid performance, getting the late cover over Frances Tiafoe last time out. Whilst having played a relatively easy schedule so far, Rafa is still yet to drop a set, which is very impressive at this stage. His return of serve has continued to be excellent, averaging 5 breaks per match so far.

Stefanos Tsitsipas

The new major Greek tennis hope had yet another strong display last time out, defeating Roberto Bautista Agut in a tight 4-setter. His signature win over Roger Federer on Sunday signalled a potential changing of the guard. The strong Tsitsipas serve should hold him in good stead against the strong Rafa return, averaging 20 aces over his last 3 matches.

Prediction: Over 35.5 Games

Ultimately, I think Tsitsipas takes a set in this one. Should he manage that, it’s very likely that this total goes over 35.5. He is the toughest opponent Nadal has faced so far and I expect his consistent serve to at least keep this one close.

Wednesday 23 January, 2019

Milos Raonic vs Lucas Pouille
Pouille +5.5 Games

Milos Raonic

Raonic continued his excellent open on Monday, crushing #4 seed Alex Zverev in straight sets. His serve was again excellent, putting up 15 aces to just 1 double fault and winning 80% of first serve points. Having claimed scalps like Kyrgios, Wawrinka, and Zverev so far, it’s safe to say the Canadian is in fine form.

Lucas Pouille

Pouille enters this one off a solid 4th round upset of Borna Coric, winning outright as a 4.5-game underdog. The serve is also a hallmark of the Frenchman’s game, totalling 19 aces to just 2 double faults. His return game will also need to be on point to have a shot against the in-form Milos.

Prediction: Pouille +5.5 games

I’ve had success backing Lucas this tournament and will continue to do so here. Whilst Raonic has been impressive, his performances have somewhat overvalued him in the market. I think Pouille at least keeps this close, making +5.5 a solid bet.

best bet
Serena Williams vs Karolina Pliskova
Over 20.5 Games

Serena Williams

After 3 easy matches to start the tournament, Serena was tested against #1 ranked Simona Halep last time out. After losing the second set, Serena bounced back with some clutch winners to take the decider 6-4. It doesn’t get any easier here, with Karolina Pliskova currently in some of the best form on the WTA.

Karolina Pliskova

Pliskova enters this one off a very solid win herself, beating Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 6-1. It was an utter domination from the Czech, winning twice as many points as her opponent. As dominant in the return game as she is on serve, Pliskova has won at least 5 break points in each of her 4 matches so far.

Prediction: Over 20.5 Games

In what should be a very competitive encounter, I expect this match to go to 3 sets. Even if it sticks at just 2, I think we’ve got a great shot at over 20.5. Both of these women are elite servers in the women’s game and won’t allow many break point opportunities.

Novak Djokovic vs Kei Nishikori
Nishikori +7.5

Novak Djokovic

Djokovic survived a brief scare from Medvedev last time out to ultimately win a comfortable 4-set match. He again showed his quality as a returner, winning 7 break points against an elite server in Medvedev. With confident wins over Shapovalov and Tsonga, he looks to have started 2019 in the same amazing from he closed 2018 with.

Kei Nishikori

Nishikori enters this one off the back of an epic 5-set win over Pablo Carreno Busta last time out. Kei came back from 2-0 down for the second time this tournament, concluding the match in an epic 5th set tie break. Having spent 13 hours on court so far, you have to wonder how much of a role fatigue could play going forward.

Prediction: Nishikori +7.5 games

Whilst Novak has faced some solid competition so far, he hasn’t faced anyone at Kei’s level. Despite so much court time, I think Nishikori’s excellent conditioning should hold him in good stead here. Getting 7.5 games, I expect this to be closer than most people think.

Tuesday 22 January, 2019

Roberto Bautista Agut vs Stefanos Tsitsipas, 12:30 pm
Over 40.5 Games

Roberto Bautista Agut

The #22 seeded Spaniard had yet another gruelling 5-setter last time out, this time defeating #6 seed Marin Cilic. This was his 3rd 5-set epic, after defeating both Andy Murray and John Millman earlier in the week. Bautista Agut’s excellent return ability has been on full display so far, winning at least 5 break points in every match so far.

Stefanos Tsitsipas

The Greek young gun enters this one off an epic 4-set win over Roger Federer last time out. He played with confidence and composure throughout the match and was a very deserving winner. He’s had a rather tough road to get to this point, defeating each of Troicki, Basilashvili, and Federer in 4 sets so far.

Prediction: Over 40.5 Games

Both of these men have shown that they don’t really do 3 set matches. This is one of the more intriguing quarter-final matchups on the board and one that I expect to be quite close. In a match that should go 4 or 5 sets, over 40.5 looks the logical play.

best bet
Petra Kvitova vs Ashley Barty, 7 pm
Over 21.5 Games

Petra Kvitova

Kvitova has been the form player at this year’s Open, comfortably winning each of her first 4 matches in straight sets. Possessing one of the best serves on the WTA, she has won 83% of her first serve points in each of her last 2 matches. She enters this one as the tournament’s #8 seed and has a powerful game that could trouble Ash Barty.

Ashley Barty

The young Aussie regained her composure late to close out Maria Sharapova in an impressive win last time out. Having only dropped 1 set all tournament, Barty also enters this one in very fine form. She has won at least 4 break points in each of her matches so far and will definitely need to be at her best here.

Prediction: Over 21.5 Games

With both of these women in very strong form, I can definitely see a 3-setter here. Even if it does only go 2, there are definitely scenarios where this goes over in what should be a competitive affair.

Rafael Nadal vs Frances Tiafoe, 8:15 pm
Tiafoe +8.5 Games

Rafael Nadal

Nadal had one of the best displays of anyone in the tournament last time out, utterly destroying Berdych in straight sets. Rafa is yet to drop a set for the entire tournament and has only been pushed to a tie break once. His return of serve continues to be one of the best in the men’s game, having registered at least 5 breaks in every match so far.

Frances Tiafoe

The young American continued his fine form with a gritty 4-set win over the fancied Grigor Dimitrov last time out. Having registered wins over #5 seed Kevin Anderson, Andreas Seppi, and Dimitrov, Tiafoe has proven that he’s here to stay. Tiafoe is playing the best tennis of his career right now, which will need to keep up if he has any chance in this one.

Prediction: Tiafoe +8.5 Games

Having had success backing Tiafoe throughout the tournament, I’m sticking with him here. For someone of his power and quality, I think 8.5 games is far too much to be getting. I can definitely see Frances keeping this one close, if not stealing a set or two.

 

Monday 21 January, 2019

Alex Zverev vs Milos Raonic, 1 pm
Over 42.5 Games

Alex Zverev

The #4 seeded German enters the 4th round after a solid but mixed start to the tournament. He dispatched of Aljaz Bedene and Alex Bolt comfortably in straight sets but was taken to 5 in a second-round epic by Jeremy Chardy. His serve has again been key this tournament, dishing out 51 aces so far. With a tough 4th round encounter against Raonic, he’ll need to be at his best.

Milos Raonic

Raonic has faced a rather difficult path to the fourth round, coming up against Aussie Nick Kyrgios in Round 1 and Stanislas Wawrinka in Round 2. His serve has also been phenomenal, serving an average of 30 aces per match at just under 10 per set. Raonic appears to be back to his best at this Open, which should make for an intriguing encounter here.

Prediction: Over 42.5 Games

With the way these two men are serving, breaks will be hard to come by in this one. Assuming this one goes at least 4 sets, I struggle to see it going under 42.5. Expect at least a tie-break or two in a hard-fought affair.

Borna Coric vs Lucas Pouille, 5 pm
Over 37.5 Games

Borna Coric

The promising young Croatian enters the 4th round after 3 solid victories to kickstart his campaign. Despite never winning an Australian Open match before, the #11 seed has only dropped 1 set so far. He comes into 2019 off the back of a phenomenal 2018 campaign that saw him win 40 ATP matches and rocket up the rankings.

Lucas Pouille

The #28 seed Frenchman overcame a scare to defeat Aussie Alex Popyrin last time out. Having been up 3-0 to clinch a 3rd set tiebreak, Pouille collapsed and was inexplicably pushed to 5 sets. He came up huge when it mattered though, serving 16 aces and winning 75% of points on his first serve.

Prediction: Over 37.5 Games

Whilst Coric is the relatively strong $1.33 favourite, his lack of experience at this stage makes me think this will be a close one. These two have served very well this tournament and will likely only need 4 sets to go over this total. In what should be a very tight affair, the over is the best value on the board.

Pablo Carreno Busta vs Kei Nishikori, 6 pm
Carreno Busta +6.5 Games

Pablo Carreno Busta

Carreno Busta enters the 4th round off a solid 4-set upset win over Fabio Fognini. The 27-year-old Spaniard showed his impressive ability to break serve, winning 8 break points throughout the match. He kickstarted his 2019 campaign in Auckland a fortnight ago, making it through to the quarters before losing to Jan Lennard Struff.

Kei Nishikori

After two 5-set epics to kickstart his 2019 open, Nishikori got the job done in 3 comfortable sets against Sousa last time out. He also showed his impressive return ability, registering 5 breaks in the match. His 77% points on first serve also highlight the work he has done in that department over the last 12 months.

Prediction: Carreno Busta +6.5 Games

I think the gap between these two is much shorter than this line would suggest. Nishikori has worn down at this stage of a Grand Slam before and has played a lot of tennis so far. I think Carreno Busta can keep this one close and looks solid value +6.5.

Sunday 20 January, 2019

Ashley Barty vs Maria Sharapova, 12:30 pm
Sharapova +2.5 Games

Ashley Barty

As predicted before her Round 3 clash, the young Aussie had her way with Maria Sakkari, dropping just 6 games en route to a straight sets win. Barty has been in fine form all tournament and hasn’t looked close to dropping a set. Her serve has been particularly strong, dropping 13 aces against Sakkari. Coming off a Final appearance in Sydney last week, Barty enters this one in fine form.

Maria Sharapova

Still going strong at age 31, the #30 seed enjoyed a win over #3 Caroline Wozniacki last time out. Sharapova impressed in the return game, winning 44 points on the usually strong serve of Wozniacki. Having retired hurt in Shenzen a fortnight ago, a minor concern surrounds how fit she’ll be after a tough 3-setter.

Prediction: Sharapova +2.5 games

I think Sharapova is still the better player in this matchup and shouldn’t be getting 3.5 games. She showed her immense quality with a great win over Wozniacki last time out. In a game where the lights shine brightest, I expect Sharapova to at least cover this line, if not win outright.

Frances Tiafoe vs Grigor Dimitrov, 1 pm
Over 38.5 Games

Frances Tiafoe

Another Tiafoe match, another bet. I’ve been impressed with this young man’s recent form and continue to think he’s somewhat undervalued by the bookies. He backed up his win over Kevin Anderson with an epic 5-set comeback over Andreas Seppi last time out. His serve continues to be a real weapon, winning 80% of points on first serve.

Grigor Dimitrov

The #20 seed enters this matchup after 3 solid victories, including a straight sets win last time out. He started the season with a solid run in Brisbane before falling to Kei Nishikori in the Quarter-Finals. It was a middling 2018 for Grigor, enjoying only 24 ATP wins to 19 losses. With a potential Quarter Final against Nadal looming, expect a strong effort from Dimitrov here.

Prediction: Over 38.5 games

Ultimately, I think this one goes at least 4 or 5 sets. With how these two men have been serving so far, this makes me highly confident in over 38.5. Dimitrov should get the job done, but Tiafoe definitely won’t make it easy for him.

Roger Federer vs Stefanos Tsitsipas, 7 pm
Federer -5.5 Games

Roger Federer

The Fed Express has breezed through his first 3 matches, not dropping a set so far. His serve has again been excellent, serving double-digit aces each match and winning 83% or more points on first serve. 2018 was another excellent campaign for Roger, winning 48 matches and losing just 10. I expect the gap in class to be too much here.

Stefanos Tsitsipas

The #14 seed clinched a spot in the 4th round with a solid 4 set victory over Basilashvili last time out. His serve is also one of the best on tour, enjoying 18 aces to just 1 double fault in Round 3. He stirred up some controversy with a foul-mouthed rant last time out and may struggle in the Federer crucible.

Prediction: Federer -5.5 games

Whilst Tsitsipas is one to watch in future, Roger still enjoys a significant talent advantage. I expect Roger to win the key points and take this in 3 or 4. Given the mental frailty of Tsitsipas, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 6-1 set or two.

Daily Multi: Nadal, Federer, Dimitrov, Kerber
Odds of $2.13

Angelique Kerber looks a near lock at $1.14 to take out her match, whilst Rafael Nadal has enjoyed sustained dominanace over Tomas Berdych throughout his career. I’ve touched on why Federer should have no issues with Tsitsipas, whilst the inclusion of Dimitrov really bumps up this price nicely.

Saturday 19 January, 2019

Naomi Osaka vs Hsieh Su-Wei, 11 am
Osaka 2-0 ($1.75)

Naomi Osaka

The #4 seed has gotten off to an excellent start in this Australian Open, enjoying comfortable straight sets victories in each of her two first matches. Her serve continues to be one of the strongest on the WTA, serving 12 aces in 4 sets so far. 2018 was very much a breakthrough year for Osaka, reaching #4 in the world and winning her maiden grand slam at the US Open.

Hsieh Su-Wei

The #28 seed Taiwanese veteran has also had a solid start to the open, winning both of her first two matches in straight sets. One of the best returners on tour, she has won 10 break points over that 2-match span. 2018 was a particularly strong season for Hsieh, reaching two Grand-Slam 4th rounds.

Prediction: Osaka 2-0 at $1.75

Ultimately, I think Osaka’s power and serve will be too strong in this one. At only $1.28 to win the match, $1.75 appears very solid value to do so in straights. Expect another solid display from the future of women’s tennis in this one.

Fabio Fognini vs Pablo Carreno Busta, 2 pm
Over 38.5 Games

Fabio Fognini

The #12 seed Fognini enters this one off the back of two relatively comfortable straight-sets victories. He started of the 2019 campaign in Auckland last week, falling to Philipp Kohlschreiber in 3 sets in the Quarter Finals. Fognini also had one of the best seasons of his career in 2018, enjoying 3 singles titles and a yearly record of 46-22.

Pablo Carreno Busta

After a marathon 5-setter in Round 1, Carreno Busta enjoyed an easy straight sets win last time out. His first serve was again excellent, winning 83% of 1st serve points. He has enjoyed a solid last few seasons on tour, currently finding himself 23rd in the world. 2018 was particularly special, racking up 31 wins and $1.6 million in prize money.

Prediction: Over 38.5 games

These two are very evenly matched players and I expect this one to go at least 4 sets. With the relatively strong hold percentages both of these men have on hardcourts, we could be in for a tiebreak or two as well. As long as this goes 4 or more sets, over 38.5 looks a very solid play.

Lucas Pouille vs Alex Popyrin, 8 pm
Pouille -1.5 Sets ($1.80)

Lucas Pouille

Pouille enters this off the back of a solid 4-set win over Max Marterer last time out. His dominant serve again held up, winning 86% of points on his first serve. Similarly, his excellent consistency in tie-breaks was on full display, winning 2 crucial sets via tie-break. With a winnable 4th round tie against Borna Coric looming, I expect the #28 seed Frenchman to be well up for this.

Alex Popyrin

The 19-year-old Aussie enters this one off a solid straight sets win over a somewhat limited Dominic Thiem. His straight sets victory over Mischa Zverev in Round 1 was arguably even more impressive. The strength of this young man’s game is undoubtedly his serve, dishing out 29 aces to just 7 double faults in his 6 sets so far.

Prediction: Pouille -1.5 sets

Ultimately, I think this stage will be too bright for the Australian youngster. We had success backing Pouille last time out and I expect more of the same from him here. His power and consistency will prove too much for young Alex here, who should be proud of his 3rd round appearance.

Daily Multi: Coric, Zverev, Pouille, Raonic
Odds of $2.18

With several strong options on the board, I’m back with a 4-leg ATP multi today. Against overvalued Aussie opponents, I love the look of Zverev and Pouille. Coric and Raonic are both also priced well at $1.18. Ultimately, I expect each of these gentlemen to make Round 4 in 4 sets or less.

Friday 18 January, 2019

Ashley Barty vs Maria Sakkari, 11 am
Under 19.5 Games

Ashley Barty

Currently Australia’s most promising singles player, the #15 seed Barty has enjoyed two comfortable straight set wins to kickstart her Aus Open. Fresh off a solid 4th round appearance at the 2018 US Open, Barty is playing some of the best tennis of her career. A win tonight as a heavy favourite would see her achieve her best Australian Open result yet.

Maria Sakkari

Sakkari got her Aus Open off to a fantastic start, upsetting fancied Latvian Jelena Ostapenko in the first round. She backed this up with a comfortable straight sets win over Aussie Astra Sharma in Round 2. Having never made the 4th round of a Grand Slam before, it’s tough to see her overcoming an in-form Barty and a raucous home crowd here.

Prediction: Under 19.5 Games

Mathematically, this was simply a better option than Barty -4.5 games. Ultimately, I expect Ash to continue her strong start to the campaign with a comfortable win here. She has the power and technique to trouble Sakkari here and I expect something in the range of 6-3, 6-2.

Frances Tiafoe vs Andreas Seppi, 3 pm
Over 38.5 Games

Frances Tiafoe

The young American enters the third round off a huge win over South African Kevin Anderson, covering our recommended 5.5 game line. His first serve was again excellent in this one, winning 80% of points. Against journeyman Andreas Seppi, this is a great opportunity for Frances to push on and make an appearance in the 4th round.

Andreas Seppi

The 34-year-old Italian has had himself a very solid start to the 2019 season. He had four impressive wins in Sydney last week en route to the final and has opened up his Aus Open campaign with 2 more solid wins. After taking care of #31 seed Steve Johnson in 4 sets, Seppi comfortably disposed of Aussie Jordan Thompson in straight sets in Round 2.

Prediction: Over 38.5 games

With both players relatively evenly matched, this is one that I just can’t see being a straight sets win for either player. Assuming this does go to 4 or more, the relatively strong hold percentages of these two men make me really like the Over 38.5 games. This is my best bet of the day.

Marin Cilic vs Fernando Verdasco, 8:30 pm
Over 38.5 Games

Marin Cilic

After making the Final last year, Cilic has gotten his 2019 Aus Open campaign off to a solid start. He comfortably disposed of Bernie Tomic in straight sets in Round 1, before putting on a serving clinic against Mackenzie McDonald in Round 2. The #6 seed enters the tournament off one of the best years of his career, going 44-20 in 2018.

Fernando Verdasco

The #26 seed Spanish veteran has enjoyed two very solid straight sets victories to kickstart his Aus Open campaign. His first serve has again been incredibly strong, winning 78% of 1st serve points. Still going strong at age 35, the Spaniard enjoyed an impressive 33 ATP wins in 2018. That said, going against last year’s finalist in Cilic won’t be easy.

Prediction: Over 38.5 Games

Essentially, this is a bet on over 3 sets of game play. With the serves that these two men possess, I can’t envision a 4-setter that doesn’t go over this number. Whilst I expect Cilic to take this out, Verdasco’s strong start to the campaign makes me think he takes at least a set here.

Daily Multi: Dimitrov, Berdych, Stephens, Barty
Odds of $2.25

With action heating up in Round 3, we’ve decided to go for our first cross-gender multi. On the men’s side, veterans Grigor Dimitrov and Tomas Berdych appear to have solid matchup advantages that should see them through to Round 4. On the women’s side, Sloane Stephens appears solid value at $1.36, whilst Ash Barty has herself a favourable draw against Maria Sakkari.

Thursday January 17, 2019

David Goffin vs Marius Copil, 1:35 pm
Goffin 3-0 ($2.10)

David Goffin

After a somewhat shaky 2018, Big Dave enters this Aus Open as the #21 seed. He had an excellent performance again Chilean Christian Garin in Round 1, dropping only 4 total games en route to a straight sets victory. His 8 breaks of serve demonstrate his quality as a returner at this level. I think he matches up very well with Copil in this one.

Marius Copil

The 28-year-old Romanian enters this Aus Open with an ATP ranking of #60. He had a very strong straight sets win over Marcel Granollers last time out, winning 6-3, 6-4, 6-4. His strong serve was firmly on display here, winning 87% of first serve points. With this likely being a day game, he’ll need his serve to be at its best in this one.

Prediction: Goffin 3-0 at $2.10

With Goffin’s quality in the return game, I expect him to trouble Copil here. He has historically been the much better player and looks primed for a solid Melbourne Park run. At $2.10, I like him to get it done in straights here.

Lucas Pouille vs Maximilian Marterer, 2:30 pm
Pouille to Win ($1.77)

Lucas Pouille

The 24-year-old Frenchman enters the tournament as the #28 seed. He got off to a very solid start in Round 1, comfortably defeating Mikhail Kukushkin in straight sets. This was after a relatively poor showing in Sydney last week, where he fell in the first round. Led by Coach Amelie Mauresmo, I’m expecting big things from Lucas this season.

Maximilian Marterer

The 23-year old German enters the tournament with an ATP ranking of #71. He had a solid experience at the Aus Open last season, defeating Spaniard Fernando Verdasco to make the third round. After a very solid win over Frenchman Gleb Sakharov in Round 1, he’ll be looking for a repeat performance this year.

Prediction: Pouille Moneyline $1.77

Ultimately, I think Pouille is the better player with more experience in big matches like this. I expect his power and athleticism to prove too much for Marterer in the Melbourne heat. At $1.77, I’m confident Pouille gets the job done.

Novak Djokovic vs Jo Wilfried Tsonga, 7 pm
Tsonga +7 Games

Novak Djokovic

A stunning second half of the 2018 season saw the Djoker recapture his #1 ranking. Wins at both Wimbledon and the US Open saw him back to his best. He got off to a solid start in Round 1, comfortably beating American Mitchell Krueger in straight sets. A veteran like Tsonga will provide a good gauge of where Novak is at right now.

Jo Wilfried Tsonga

Injuries kept big Jo off tour for most of 2018, as he mustered a single’s record of only 5-7. He looked solid at the Brisbane International earlier this year, with 3 straight set victories before losing in the Semi-Finals. His Australian Open also started strongly with a straight sets win over Slovak Martin Klizan. Usually a seeded player, it’s unfortunate that he comes up against Novak so early.

Prediction: Tsonga +7 games

Whilst I expect Novak to win this relatively comfortably, I think the big Frenchman can keep this competitive. He served excellently on Tuesday, registering 23 aces to just 4 double faults. Throw in a tiebreak or two and I’m very confident he covers this number.

Daily Multi: Shapovalov, Simon, Goffin, and Coric
Odds of $2.13

The early rounds continue to be very solid value for the daily multi. The rising Denis Shapovalov looks good value to take out Taro Daniel, who only made it through after a Kokkinakis retirement. #11 seed Borna Coric had an excellent straight sets win to start out and I expect more of the same here. Veterans Gilles Simon and David Goffin should make light work of opponents who they’ve got a significant edge over.

Wednesday, 16 January

Kevin Anderson vs Frances Tiafoe, 12:15 pm
Tiafoe +5.5 Games

Kevin Anderson

Big Kev got his Australian Open off to a solid start in Round 1 with a comfortable win over Frenchman Adrian Mannarino. The big-serving South African was particularly strong in sets 3 and 4, conceding only 3 total games. His big serve is always a useful weapon, but the athleticism of the young Tiafoe will be tough to contend with.

Frances Tiafoe

The 20-year-old American helped our daily multi cash on Monday with a solid straight sets victory. He had a go in Sydney last week but was eliminated by Aussie John Millman in his first round. Coming up against the #5 seed is never easy, but I think Tiafoe has a game that can challenge Anderson in this weather.

Prediction: Tiafoe +5.5 Games

Tiafoe had a breakthrough 2018 and I think he can continue some of that excellent form this year. His particularly strong serve makes him difficult to break and I think he claims at least a set here.

Roberto Bautista Agut vs John Millman, 5 pm
Bautista Agut -1.5 Sets

Roberto Bautista Agut

The #22 seed Spaniard got the job done on Monday, defeating Andy Murray in a thrilling 5-set clash. He had an excellent start to the 2019 campaign, defeating Wawrinka, Djokovic, and Berdych en route to a Qatar Open title. I think his strong defense and backhand will prove too much for the Aussie John Millman here.

John Millman

The ‘Mailman’ delivered again in Round 1, registering a 4-set win over Argentinian Federico Delbonis. He had a solid start to the season in Sydney last week, reaching the Quarter Finals before losing to Frenchman Gilles Simon. Millman had his most ever ATP wins last season and will be looking to build on that form here.

Prediction: Bautista Agut -1.5 sets

Ultimately, I think Millman’s recent form has overpriced him here. Bautista Agut is comfortably the better player in my opinion, and I expect him to take care of business. Whilst I think he’ll do it in straight sets, the -1.5 does give some insurance.

Rafael Nadal vs Matthew Ebden, 8 pm
Nadal 3-0

Rafael Nadal

Nadal opened his 2019 account with a solid straight sets win over Aussie James Duckworth in Round 1. It was a workmanlike performance from Rafa, breaking Duckworth 6 times in the match. Entering the tournament as the #2 seed, I don’t see him having any trouble against another Aussie in Matt Ebden.

Matthew Ebden

Ebden progresses to Round 2 after a very solid win over Jan Lennard Struff first up. He was particularly strong on serve, getting 67% of first serves in and winning 73% of his points on those. He was particularly impressive in the final 3 sets, breaking the normally strong Struff an impressive 6 times.

Prediction: Nadal 3-0

Despite a good performance first up, Nadal will be a totally different beast for Ebden. Rafa has looked very strong of late and he’ll want to wrap this one up quickly in preparation for the later rounds. At $1.62, Nadal in straights is very solid value.

Daily Multi: Dimitrov, Schwartzman, Khachanov, Bautista Agut
Combined Odds of $2.18

The solid multi opportunities just keep on coming. After strong Round 1 performances, Scwartzman and Khachanov are again good candidates to feature today. The power of Grigor Dimitrov should be too much for Pablo Cuevas, whilst I expect Bautista Agut to send the Mailman packing. At $2.18, this is another very solid play.

Tuesday January 15, 2019

Alex Bolt vs Jack Sock, 12:15 pm
Bolt +5.5 Games

Alex Bolt

The 26-year-old Aussie enters his home slam with an ATP Singles ranking of #159. He started the 2019 campaign in Brisbane a fortnight ago, where he lost to Jordan Thompson in straight sets. After going 1-7 in competitive ATP matches last year, a refreshed Bolt will be looking for better things here in 2019.

Jack Sock

After a truly horrendous 2018, the mercurial American enters this one outside the top 100. Despite making the ATP Tour Finals in 2017, Sock had a dreadful season last year, winning just 9 of his 30 competitive matches. He is yet to play competitively in 2019 and enters this tournament almost as a complete unknown.

Prediction: Bolt +5.5 Games

Jack Sock is one of the more mentally weak players on tour. I think he’ll struggle in the heat here with the Aussie crowd against him. Alex Bolt has every chance of taking a set here, making him solid value +5.5 games.

Jeremy Chardy vs Ugo Humbert, 1:30 pm
Chardy -2.5 Games

Jeremy Chardy

The 31-year-old Frenchman enters the tournament with a very respectable ranking of 36. He had a solid outing in Brisbane a fortnight ago, reaching the Semi-Finals before losing to Kei Nishikori in straight sets. 2018 was an inconsistent season for Chardy, where he boasted a 24-23 record. Up against compatriot Humbert here, he’s got a great opportunity for a solid start to the open.

Ugo Humbert

The unheralded 20-year old has snuck into the top 100 and currently finds himself at #98 on the ATP rankings. He made it through to the Brisbane International main draw, where he was eliminated in Round 1. After looking very solid on the Challenger Circuit in 2018, 2019 could be Humbert’s breakout year.

Prediction: Chardy -2.5 Games

In a best-of-5 sets setting, I think Chardy’s game holds up much better than his compatriot. He has the power to out serve and out strike him in the Melbourne heat here. Laying only 2.5 games, I like the look of this play.

Nick Kyrgios vs Milos Raonic, 7 pm
Over 43.5 Games

Nick Kyrgios

The mercurial Aussie enters this one with a relatively poor ranking of #51. He played his first competitive tennis of the season a fortnight ago in Brisbane, falling in the 2nd round to Jeremy Chardy. Raonic is a tough draw first up, but that’s the price you can pay entering a tournament unseeded.

Milos Raonic

The 28-year-old Raonic enter this Australian Open as the #17 ranked man in the world. He also started his 2019 tour in Brisbane, falling in the Quarters to Daniil Medvedev. 2018 was a decent year for Raonic, finishing with a record of 32-15. Kyrgios is a very tough start first up, but the big-serving Canadian has the ability to put him away.

Prediction: Over 43.5 Games

If this one goes to at least 4 sets, I think there’s every chance that we see over 43.5 games. With the incredible serves both of these men possess, you’re likely looking at 2 or more tie-breaks in this one. In what should be a tightly contested affair, over 43.5 is the play.

Daily Multi: Carreno Busta, Coric, Zverev, Kokkinakis
Combined Odds of $2.07

ATP Grand Slams offer some of the best value multis and this year is no exception. Young guns Coric and Zverev both loom as near locks today. Spanish veteran Pablo Carreno Busta also looks solid value at $1.22. To round out our 4-fold, I expect ‘The Kokk’ to deliver a win in front of his home fans. At $2.07, the value is too good to pass up.