Australian Open Men's Singles Day 11: Federer's chances doubted by the market

Tomorrow's men's singles action features the first semi-final, with Novak Djokovic facing Roger Federer. Dan Weston returns to see if Federer has anything left to give in this tournament...

Market doubtful about Federer's chances

After being 8-4 down in a final set tiebreak to John Millman, and somehow winning while saving seven match points against Tennys Sandgren, we see Roger Federer limp into the semi-finals, where he faces Novak Djokovic.
Following those uninspiring displays and the accumulated fatigue that playing long five-setters generates, the market is extremely doubtful that Federer can cause a shock tomorrow and defeat the heavy odds-on tournament favourite, Djokovic. The Serb is priced at 1.16 to make the final, with Federer [7.00] to cause what looks like a rather large surprise.

Djokovic price the shortest he's ever been against Federer

Looking at the 12 month hard court data for the two players, it seems strange to see Djokovic this heavy a favourite - by some distance the shortest he has ever been in a head-to-head meeting with Federer. When they met at the ATP Finals in November, Djokovic was 1.40 to win, and Federer actually got the job done in two straight sets.

Accumulated fatigue the main worry for Federer

However, Djokovic has won six of their last eight meetings, and as mentioned above, has performed much better in this tournament, winning around 7% more service points and 4% more on return. He's also played 38 fewer games across their five matches, which has a considerable impact on the accumulated fatigue that top players try and avoid in Grand Slams - the 38-year-old legs of Federer may well suffer for this.
In total, Djokovic has spent 147 minutes - around the 2.5 hour mark - fewer on court to get to this stage, essentially meaning that Federer has had to play akin to another match to get to this stage and I think this is why the market is so bullish on Djokovic's chances here.
It does seem to be something of an over-reaction, but I can also kind of see why they've gone down this route as well. This could well be a spot where the 'market knows'. If you forced me to choose a bet on this match, it would be Federer to win a set at around the 2.10 mark, and we have to go back to the French Open in 2012 to see a Grand Slam meeting between the duo which was decided in straight sets.

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