Australian Open Men's Semi-final Tips: Djokovic and Medvedev favourites to meet in the final


Following today's men's quarter-finals, the two semi-finals take place over the next two days. Returning to preview the matches is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...

Nadal loses two-set lead to crash out to Tsitsipas

There were contrasting clashes on Wednesday with Daniil Medvedev defeating countryman Andrey Rublev in straight sets in their all-Russian battle while Rafa Nadal threw away a two-set lead to lose 3-2 to Stefanos Tsitsipas in what developed into a rather serve-orientated battle with few break point chances to either player.

Medvedev and Tsitsipas meet on Friday in their semi-final but prior to this is what looks to be a big mismatch on paper between Novak Djokovic and Aslan Karatsev on Thursday morning.

Karatsev a heavy underdog to continue dream tournament

Karatsev, another Russian, has been the surprise package in the tournament and, arguably, his run to this stage as a qualifier has been one of the biggest shocks in a men's Grand Slam for a number of years.

He's now unbeaten in eight this year with four wins as an underdog but there's a big step from that to facing world number one Djokovic in a Grand Slam semi-final. The market agrees with that assertion, pricing Djokovic at 1.08 to get the win and progress to the final, and while my model made this a few ticks too short, the discrepancy certainly wasn't noteworthy.

Karatsev's run to this stage has been simply stunning, but it would still be a major shock - and the biggest one of his tournament so far by some distance - if he got the better of Djokovic tomorrow. Having said that, we still don't know the extent of Djokovic's injury, and this could be an avenue for Karatsev tomorrow as well. I'm actually a little surprised Djokovic is quite this short here.

Medvedev a solid favourite to oust Tsitsipas

Moving on to Friday's semi-final between Medvedev and Tsitsipas, I wasn't surprised to see Medvedev chalked up as a solid market favourite at 1.47 for this match.

The Russian has been playing at a superb level both this year and towards the end of last season, and has also won five of the six meetings with Tsitsipas so far in their careers.

While head-to-head scorelines aren't generally particularly relevant to many matches, there might be some scope to consider it with a little more weight here given that their careers were generally along a similar trajectory in these meetings. These meetings were a little serve-orientated, with Medvedev unsurprisingly having the edge numbers-wise.

On hard court since the tour resumed, Medvedev does have better numbers with a sizeable edge on return, and that advantage was also apparent looking at medium-term (18 month) data as well. If I was forced to bet on this pre-match, I'd be looking at game handicap angles on Medvedev, with general market pricing having Medvedev -3.5 games just below even money at the time of writing.

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