It’s been something of a controversial Australian Оpen so far. First, we had the whole ‘will he, won’t he’-saga regarding Novak Djokovic’s visa which ended in a ‘won’t he’, as he eventually got deported…
And there was more controversy in the quarterfinals, with Rafael Nadal beating the impressive Canadian Denis Shapovalov over five sets in a slightly ill-tempered match where he was effectively accused of gamesmanship… That included taking time out to change his (admittedly very sweaty) kit and taking too long in between serves: to compose himself and even catch his breath back.
- The accusation was that Nadal was given preferential treatment by the Umpire because of who he is, avoiding warning and points deductions in the process.
But Rafa won and on he goes.
Matteo Berrettini v Rafael Nadal
Nadal showed all his class and determination in battling against Denis Shapovalov, eventually beating him in five sets. You’d think that at his age and after such a grueling match, Nadal would be exhausted and not have much left in the tank.
Except, this is Nadal. Time and time again over the years, he’s found reserves of energy and determination that few others have and that has not only allowed him to win matches from incredibly tough positions but also recover and then go on to win the next one.
And of course, Berrettini went through five sets of his own to get this far, beating Gael Monfils in the process.
Interestingly, the match followed an identical pattern to Nadal’s win: he won the first two sets, lost the next two and then came good in the fifth. In Nadal’s case, he won 6-3 in the decider, in Berrettini’s case it was 6-2.
…and it’s worth noting that, despite being ranked 5th (Nadal) and 7th (Berrettini) in the world, they’ve only played each other once! One would expect that two such established players would have met more often at the business end of big tournaments. But no. Their one and only meeting came at the 2019 US Open, Nadal running out a comfortable straight sets winner.
But Berrettini, now 25, is a very different player to the one from three years ago. Nadal, who is a fantastic match player and perennial winner is, to put it politely, ‘several seasons‘- older, and we, at 10CRIC, make it 3.39 that Nadal will win in straight sets, but that’s worth avoiding.
TIP Berrettini has been one of the most consistent players on Tour over the past two years as evidenced by his ranking, has a particularly good record on hard courts and won’t be fazed by the occasion.
Based on all that, the odds of Nadal winning at 1.51 aren’t too appealing (Berrettini is 2.51) either, because it really could go either way. This could be another solid encounter that should go to at least four sets and quite possibly, five.
It may well have a couple of tie-breaks in there as well and whoever wins it, we should get over 41.5 games in the match, which is 2.27.
RECOMMENDED BET: Back over 41.5 games in the match at 2.27!
Stefanos Tsitsipas v Daniil Medvedev
In the other semi-final, we have Daniil Medvedev up against Stefanos Tsitsipas. If the likes of Djokovic and Nadal (just about) are the present of men’s tennis, then these two are very much the future of it, if they aren’t already.
Readers of our blog will know that Medvedev was our pre-tournament tip to win the whole thing.
Like the two in the first semi-final, he also had to go through an exhausting five sets to get this far. And he really, really did it the hard way, coming from two sets down to beat Felix Auger-Aliassime: that was the only time in the whole tournament this year that a player came from two sets down to win.
Tsitsipas had it much easier in his own quarter-final, beating Jannik Sinner in straight sets, so should be fresher for this one.
Medvedev holds the trump cards here. Higher ranking (he’s 2nd, Tsitsipas 4th) and crucially, has a considerably better record on the head-to-head: 6-2.
Even more importantly, not only has Medvedev beaten him in Grand Slams (US Open 2018 and Roland Garros 2021), proof he’s stronger over five sets, but last year he beat him at this Grand Slam. He came out a 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 winner here in Melbourne and that will give him plenty of confidence.
On the back of all that, Medvedev goes into this one as a strong 1.38 favourite. The odds-compilers won’t have forgotten that he saved a match point in that quarter-final against Auger-Aliassime with a booming serve under the utmost pressure, evidence that he can keep his cool when it most matters.
And they certainly won’t have forgotten that he was the only man to beat Djokovic in a Grand Slam last year. With Djokovic having won all of the first three Slams, Medvedev stopped him in his tracks in the US Open. And in straight sets, no less: 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. But he may not have it all his own way against a gutsy opponent whose serve will be hard to break.
So, the odds of 7.37 that the Russian wins this 3-1 in sets, make appeal.
RECOMMENDED BET: Back Medvedev to win 3-1 at 7.37!