World number one will look to dominate on the decoturf surface once again
Nicknamed the “happy slam”, the Australian Open has always been a favourite amongst the tennis world and has provided many happy experiences for one player in particular.
Novak Djokovic returns to his stomping ground this week in a bid to win a record equalling fifth title. Last year’s shock quarter final defeat to Stan Wawrinka, and the birth of his first child will likely motivate ‘the Serbinator’ even further in his bid for history.
The Gods have been kind to the 10/11 shot, as he managed to avoid Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal who were placed in the much stronger second half of the draw. Djokovic’s path looks a breeze until the semi finals in which he could face either Wawrinka or Nishikori, the two players who defeated him in hard court slams last season.
He does however hold a combined winning head to head of 19-4 against the pair, and defeated both comfortably in the World Tour Finals just two months ago. Novak can be heavily relied on to negotiate his way through to the final.
The other side of the draw looks much tougher to call however. British tennis hopes were given a blow on Friday morning when they discovered Andy Murray’s draw. Likely to face Dimitrov in the fourth round, Federer in the quarters and Nadal or Berdych in the semi’s has seen Andy pushed out to 7/1.
Federer and Nadal have also been pushed out. Potentially meeting Andy in the quarters hasn’t done Roger’s chances any favours and he is now as big as 5/1 to win his 18th major. Rafa’s awful pre season and injury concerns means he looks if anything short at 9/1 for the title.
These reasons make Berdych the value bet to win the title from this section of the draw. Last year’s semi finalist can take advantage of Nadal’s frailties and power his way through to the semi’s once again. He will likely meet Andy or Roger there, but this should pose no problem for the ‘birdman’. Tomas has a 5-4 winning head to head against Murray, and has defeated Roger the last two times the pair have played in Slams. At 30/1 Berdych looks a massive price, and a great each way bet.
Recommended Outright Bets
N. Djokovic – 10/11
T. Berdych E/W – 30/1