The quarter final selections worked out rather well for the column over the last couple of days with Djokovic, Murray, Federer, and Ferrer all obliging as predicted. It was the set betting where the column really excelled with Murray winning in straight sets at 1.5, Djokovic beating Berdych in four at 3.5, and Federer beating Tsonga in five sets at a whopping 7.6 and that certainly bodes well for the semi-finals taking place over Thursday and Friday
David Ferrer (4) vs Novak Djokovic (1)
The first of the last four matches sees top seed and three time winner Novak Djokovic take on fourth seeded Spaniard David Ferrer. Djokovic’s quarter final was slightly more straightforward than his epic last sixteen encounter with Stanislas Wawrinka and despite being taken to four sets, looked to have Berdych under control for the duration. Ferrer on the other hand had a tussle on his hands and had to battle through against compatriot Nicolas Almagro. Despite serving for the match on more than one occasion, Almagro crumbled at the crucial times and was unable to get himself over the finish line. I’m of the opinion that Ferrer was most fortunate to advance as he was comprehensively outplayed for the most part and but for Almagro’s mental breakdown, would have been on his way home. As it is, Ferrer must dust himself down and take on the planet’s best player.
Djokovic leads 9-5 in the pair’s head-to-head record and upon further inspection of Ferrer’s victories, they have either come on his favoured red clay, or towards the end of the season at the year-end tour finals, possibly when Djokovic wasn’t quite 100% after an arduous season. It’s therefore difficult to envisage Ferrer stopping Djokovic from making into a tenth victory on Thursday morning and I wouldn’t recommend opposing the Serbian. In terms of a set score, the last five times these guys have met, Ferrer has either won, pinched a set, or taken Djokovic to a pair of tie-breaks. It’s for that reason I think Ferrer might put up some resistance in the Rod Laver Arena and I’ll take him to nick a set for his efforts. Djokovic should prove too strong and ultimately advance to his fourth Australian Open final where either Roger Federer or Andy Murray awaits.
Selection: Novak Djokovic @ 1.13
Score: 3-1 @ 3.55
Andy Murray (3) vs Roger Federer (2)
There can’t be many players on tour that Roger Federer has a losing head-to-head record but Andy Murray is one of those players. Leading by 10 matches to 9, Murray comes into the match having not dropped a set and will be full of confidence. By contrast, Federer spent over three and a half hours on court in battling past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in five sets and it’s up for debate how Federer will have come out of that match physically speaking. At 31, Federer is a virtual pensioner by professional tennis player standards and won’t have appreciated being taken to a final set decider on Wednesday morning. One thing that can be said for Federer is that his conditioning and general fitness is exemplary and second to none. Along with a natural gift for the game, this has to be one of the reasons he has remained at the top of the men’s game and he must be applauded for that.
Murray exudes a level of confidence and assurance that only a grand slam champion can. My view is that Andy could and probably should already be an Australian Open champion and but for a few big points here and there perhaps would be. His performance level down under over the last three years cannot be questioned and with the grand slam monkey off his back, has to be fancied to go one better this year. Murray will need to play every bit as well as we all know he can because Federer rarely has an off day but if the serve is firing, his return game is up to scratch, and he takes the chances he will inevitably get on the Federer serve, Murray could just have too much ‘game’ for Federer and take his place in Sunday’s showpiece.
Selection: Andy Murray @ 1.7
Set Betting: 3-1 @ 4.0
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