TENNIS: We have made it to Kazakhstan’s Astana Open quarter-final, and some of the world’s best players remain. One of the top 10 is already in the semi-final. Can any of the three left in the tournament join him?

Another straight-set win for Djokovic?

Making his way to the quarter-final here at the Astana Open without dropping a set, the seven-time Wimbledon winner is certainly on course to make it to another semi-final, and the way he is playing may even have a 90th career title up his sleeve.

Novak Djokovic had a tough start to 2022, deported from Australia due to his covid-19 vaccination stance, but growing into the year, he wowed at Wimbledon, as per usual, and by most accounts cruised to a fourth straight win of the title, comfortably defeating a frustrated Nick Kyrgios in the final.

Since then, after failing to be allowed to participate in the US Open, Djokovic has won seven of his eight matches and claimed the Tel Aviv Open title, beating Marin Cilic 6-3 6-4 in the final this month already.

At this tournament, he has won all four sets he has played in and defeated strong opposition in the upcoming Cristian Garin and Botic van de Zandschulp. He is set for another comfortable win here as the 1.16 favourite.

His opponent Karen Khachanov has only beaten the Serbian ace once in their seven meetings but may take confidence from the fact that it was in a tournament final. He knows how to beat Novak, but even the very best struggle to do that.

Khachanov has had an impressive year in 2022, making it to the semi-final of the US Open, where he lost to Casper Ruud at the top of his game, and the fourth round of the French Open in the summer. Beating Marin Cilic in the last round here, Khachanov is definitely in good form, but at 7.1 to progress to the next round, will it be enough to beat one of the greatest players of all time?

Medvedev back in form

Suffering from a drastic drop in form after holding the world number one spot, Daniil Medvedev looks to have clawed his way back into contention and is now playing at the level that has seen him beat some of the best players in the world at recent tournaments.

Lacking the power of some of the top 10, Medvedev is a master of every shot, and though he won’t smash his opposition off the court, he will find a way to open the angle and land the ball on the line with alarming consistency.

Medvedev has consistently made it through the early rounds of tournaments this year, though dropping out of the US Open at the fourth round and the Cincinnati Open in the semi-final, so it wouldn’t be difficult to imagine that he could falter here against a tough opponent. He did win the Los Cabos Open, though, overcoming Cameron Norrie in the final, so at 1.44, he is a good bet. However, his tendency to falter in the final rounds is worth keeping in mind.

Roberto Bautista-Agut, the 34-year-old Spaniard with a career-high ranking of number nine, is the man standing in Medvedev’s way and based on his two straight-set wins in the previous rounds of the tournament, it’s easy to see why BETDAQ punters are backing him at 3.15.

He has looked sharp, powerful and clinical at the Astana Open, defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime, the Canadian number one and ATP rank 13, before brushing aside Pavel Kotov in another straight-set win.

On top of his impressive form, Bautista has beaten Medvedev four times out of the pair’s five meetings. From his point of view, this won’t be an unusual situation and certainly not one where he will feel apprehensive.

NFL Week 13 Best Bets
DAQMAN Sat: Aintree NAP
EFL FOOTBALL Sat: Championship, League One, League Two
SHAMROCK Sat: Fairyhouse Preview
PAT HEALY blog: Awesome Constitution Hill
MARK HALSEY blog: England’s discipline a credit to Southgate
GREYHOUND PREVIEW: Friday and Saturday
WEEK AHEAD: World Cup It’s A Knockout
THE ULTRA: World Cup Group Stage Preview
LIFTING THE LID: Clayton Blackmore’s World Cup predictions 
THE ULTRA: World Cup Knockout Stage Preview
PURPLE PUNDIT: Five Reasons Not To Back Brazil
previous arrow
next arrow