As expected the big four have all done their part and won their first 5 matches of the Australian Open to set up the semi-finals that everyone was hoping for. The semi’s will showcase #1 seed Novak Djokovic vs #4 seed Andy Murray and #2 seed Rafael Nadal against the 3rd ranked player in the world, Roger Federer. Now is when the real fun starts because these four tennis players have truly separated themselves from the field. Let’s take a look at the odds of the Australian Open Men’s singles matches moving forwards and make some predictions:
Novak Djokovic vs Andy Murray
Novak Djokovic -225
Andy Murray +205
Novak looks to be back on the top of his game after a rough last third of the 2011 season where he battled some shoulder issues. He has stormed through the tournament only dropping one set to a determined Lleyton Hewitt, who had a great tournament at home. Djokovic also arguably had the most difficult quarterfinal match when he was forced to defeat the 5th seed David Ferrer. The last two matches should have got Novak into the tournament after his first three opponents were only able to win a total of 8 games against him in 3 matches (9 sets)!
Andy Murray has also only dropped one set in the tournament, but his was back in the first round to Ryan Murray of the United States. Since then Murray has been dominant winning 15 straight sets and never even being forced to a tie break or even a 7-5 set for that matter. That being said Murray has definitely had the easiest road to the quarterfinals of the big four, with Kei Nishikori (24th seed) being the highest ranked player he has had to face.
Djokovic leads the head to head record between the two 6-4, but Murray has won 4 of their last 6 meetings, including their last meeting, which was at the finals in Cincinnati, where Djokovic had to withdraw due to his shoulder. Djokovic won their two first meetings of last year, including the Australian Open finals.
I expect this match to be much closer than many fans believe, but I see Novak pulling it out in the end.
Play: Djokovic -225 (5Dimes.com)
Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer
Rafael Nadal +145
Roger Federer -155
Federer has been playing unbelievable tennis of late and has ripped through this tournament without losing a match. In fact Federer has not lost a match since the finals of the US Open last year, so he is currently riding a 24 match winning streak! Federer is on top of his game and you can tell that he is ready to put another Grand Slam Championship to his name.
Nadal has played surprisingly well this tournament. He was not really on top of his game heading into this Aussie Open, but he has found his game at the right time. Nadal dispatched every opponent without losing a set, until Berdych took one from him in the quarterfinals. I’m still not convinced that Nadal is completely on his game, but this match will determine that for sure.
Federer easily defeated Nadal 6-3, 6-0 at the Barclays Year End Championship, but I don’t expect that to happen in this match. I expect a tough battle that will look more like the finals or Roland Garros a year ago. I still expect Federer to take this one though, because he is just playing too well and on this surface I expect him to have an edge over Nadal.
Play: Federer -155 (5Dimes.com)