Another mad dash to sift through the draw for this one. I hope you find it readable. My disclaimer here probably if you follow my blogs is that I have made your more money at Wimbledon and New York than Melbourne. Without any messing about lets hit it! You know the drill, quarters followed by Outright winner.
Men’s 1st Quarter
I really, really wanted to get involved in this section but I find myself all but pulling out. I think it is worth taking Nadal on down-under, he hasn’t won the event since 2009, though there are four runners-up spots in that time. Thiem and Kyrgios were the obvious choices but 6/1 and 13/2 just doesn’t quite seem big enough. I like many think Thiem is on the verge of winning a slam. Nick is playing quite well but his poor record in Melbourne is enough to put me off parting with my money. I thought Kevin Anderson could be worth the risk but 20/1 simply isn’t big enough with what the South African has been through of late. For the compulsive gamblers maybe have small bets on Thiem at 6/1 (certainly don’t take anything under this) and have a cheeky quid on Vasek Pospisil at 100/1. A highly unlikely scenario for the Canadian but very low risk.
Ease your way in here if you ‘just have to have a bet’ with Small goes on Thiem at 6/1 and Vasek Pospisil at 100/1.
Men’s 2nd Quarter
It is so hard to ignore the way Daniil Medvedev has stepped it up. He has a tough first round against last years quarter-finalist, Frances Tiafoe, but assuming he gets through that he should make some headway. I am usually happy to take on Zverev and Stan and that remains the same here. Andrey Rublev is unbeaten this year with wins in Doha and Adelaide and does have a shot, but I will be going off the basis that there will be one match too far for the Russian. I am tempted with a cover on David Goffin but I seem to remember him struggling in the heat here in the past, once when I tipped him I think against Julien Benneteau. Casper Ruud might give the punters a run for their money at 66/1 but it is probably too soon for the Norwegian but once again you won’t do too much damage at that price.
I have to go with Daniil here around the 6/5 mark as my main bet and a cover on Casper Ruud at 66/1 or 50/1. I hope I don’t regret not backing Goffin here but I will take the chance for the time being. Worth keeping tabs on this.
Men’s 3rd Quarter
Yes, of course, I will be taking Roger Federer on in this quarter too. His record here of six titles is obviously impressive but his loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas last year and the fact we haven’t seen anything of the Fed-Ex this year, means I won’t be backing him. I put it down to the next three in the betting but when I looked at the prices I put a line through Shapovalov as good as he is. I would rather back the next two in at the prices, Matteo Berrettini and Grigor Dimitrov at 9/1 and 10/1 respectively. Both players have impressed me, particularly the Italian but it is also difficult to ignore the fact that Dimitrov was a semi-finalist in Melbourne in 2017 and twice quarter-finalist. Both were semi-finalists at the US last year. The romance big price punt here is Guido Pella at 150/1 but I will stick to these two if I am honest.
Halfing up my stake to back Berrettini and Dimitrov at 9/1 and 10/1.
Men’s 4th Quarter
Though it is very difficult to see past Djokovic here, I cannot be tipping him up at a best-priced 1/3. There are some potentially tricky encounters here, hopefully, against my Boy Dan Evans in the third round. I will be having another bet on Roberto Bautista-Agut here. He served me well at Wimbledon (not so well at the US) and I am a big fan of the Spaniard who has got off to a flyer at the ATP Cup this year. RBA also made the last eight here last year. He has had a traumatic couple of years off the court and it would be good to see him do well here again.
I will certainly be taking the 20/1 Bautista-Agut as my main bet here. I will probably have a wagon bet on Evo here and even possibly Edmund as you can back them both at 80/1. These would be very small stake bets though and only if you are a British tennis fanatic.
Men’s Outright – My bets
It is Djokovic’s to lose and though I have tipped him at short prices like this before, I am not going too here. I would rather go with Daniil at the prices and spread my money out on three savers. This should keep everyone happy as there is a shorter price and some bigger prices out there to accommodate all you punters, wink wink!
Daniil Medvedev 8/1 as my main bet (each-way).
Roberto Bautista-Agut 66/1-80/1 (each-way small stakes).
Matteo Berrettini 100/1 (each-way small stakes).
Grigor Dimitrov 100/1 (each-way small stakes).
Women’s 1st Quarter
I will also be taking on top-seed Ash Barty here. The Aussie has been impressive and it is difficult not to admire her style of play but the weight of expectation may prove too much here and at 2/1 I will be looking elsewhere. Madison Keys doesn’t appeal to me here which leaves me with Petra Kvitova and Ekaterina Alexandrova. My record when backing Kvitova isn’t great but this is a good chance again. Something just tells me she will come unstuck. Ekaterina Alexandrova is a possible third-round opponent and is on a run, with wins in Limoges at the end of last year and now Shenzhen at the start of this one. Petra Martic and Alison Riske look big prices at 25/1. I was a big fan of Martic last year but her form may have currently tailed off. Riske may be worth a punt though. The American really upped her level last season, including a stellar grass-court campaign.
Small bets on Ekaterina Alexandrova at 16/1 and Alison Riske 25/1.
Women’s 2nd Quarter
A right humdinger of a quarter with both Serena and Naomi, not to mention Kenin, Yastremska, Konta, Gauff, Sloane, Wozniacki and Venus. This will obviously be Wozniacki’s last event before retirement. I am finding it difficult to see past the big two in this section though. I am obviously one of Serena’s biggest fans and biased as you like but I have a great, great deal of respect for Naomi Osaka. Serena winning in Auckland doesn’t look like much from the outside but it was a first title in three years and just having that winning feeling back for me is massive. Osaka is obviously defending champion and is always a threat.
You know what I think here. I haven’t tipped Serena up for her quarter very often (only the outright) and this isn’t an easy one but I think I will have a small bet on the 7/4. I won’t be smashing this though. The facts are if you take the French out of the equation the only quarter she hasn’t won since her return was here in Melbourne last year. That was when she was matchpoint up against Pliskova to win the quarter and twisted her ankle. Hope I have justified it?
Women’s 3rd Quarter
Another favourite I will be opposing is Simona Halep in this quarter. She has a very tough opener against Jennifer Brady and potentially last years semi-finalist Danielle Collins in the third. I will be siding with the American at 9/1, Collins seems to be in good nick to me and this is a winnable section. Aryna Sabalenka is tempting but not at the prices on offer, a top-priced 9/2. I will go instead with another 9/1 shot Belinda Bencic to cover myself. She has disappointed so far in Melbourne but the draw looks reasonably kind for her.
My main bet will be Danielle Collins at 9/1 with a cover on Belinda Bencic at 9/1.
Women’s 4th Quarter
To keep with the general theme so far I will be getting against Pliskova and Svitolina in this section. I generally think these two are overpriced in markets. Marketa Vondrousova would normally interest me but the fact she has only just returned from injury puts me off. I never know where I am with Angie Kerber these days and swerve her as a result, plus there are too many poor losses and I feel the same about Kiki Bertens. I quite like the chances of Amanda Anisimova at 10/1 and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova as a cover at 35/1. The American, still only 18 reached the last 16 here last year and the semis in Paris. Impressive. Pavlyuchenkova represents a bit of value. The Russian has reached the quarters of all of the slams, including twice in Melbourne. She has also gone close against Barty and Kvitova this year.
Small bets on Amanda Anisimova at 10/1 and a cover on Pavlyuchenkova at 35/1.
Women’s Outright – My bets
I actually backed Naomi Osaka at 9/1 a few months back here and I wouldn’t say I am too unhappy with that but I wouldn’t be ‘going in again’. The fact that Rena is in that section and favourite tells you why. It doesn’t look as big now. With Andreescu out injured it is another big chance for these two.
I keep persisting with Serena, though I always think she has a better chance at Wimbledon and the US these days. The worry is the weight of history. Will I be backing her? Yes, but not large stakes at 4/1. I will let you decide which one to back. If one reaches the final you will surely have the chance of covering yourself if you are that worried.
Serena Williams 4/1 or Naomi Osaka 8/1 as main bet.
Amanda Anisimova 40/1 (each-way small stakes).
Danielle Collins 40/1 or 45/1 (each-way small stakes).
Ekaterina Alexandrova 90/1 or 100/1 (each-way small stakes).
Alison Riske 125/1 or 150/1 (each-way small stakes).
Happy and safe punting to you all. Hope you enjoy the next two weeks of tennis, it should be class! Look out for my daily blogs!
Andy Del Potro