2018 Australian Open – Quarter Finals

Australian Open 2018

January 15 – 29

Grigor Dimitrov v Kyle Edmund

Dimitrov had looked below his best before his match with Nick Kyrgios in the last round. However, he found a higher level just when he needed it and has been rewarded with a quarter-final against Kyle Edmund. The Brit has had the tournament of his life but he’s already survived two five setters and physically he looked to be starting to feel the pace in the last round.

Edmund has lost 12 of his 13 career matches against the current top 10 but he did take a set when these two met in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago. However, we’re not so sure he can repeat that here. While Edmund he might be feeling a little tired, DImitrov is one of the fittest around and should have no such problems. The Bulgarian also has far greater experience and he’s won his last two Grand Slam quarter-finals in straight sets. There were no signs of the inconsistency that has plagued him in earlier rounds during his win over Kyrgios and, given his level should simply be too good for Edmund, he looks great value to win in straight sets.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Gregor Dimitrov 3-0 at 2.7

Rafael Nadal v Marin Cilic

Nadal leads the head to head between these two 5-1 but that win for Cilic came in their first ever meeting back in 2009. Cilic lost early in Pune in his warm-up event and hasn’t exactly hit top form in the opening week here, with Pablo Carreno-Busta, who has struggled for much of the past few months, pushing him closer than expected in the last round. Furthermore, Cilic lost all his matches at the Tour Finals in November and he’s won just two of his last 16 matches against the current top 10 as he generally struggles against the very best. He’s also lost his last three Grand Slam matches against these players without winning a set and losing all three by at least eight clear games.

Nadal was extended a bit in the last round as Diego Schwartzmann nicked a set off him but he was never in too much trouble and ultimately won eight more games than his opponent. He’s won 12 of his last 14 Grand Slam quarter-finals with eight wins in straight sets. Moreover, he’s won 16 of 18 matches against the current top 10 since the start of 2017 when a favourite priced shorter than 1.6, with four of the five Grand Slam matches won by at least six clear games. Rafa has enough of an edge in this match that he should win with something to spare and we’ll take him to cover the games handicap.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Rafael Nadal -5.5 Games at 1.9

Carla Suarez Navarro v Caroline Wozniacki

Suarez Navarro won when these two met last May but Wozniacki won their previous four meetings and given their respective form over the past eight months this looks nailed on for the Dane. After her scare in the second round Wozniacki has had a pair of routine wins and is looking better and better as the tournament goes on. She’s reached the final in half her last six tournaments (pulling out of one of the others), which has propelled her back up to second in the world. Furthermore, she’s on her favourite surface and has won five of her six career Grand Slam quarter-finals on hard courts, with the last two of those seeing her win the first set 6-0 both times.

Suarez Navarro has required a deciding set to sneak through in each of the last three rounds and since she’s yet to play a top 30 player this promises to be a step too far. She’s lost 10 of her last 11 on hard against the current top 10, with five of the last seven defeats coming in straight sets as her results have been getting worse. In fact, she’s lost her last 11 against the current top 25 on hard courts while winning just two sets so she really is outmatched here. Having won just four games in her two previous hard court Slam quarters combined we’re happy to oppose her here and back Woziacki to win 2-0.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Caroline Wozniacki 2-0 at 1.6

Elise Mertens v Elina Svitolina

This match looks a less certain affair as Mertens has been genuinely impressive during the tournament. However, she is up against the pre-tournament favourite and Svitolina has started 2018 with a nine match winning streak as she lifted the title in Brisbane before coming here. She’s also won all her opening four rounds by at least seven clear games as six of the eight sets she’s won have been 6-2 or easier. Svitolina has won 17 of her 20 matches since February last year against players currently ranked 11-50, with 15 wins in straight sets, as her consistency has seen her able to dominate matches where she’s had some sort of edge.

That’s probably going to be the case here too and even though Mertens has won her last 11 matches, including claiming the Hobart title, it has to be noted that she’s not faced a top 20 player in that time. Moreover, she’s faced six of the current 10 in her career and is yet to beat any of them with four defeats in straight sets.

Experience is likely to be key here as while Svitolina has never reached a Slam semi she has been involved in a lot of big matches over the last 12 months while Mertens is playing in only her fifth main draw of a Slam and lost in the first round in three of the previous four.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Elina Svitolina 2-0 at 1.85

Tomas Berdych v Roger Federer

Nobody could have picked the other quarter-final in this half but there is nothing new about this match-up as Federer and Berdych meet for a 26th time in a rivalry that goes all the way back to 2004. The Czech has enjoyed a couple of notable wins over the years, beating Federer at Wimbledon and the US Open, but recent history is very much in the Swiss’s favour. Federer has won all eight of their meetings since 2014 including 19 of the last 20 sets the pair have played.

Fed has also looked imperious so far here as he’s yet to drop a set, much as he’s looked since the start of 2017 as he’s reached the final in eight of his 12 tournaments, winning seven. Since 2014 Federer has won nine of 10 Grand Slam quarter-finals away from Roland Garros, with five wins in straight sets.

Berdych has also made relatively serene progress with a 3-0 win over Del Potro in round three the highlight. There were few signs of this form before however, as he’d suffered early exits in all five of his tournaments since Wimbledon. His decline in the past couple of years has largely come against the very best and he’s lost his last 27 completed matches when starting as an underdog of 2/1 or greater. That includes defeats in straight sets in each of his last six such Grand Slam matches and everything points to that being the case once again.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Federer 3-0 at 2.35

Hyeon Chung v Tennys Sandgren

This tournament was the first time Sandgren had ever received a direct entry to a Grand Slam and he’d lost in qualifying here in each of the past five years. So reaching the quarters here has to rank as one of the biggest surprises in recent years, as he’d won just two matches in his career on the main ATP Tour prior to this and one of those was against a player ranked outside the top 100 and the other was via a retirement.

Sandgren has enjoyed a bit of fortune as he’s benefitted from an unfit Stan Wawrinka and an out of form Dominic Thiem. Jeremy Chardy, in round one, was another opponent who had no form to speak of while Max Marterer might have been struggling physically in round three after a five-setter the round before. His luck has continued into this match, as on paper Hyeon Chung is a far easier opponent than either Dkokovic or Zverev would have been.

Nevertheless, Chung has dispatched those two in the last two rounds and has to be a huge favourite to reach a first Grand Slam semi-final. A lack of firepower on his serve is his main weakness but Sandgren lacks the return skills to really pressure that and the Korean has the belief to dominate this match having won the Next Gen title in November. Moreover, he’s won 18 of 20 completed matches against players currently below the top 50 since last April, including all seven best-of-five set matches of which five were won in straight sets. The consistency of his game should prove too much for the American and we fancy Chung to come through in straight sets.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Chung 3-0 at 2.20

Angelique Kerber v Madison Keys

Kerber had to survive the loss of the opening set in her last round but she’s now the favourite as we reach the quarter-final stage. Keys has enjoyed an excellent run here as she looks to reach back-to-back Grand Slam finals but this match promises to be a big problem for her. The head-to-head is overwhelmingly in Kerber’s favour as she’s won six of their seven meetings with Keys’s only win coming on grass where her serve offers her an extra threat. Moreover, those wins have been very one sided as five have been in straight sets and all six have been by at least four clear games.

Keys has dropped just 19 games in four rounds so far but having hardly played since the US Open her lack of tough matches might be something of a negative. Her record against left-handers is also mediocre as she’s lost 11 of 20 such matches since the start of 2014.

Kerber has won 13 matches in a row to start 2018 and she was at her very best a few days ago as she thrashed Maria Sharapova, so there are no question marks about her sharpness. It’s been a welcome return to form for the former champion – the only Grand Slam winner left – and she’s won her last three Slam quarter-finals, all in straight sets. She’s also taken a liking to playing Americans as she’s won 18 of her last 22 such completed matches. This looks a similar affair to her match against Sharapova when we thought the German was a generous price and while there’s not as much value this time around we’d still have her closer to 1.5 and she deserves to be backed again.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Kerber Win at 1.62

Simona Halep v Karolina Pliskova

Halep won all seven games that went to deuce in her last round to put a flattering spin on what was a closer match than the result suggests. She’ll have to find another level here though as she faces a similar player to Osaka in Pliskova, but one who is a few levels above in almost every aspect. Furthermore, she’s often found herself overpowered in the latter stages of Slams, particularly on faster surfaces, and has also lost eight of her last 12 against the current top 10.

However, one top player she’s enjoyed plenty of success against is Pliskova, as she leads their head-to-head 5-1. Two of the last three meetings have gone the distance though and we prefer the look of ‘overs’ to siding with one player or the other in what looks like a coin-toss of a match.

Pliskova didn’t finish her fourth round till about 2.30 am and even with a day off that could play a part, so that’s another reason we’ll dodge her in the winner market. Nevertheless, she’s won 10 of her last 17 on outdoor hard against the current top 10 so has every chance, while nine of the last 13 of those saw at least 22 games, which looks set to be the line. Since 2016 she’s played five Grand Slam matches against the current top 10 and she’s won three while three went to a third set and the other two both featured a tie-break as they all had at least 22 games. We’re struggling to split the pair so the best bet looks to be to back this to go long instead.

Betting Strategy

BACK – Over 21.5 Games at 1.88

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