Free tennis betting tips: Men's Australian Open final, Sunday February 21
Remember when Pete Sampras won his seventh Wimbledon title and you thought it was a super-human achievement?
Well, since the American retired, Roger Federer has won eight Wimbledons and Rafael Nadal 13 (THIRTEEN) French Opens.
Victory in this match will take Novak Djokovic to nine Australian Open titles.
It has been an era of greatness, one which an entire generation of players has been unable to puncture.
But Daniil Medvedev may just be the man to do it.
Yes, it’s been said before but for a change the bookies agree – kind of.
Several make this a 50-50 match and that has never previously been the case in a Grand Slam final featuring only one of the Big Three, every other ‘outsider’ having gone off the underdog, usually a big one.
Medvedev has been the best player of the tournament so far, losing only two sets, both to Filip Krajinovic early on.
He took both Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas apart in the last two rounds, stretching his winning streak to 20 matches. A remarkable 12 of those contests have been against top-10 players.
One was against Djokovic – at November’s ATP Finals in London when the Serb was afforded just one break point, which he was unable to take.
That match forms part of an impressive record for Medvedev against the world number one. While trails the head-to-head 4-3, he’s actually won three of the last four. Even in his younger days, the Russian was able to trouble Djokovic – he’s won at least one set in all bar one of those seven matches.
The only negative really is a specific experience one – Medvedev is yet to beat Djokovic in a best-of-five match, while he’s also bidding to win his maiden Grand Slam title. That is always a significant hurdle to overcome.
Djokovic’s tournament has been dominated by the hubbub surrounding the abdominal injury he suffered in round three against Taylor Fritz.
The Serb initially feared a torn muscle, although clearly that wasn’t the case. The severity of the problem has been much-talked-about but the man himself declared himself fine after his semi-final victory over qualifier Aslan Karatsev, adding his straight-sets win had been his best performance of the tournament.
However, his test here will be considerably stiffer and he’s been troubled by much lesser players in Melbourne, dropping five sets en route to this final – the most he’s ever lost at a Slam in which he’s reached the title match.
Medvedev will give him very little – these are two of the best defensive players in the game but they are also capable of turning defence into attack in devastating fashion.
The Russian’s serve caused Djokovic big trouble in London and in the fast conditions we’ve had in Melbourne this past fortnight, it will likely be a potent weapon once again.
Djokovic has also made good use of the conditions – he’s been particularly strong in the serving department, twice producing 20+ aces which is largely unheard of from him.
Still, I believe the quick court and balls play more into Medvedev’s hands.
His flat-hitting, particularly on his strong backhand wing, has the ability to push Djokovic into positions where even he will struggle to get the ball back deep.
Followers of my ante-post preview will already have Medvedev running at 5/1 and it would be easy to play safe now.
However, I feel Medvedev is ready to win a match of this magnitude, with his form and record against Djokovic suggesting he should arguably be favourite.
The bet I’ll suggest is for MEDVEDEV TO WIN 3-1 OR 3-2 which is offered at 2/1 in Sky Bet’s ‘two chances’ set betting market, which is better than any dutching that can be done.
I can’t see either player running away with this but am happy to side with Medvedev for the reasons outlined.
I’m also going to have a play in the DOUBLE FAULTS market where DJOKOVIC to serve more than his opponent looks the value at 13/8.
He’s 'won' this market in four of their seven meetings (one tie), including that recent London clash.
Across this tournament, the Serb has served 21 to Medvedev’s 17, so there’s plenty to suggest the market is wrong.