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Pamela’s Australian Open Best Bets

2020 Australian Open Best Bets

It’s with much anticipation that the 2020 Australian Open is finally here. Unfortunately, this year’s tournament does come with a major setback. Due to the bushfires that have been raging in Australia, air quality has become a major issue. There were talks of potentially pushing the tournament back, but the Australian Open plans to keep things going despite the hazardous air and haze from the fires.

This is something to keep in mind when laying your hard-earned money on a futures bet or individual match play. One way to mitigate this added element is to limit your plays to players who will likely be performing on one of the three courts with a retractable roof.

The Surface

The Australian Open hardcourt is slower than other normal hardcourt tournaments, which creates a lower bounce and less spin. The lower bounce will favor the likes of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and even Dominic Thiem because they can get under the ball really well. However, for Nadal and Thiem, this surface could also be detrimental since their heavy top-spin game won’t be able to produce as high a bounce against opponents.

For taller players like Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, the lower bounce is harder to control because they have to get under it.

Breaking Down the Men’s Draw: Top Half

Looking at the top of the top half of the draw, you can see that Nadal will likely face one formidable opponent in the quarter round who has pushed him to the edge on hardcourt and that’s Thiem. Nadal won their only hardcourt meeting at the 2018 U.S. Open in a grueling five-set match that could have easily gone Thiem’s way. Today, Thiem is much better than he was back then, as 2019 proved to be a breakout year when he won at Indian Wells and Beijing and nearly won the ATP Finals in London. Last year he was ousted rather quickly in Melbourne due to injury, but so far it looks like Thiem is healthy and a dangerous opponent who beat the likes of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic in 2019.

Looking at the bottom of the top half of the draw, Medvedev is looking like a solid option for a futures bet. Currently sitting at +800, he is in a good spot to make it to the quarters to potentially face the winner between Nadal and Thiem. In the early rounds, Medvedev’s only resistance is likely to be Stan Wawrinka in the fourth round if Stan can make it past John Isner.                                                                                                                       
This is where things get tricky. David Goffin, Andrey Rublev, Nikoloz Basilashvili, Fernando Verdasco and Alexander Zverev are all in the same bunch. We could potentially see Goffin face Rublev in the third round. Zverev could face either Verdasco or Basilashvili and in the fourth face Rublev or Goffin. This is truly anyone’s game and the winner from this cluster will likely lose to Medvedev in the quarters.

If you read my earlier preview, then you are likely to be holding a futures ticket on Thiem at +1400. His chances of making it to the final are looking a bit tougher after the draw but he still has a pretty solid chance. Assuming no hiccups occur early on, he is likely to face Nadal in the quarters. The winner would likely face Medvedev in the semis.

In order for that to be Thiem, he needs to be confident. He has to avoid long rallies with Nadal and to capitalize on opportunities to be aggressive. If he doesn’t, Nadal will grind him down.

Breaking Down the Men’s Draw: Bottom Half

Things are a bit clearer with this portion of the draw. Looking at the top of the bottom half, I think it’s fair to predict that we could see either Matteo Berrettini or Fabio Fognini in the quarters, likely facing Roger Federer. Federer has an almost guaranteed shot into the semis as does Djokovic.

Even with Federer being a likely semis opponent, Novak has a mental advantage, especially in Grand Slam events. Novak’s return game has proven time and time again to be better than Federer’s serve capabilities. If you are an opponent of Novak, you’d better hope that he doesn’t bring out all the fancy drop shots that he employed in the ATP Cup. If he does, good luck. With that, I think it’s almost a guarantee we’ll see Novak in the final.

Predicting the Final

With seven Australian Open titles, this could very well be another win for Djokovic. If he faces Nadal, I could see a straight-set victory just like in 2019. If he faces Thiem, Thiem is similar to Wawrinka. Novak’s kryptonite is massive firepower that can outhit him. If he faces Medvedev, Medvedev is a taller version of him minus the return game.

This is Novak’s tournament to win but facing either Thiem or Medvedev would prove to be his biggest challenge.

Best Bets from BetOnline:

Djokovic to win +125, Medvedev to win +800, Thiem to win +1800

Best Bets from Bovada:

Second quarter winner: Medvedev +120, third quarter winner: Federer +125