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What a wild ride this Australian Open has been so far. The top two seeds in the men’s draw – Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic – have both made early exits and old guys Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are making relentless comeback bids. The quarterfinal round features plenty of excellent matchups but the best are world No. 3 Milos Raonic vs Nadal and world No. 4 Stan Wawrinka vs Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Milos Raonic (3) vs Rafael Nadal (9)

One of the best matchups of the entire tournament so far – or it would be if Raonic wasn’t sick with the flu – features an ever-improving Canadian player and a former champion on his way out the door. It was evident in his last match against Roberto Bautista-Agut that Milos wasn’t feeling himself and through the first two sets, it looked like he could be making an early exit. The Canadian, however, dug deep and pulled out the four-set victory. He’ll face his toughest test so far when he squares off with Nadal on center court at the Rod Laver Arena.

  • Raonic beat Nadal in the quarters of this year’s Brisbane International 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
  • Nadal is 0-2 in his last 2 quarterfinals at major tournaments.
  • Raonic has his best career winning percentage in a major tournament at the Aussie Open.

I’ll level with you, these are my two favorite tennis players on the planet. Before Raonic burst onto the scene a few years ago and before he was hindered by injuries, Rafa was the most electric guy on the tour and was the only player challenging Roger Federer for the world No. 1 title. He has historically given the Canadian a lot of trouble and it looks like he’s back in the form he was in when he contended for almost every major title.

[custom:bodog-link] has him as the -145 favorite to advance to the semis and unless Milos gets healthy, I agree with that line. Unfortunately for the world No. 3, this illness he’s dealing with could be his ultimate demise in his best ever chance to win a major.

That said, monitor Milos’ health status and if it becomes clear he’s not hallucinating from a fever, it couldn’t hurt to take advantage of his +120 value. This is a five-set match if I’ve ever seen one so if you’re looking for some value, it’s on either Milos or Rafa to win three sets to two.

Milos Raonic vs Rafael Nadal
Team Spread Moneyline Total
Nadal -1.5 (+110) -145 3.5 (-250) OVER
Raonic +1.5 (-140) +120 3.5 (+185) UNDER

Odds as of January 23 at [custom:bodog-link]

Stan Wawrinka (4) vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (12)

Although it doesn't quite have the same star power as some of the other quarters, it involves two of the most solid players on the men's circuit. Wawrinka is the last man to win a major tournament and is the highest seed remaining in his side of the bracket. Tsonga has never won a major but with "Angry" Murray and the Joker out, this may be his last great opportunity.

  • Wawrinka has the slight 4-3 edge in the head-to-head with Tsonga.
  • Tsonga has not made it past the quarters of the Aussie Open since 2010.
  • Wawrinka has beaten Tsonga in 3 consecutive meetings.

Stan has owned this matchup in recent years and has only improved since the last time Tsonga was able to get by the Swiss pro. [custom:bodog-link] is giving the Frenchman a shot at +125 but I'm not so sure. Tsonga survives on his service game and Wawrinka is a great returner of the ball, as illustrated by the three tiebreak wins he earned in his last match. 

I've been vocal that I think Stan has a good chance to win this tournament and actually put money on him to win the whole thing when Djokovic was eliminated. I like the -150 line for him to win this match and think he could do it in straight sets – which is paying +295.

Stan Wawrinka vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Team Spread Moneyline Total
Wawrinka -1.5 (EVEN) -155 3.5 (-190) OVER
Tsonga +1.5 (-130) +130 3.5 (+150) UNDER

Odds as of January 23 at [custom:bodog-link]