We’ve reached the men’s semi-finals stage with our Australian Open predictions and are eyeing a 9/2 double at Melbourne Park.
The pressure has again been intense at the first grand slam event of the year and punters can expect plenty more thrills and spills Down Under.
Stefanos Tsitsipas to beat Karen Khachanov 3-1 @ 14/5
The Greek ace is hard to oppose here, having won all five previous meetings against Khachanov, with just two sets dropped in those encounters.
Tsitsipas, who still has a chance of finishing the tournament as the world number one, has enjoyed a favourable draw in Melbourne this year and saw off 21-year-old novice Jiri Lehecka with a smooth 6-3 7-6 6-4 success.
“I’m feeling great with my tennis,” beamed the third seed. “I don’t think I felt so good in a long time. I’m a different player, playing different.
“My mentality is different. When I’m out on the court, I don’t really think of negatives, to be honest. I just go out there and play the game.”
Admittedly, Tsitsipas was taken to five sets by number 15 Jannik Sinner in round four, the Italian being the only seed he has faced so far, but he does look in great spirits.
Khachanov, ranked 18, reached a second consecutive slam semi-final after Sebastian Korda retired with a wrist injury when trailing 7-6 6-3 3-0.
The 26-year-old has been something of a slow burner but now seems to be coming out from the shadows of fellow Russians Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev.
He said: “I always believe in myself and my abilities and what I need to do in order to be at my best. So, I think with my team, we are on the right direction and I think this kind of competition in a positive way between us helps us to get better.”
However, Khachanov has lost his last 22 encounters with players ranked in the top 10 and could just have his limitations exposed once more.
Novak Djokovic to beat Tommy Paul 3-0 @ 5/11
Paul will break into the top 20 for the first time after this tournament and is the first American man to reach the semi-finals here since Andy Roddick in 2009.
He used his greater experience to secure a 7-6 6-3 5-7 6-4 victory over rookie compatriot Ben Shelton, having previously knocked out Roberto Bautista Agut in fine fashion.
However, booking a maiden appearance in the last four of a major is likely to be as good as it gets, with Djokovic chasing a 10th Australian Open title and on a 39-match winning streak at this tournament.
The Serbian superstar has been slightly bothered by a hamstring issue in Melbourne but has only dropped one set on a tiebreak and simply breezed past fifth seed Rublev 6-1 6-2 6-4.
“I cannot be happier with my tennis,” declared Djokovic. “I’ve been playing very solid. I love playing in these conditions, on this court.
“Andrey is a great player, but all the important moments and the important shots, I found my best tennis, so that’s what I’m most pleased about.”
The 35-year-old admits that missing out on competing at his favourite slam 12 months ago has spurred him on this time and he is just superior to Paul in every department.
As long as that hamstring strain doesn’t flare up, Djokovic should cruise through.
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