We’re continuing our Australian Open predictions with a near-9/2 treble from three of the semi-finals in Melbourne.
Unique conditions have been playing a part in how the year’s first grand slam tournament pans out, but we’re hoping these selections continue to cope with the unusual circumstances.
Novak Djokovic to beat Aslan Karatsev 3-0 @ 8/13
Russian sensation Karatsev has been striking the ball superbly in getting past Diego Schwartzman, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Grigor Dimitrov, showing no signs of nerves, despite being a grand slam debutant at the age of 27. However, Dimitrov won their first set 6-2 before becoming increasingly hampered by a back spasm and that may be an insight into what Djokovic will do to the qualifier. The Serbian superstar has had to battle through the pain of his own abdominal injury, which slightly clouds the issue, but he looked physically a lot better when beating Alexander Zverev 6-7 6-2 6-4 7-6 and will want to get this mismatch done as quickly as possible.
Serena Williams to beat Naomi Osaka @ 23/20
This match would have been more fitting as a final and opinions will be split over a potential winner, as both have been in impressive form at Melbourne Park. Williams has repeatedly come unstuck in the closing stages of grand slam tournaments since returning to the sport following the birth of her daughter in 2017 and faces a formidable foe in Osaka here. However, the American legend again showed off her improved fitness in a 6-3 6-3 victory over Simona Halep in the quarter-finals and a 24th major crown could be on the cards. Halep noticed the difference, saying: “She’s moving better and she hits strong balls. I feel like she’s in a good shape now.”
Jennifer Brady to beat Karolina Muchova @ 11/20
Muchova has come through a tougher draw, taking out three seeded players in Karolina Pliskova, Elise Mertens and world number one Ashleigh Barty, so Brady can’t afford to suffer any dips in focus, as she did when claiming a 4-6 6-2 6-1 win over fellow American Jessica Pegula. However, facing a Fed Cup team-mate can affect players in different ways and we’re expecting the 25-year-old to be back on point versus Czech rival Muchova. If she does bring her A-game, Brady is simply the stronger player on this surface, plus she has the grand slam experience of having taken a set off Osaka in last year’s US Open semi-finals.
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