Australian Open Men’s Day Eight: Tsitsipas v Berrettini



Thiem and Auger-Aliassime exit on Sunday

There were certainly several talking points from Sunday’s fourth round matches, though a potential further one was avoided when Novak Djokovic – still with question marks over his fitness – winning in four sets against Milos Raonic.

Before this though, we saw the exit of Dominic Thiem in straight sets to Grigor Dimitrov, and this helped us pick up a winner with Dimitrov recommended on the game handicap. Despite the exit of one of the top four favourites in the outright market, this arguably wasn’t even the biggest drama of the day with the sensation of the tournament Aslan Karatsev fighting back from 2-0 down having won just four games to dump Felix Auger-Aliassime out in five sets. The Russian had more break point chances (he struggled to save break points in the first two sets) and continues his stunning event with a quarter-final meeting with Dimitrov.

Qualifiers reaching the semi-finals of men’s Grand Slams is pretty much unheard of, but Karatsev is now one match away from that achievement.

Medvedev a heavy favourite to defeat McDonald

Moving on to tomorrow’s matches, there are three heavy favourites at around 1.201/5 or below – Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Rafa Nadal.

Medvedev gets the men’s schedule underway with what looks like on paper to be a straightforward clash against Mackenzie McDonald, who is just getting back to his previous levels after long-term injury. Medvedev, however, looks very capable of pushing both Djokovic and Nadal at the top of the rankings this year and this could quite conceivably be his first Slam title having lost to the Spaniard in five sets at the US Open in 2019. The Russian is 1.051/20 and this looks about right to me.

Medvedev’s countryman, Andrey Rublev, is very slightly bigger at 1.121/8 for his match against the Norwegian clay-courter, Casper Ruud. While Ruud does his best work on clay and has much better data on that surface than on hard court, there’s some evidence of hard court improvement and my data would make him a marginally above-average hard courter on the main tour right now – albeit one with a rather serve-orientated dynamic.

Rublev had a stunning 2020, winning five tournaments in a shortened season, and looks likely to face Medvedev in that all-Russian quarter-final clash, which promises to be a potential epic.

Nadal accurately priced to end Fognini’s tournament

Later on in the schedule, Rafa Nadal faces Fabio Fognini after the Italian stunned Alex De Minaur in round three. Fognini’s inconsistency but high peak level has been accurately illustrated already this season with a win as huge underdog against De Minaur and against Pablo Carreno-Busta at the ATP Cup, but defeats as favourite versus Dennis Novak and Jeremy Chardy.

While Nadal has a 12-4 head-to-head lead over Fognini, this is pretty positive for Fognini considering the starting prices of their matches, and this is a better record than most have against the King of Clay. Fognini has one Grand Slam hard court victory against Nadal to his name, triumphing in the third round of the 2015 US Open in five sets. However, Nadal is 1.182/11 to get the win and this again looks right to me.

Berrettini capable of shocking Tsitsipas

In my opinion, the main value spot on Monday looks to be in the final fourth round match, scheduled to start at 930am UK time. Stefanos Tsitsipas is 1.3030/100 to defeat Matteo Berrettini, and this looks pretty short to me.

Since the tour resumed, Tsitsipas has won more matches but Berrettini actually has slightly better underlying data – winning almost 72% of service points is certainly impressive – while over the last 18 months on hard court, there’s little difference in the numbers between the duo.

Given this, Berrettini looks a decent shout as a 4.2016/5 underdog, and particularly given such strong service numbers the +4.5 game handicap line looks a reasonable option.

The side markets are still forming on the Exchange but we should be able to get around even money in line with general market pricing.

***

Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings