The final place in the championship match of the 2015 Australian Open Men’s Singles will be decided on Friday, with Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic battling it out at Melbourne Park.
Play is scheduled to begin at around 08:30 UK time on Rod Laver Arena and I’ll be hoping for another set of results like Thursday’s when all three of my bets were successful.
Serena Williams was made to work hard for much of her match with Madison Keys, but after a tight opening set she made things fairly comfortable in set two despite blowing at least eight match points.
The 2-0 was a winner there, as was the over 12.5 total aces, which cruised home as Williams hit 13 and Keys 12.
That was the first leg of my ‘long shot’ double and the second leg was comfortable as well, with Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych producing 20 aces between them, which was well under the 26.5 mark.
Finally, the over 182.5 total minutes was also reasonably comfortable in that Murray/Berdych match, despite a 6-0 set to the Scot threatening to ruin things at one stage.
Novak Djokovic vs Stanislas Wawrinka
This will be the 20th meeting between this pair of Grand Slam champions and although Djokovic leads the career series by a huge margin the gap between them at majors lately is very small indeed.
Friday’s clash will be the third straight year the pair have met at the Australian Open after Djokovic won 12-10 in the fifth in 2013 and Wawrinka 9-7 in the fifth last year.
Djokovic is a little short for my liking here, given that we know that Stan can beat him in these conditions over five sets and there are plenty of markets that appeal in siding with a closer contest than the layers clearly expect to see.
Wawrinka has been serving very well of late and he banged down another 20 aces against Kei Nishikori in the quarter finals and the Japanese is no mean returner either, finishing sixth in return games won in 2014.
If he keeps that form up against Djokovic – and he surely has to if he wants to win – I would expect the Swiss to cover a -2.5 handicap in the most aces market.
Here last year Wawrinka won that contest 17-7 and in 2013 he won it 16-7, so it seems reasonable to expect a similar outcome given that Stan is serving so well.
Verdasco outaced Djokovic 16-11 in the third round and there’s no reason why Wawrinka can’t do the same and cover the handicap at 1.72.
As for ‘sure things’ in this one I have to side with the over 31.5 total games at 1.34.
So close have been their last three meetings in majors both here and at the US Open it’s hard to see either player winning it in fewer than 32 games, which would constitute a pretty one-sided affair.
Djokovic has managed that feat once in the last 15 meetings with top-five players at a major and that one was David Ferrer in Melbourne in 2013.
Wawrinka has done it just once in 20 matches against the top-five and that occasion was a destruction of Murray in New York back in 2013.
An interesting long shot today could be to side with the first set being a quick one, as there have been several short sets in the past between these two, as one or other of them finds top gear.
In their last four meetings in majors there have been two 6-1 sets, three 6-2 sets, and three 6-3 sets and their last three meetings at slams have all ended in under 8.5 games in set one.
The price on that bet on Friday is 4.25, which looks a decent long shot on the stats and it's unlikely to preclude the over 31.5 games to land, as this one will surely go to four sets at least, which bet itself is a 1.68 chance.
Sure thing: Back over 31.5 total games at 1.34
Value bet: Back Wawrinka -2.5 in most aces at 1.72
Long shot: Back under 8.5 games in set one at 4.25