Sunday’s play at Melbourne Park sees the start of the fourth round action in the 2014 Australian Open.
The weather is set to remain cool in the low 20s in what are now perfect playing conditions if the rain stays away, and the stars from the top half of the draw are in action on Sunday.
Fabio Fognini 17.00 v Novak Djokovic 1.02
All four matches on the card today are contests between familiar foes, with defending champion Djokovic having met the unpredictable Italian Fognini seven times in the past stretching back to their first clash on the clay of Rome in qualies back in 2006.
That match was the only one won by Fognini so far and it’s pretty certain that it will stay that way after Sunday’s play.
The Italian can be a true delight to watch if he fancies it, as he showed once again in taking down Sam Querrey in straight sets in round three, but whilst he has taken a set from Nole on hard courts in the past I can’t see him doing it in a major.
The pair are good friends off the court, but Novak won’t be giving Fabio a sniff here and the problem with overall match betting on Fognini is that he’s likely to lose interest and throw in the towel at any given moment.
So, that leads me to the first set markets, and Fognini +3.5 games at 1.50 looks a decent wager here.
The Fog is in good form and he’s certainly at least as much of a test as Denis Istomin and Lukas Lacko were to Djokovic, and both of those managed to grab three games in their openers against Nole here. As ever the big worry is Fognini’s attitude though, as nobody can predict that.
Florian Mayer 3.85 v David Ferrer 1.24
This eighth meeting between Mayer and Ferrer will take place almost a decade after their first, which was on clay in Bucharest back in 2004, and if Mayer isn’t too fatigued from a tough first week in the extreme heat he could worry the Spaniard – at least for a while.
Mayer isn’t known for his stamina and I’m not sure he has the goods to beat Ferrer in a scrap over five sets, but the cooler weather will help and he’ll take confidence into the match after beating the world number three pretty comfortably in Shanghai last autumn.
The German is a threat to most on his day over the shorter three-set format, but the only time in 11 attempts that he’s actually beaten a top-10 ranked player was against Guillermo Coria on the grass of Wimbledon back in 2004.
Indeed, Mayer was beaten in straight sets in eight of those 11 matches, which tells a tale, but that said, Ferrer hasn’t been at his best so far this campaign and is coming to terms with life on tour without Javier Piles.
Ferrer should come through this one, but Mayer will be boosted by good wins over Mikhail Youzhny and Jerzy Janowicz so far in Melbourne, and if he serves well he can take a set.
I like the 3.75 about a 3-1 victory for Ferrer here.
Back Fognini +3.5 games in set one at 1.50
Back Ferrer to beat Mayer 3-1 at 3.75