As you may have been hearing, it's boiling hot here in Melbourne!
This is the hottest I've known since the 1997 Aussie Open, when the temperatures reached a similar level and the Extreme Heat Rule was first introduced by the organisers.
I must say I'm not entirely comfortable with how the officials have dealt with things this week. They need to take a look at revising the protocol. In my opinion if it's too hot and not safe for the players then the match should be stopped immediately, rather than waiting for the set to finish, because that set could take another hour. Anyway, onto the action...
Federer v Gabashvilli
This Australian Open has put Roger Federer in the unfamiliar position of outsider. The Swiss legend is seeded 6th and out at odds of 18.00 to win his 5th Norman Brookes Challenge Cup; the trophy presented to the men's singles champion here.
But I think there's value in backing Roger in the outright market. Traditionally he has a great record here and he was unlucky in the semi final last year. Meanwhile, he's in good form having reached the final of his warm up event in Brisbane and if it stays hot then the fast conditions will help him more than anyone.
Teymuraz Gabashvilli is a plucky Russian with a resourceful game but he cannot challenge Roger here.
This will be Roger in straight sets at odds of 1.18. Add some value by doubling that with a bet on under 9.5 games in the first set at 1.50.
Murray v Lopez
At 8.00 to win the tournament outright, Murray is decent odds. He's reached the final here before on more than one occasion but if Djokovic and Nadal are on form in the latter stages then the Brit will not take the title from them.
Andy Murray has looked comfortable in his wins over Soeda and Millot so far this week, and although he's just back from injury I think he looks in good shape. This match against Feliciano will be a step-up in class and offer Andy the chance to dust off some cobwebs.
Lopez has never beaten Murray in seven professional attempts so there's little doubt it'll be business as usual for Andy here. But I think it will go to four sets, as it did at the US Open last year.
Back 3-1 Murray at odds of 3.30.
Nadal v Monfis
This is a fairly tough match for Rafa, and I expect it to be an epic encounter.
Monfis, for me, is the best natural athlete in tennis, and he'll push Nadal to the limit here.
The Frenchman will stand there and match the Spaniard blow for blow and so it is possible we could have an upset on the cards.
But if I had to stick my neck on the line I would say Nadal will pull through, but with a few battle scars for his trouble. Take Nadal in five sets at odds of 5.75.
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