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Australian Open - Daily Tips

January 18th, 2015

We are posting our best bets each day of the Australian Open below. Don´t forget that the matches start in the early hours UK time - so get your bets on before you go to bed and hopefully you´ll have some nice winners to wake up to! We will also post the tip results.

25 14 11 4.48 +£448


Novak Djokovic v Andy Murray

We’ve tried to hit the nail with 1st Set Correct Scores twice this tournament, and came within a whisker of landing when Tomas Berdych served for the 1st set against Andy Murray; something he was 1/7 to achieve as he begun the 9th game. Similarly, when backing Nadal to win 6-4, we correctly predicted the server without getting close to how the set played out.

We’ll go for it again in the mens final, where Djokovic winning 6-3 looks massive at 5/1 with Paddy Power. The Serb is a 4/6 favoutite for the set, should serve first and the stats for both men would suggest a 6-3 is the most likely outcome of the set. Of 49 first set wins for Djokovic in 2014, 17 were achieved by that scoreline, while Murray lost 8 of his 24 first set defeats by that exact margin.

On that basis, we’d make the price nearer to 3/1 than 5/1, so it looks a fair investment.

In terms of how the match will play out, much will depend on Murray maintaining his fitness of this week, and we don’t quite trust that factor enough to suggest he can get back to Grand Slam winning form against a man who has been so good this tournament. It’s unlikely to be a three set affair and the odds are probably fair on Murray (2/1 with Bet365), but it’s really a game to take a view on as the action unfolds with an in-running bet or two.

For the stats, Djokovic holds a 10-6 advantage on hard courts, and a 15-8 record overall, but that is tempered a little by the fact the Serb won the first four meetings between the pair way back in 06/07/08. More recently however, Djokovic won all four of their matches in 2014, taking 9 of their 10 sets - and of course he won both of their previous meetings in the Australian Open Final (3-0 in 2011 and 3-1 in 2013).

Novak Djokovic 6-3 1st Set Score
5/1 Paddy Power

*Novak was serving at 5-3 as predicted but was broken 


Serena Williams v Maria Sharapova

Let’s approach this by considering some pretty interesting numbers:

15 - the number of consecutive matches Williams has won against Sharapova.

9 - the number of consecutive matches she’s won between the pair without losing a set.

10 - the number of consecutive matches she would have covered a 3.5 game handicap.

Let’s dwell on that last one. It’s quite an impressive feat really, and it’s a massive surprise to see the bookies quoting not far off double your money odds about that eventuality.

Sharapova has never got to grips with Williams’ power game, and she will surely be coming into this knowing another demolition could be on the cards.

Serena cut short a practice session on Friday after complaining of feeling a little unwell, but she’s played through it thus far, and returned for afternoon practice looking ready to go again. That could explain the drift in her odds, but we’ve got confidence she will be fit and ready by Saturday evening (08.30 UK time) and recommend backing her on the handicap.

Serena Williams (-3.5) Handicap - Games Won 5/6 Sportingbet WON


We have no tips for Friday’s Djokovic v Wawrinka semi-final, but will be back with tips for Saturday’s Ladies Final. We are currently licking our wounds after today’s 15/2 tip on Tomas Berdych to win the first set against Andy Murray 6-3 came so close to winning. Indeed, everything went to plan with Berdych serving first (as anticipated) and breaking Murray once to serve for the first set in the ninth game (exactly as predicted). Unfortunately Berdych was broken at 5-3 to leave our best laid plans in tatters.


Tomas Berdych v Andy Murray

Andy Murray meets Tomas Berdych in a match which looks really difficult to call, with the bookies making Murray their 4/6 favourite, despite the Scot apparently putting Berdych up as his NAP when asked how he felt the match would go down. The Czech (our 50/1 pre-tournament tip) is now beng coached by a previously influential member of Murray’s coaching staff, and that, according to the Scot, could be a defining factor in this match.

Murray is working his way back to the top after some troubles and while he should reach that point, he’s actually only a single place above Berdych in the rankings. Ultimately he should be the better player, but his record against top players over the past season on hard court bears very close resemblance to that of Berdych, and given the Czech is yet to drop a set this tournament, it’s hard to have huge confidence in Murray at 4/6. In six meetings between the pair over the past two seasons, Murray has been as short 2/5 favourite previously, although he was an 8/11 chance ahead of their Miami meeting last season.

The margins are too fine to call either way, so we’re going to plump for a longer price, and recommend a bet on Berdych to win the first set 6-3 at odds of 15/2 with Ladbrokes. Murray has given the serve away on a number of occasions after the coin toss this season and has a history of doing so, while Berdych loves to open his matches by booming his big serve down at his opponent. A single break for Berdych over the first eight games would see him serving for the set in the ninth game, which looks more likely than those 15/2 odds imply. He’s won the first set 6-3 in two of their last three meetings.

Berdych 6-3 1st Set Score 15/2 Ladbrokes LOST


Kei Nishikori v Stan Wawrinka

Splittling these two is tough, but Kei Nishikori looks ready to take a step up in class and send Wawrinka packing.

The Swiss won this event of course 12 months ago, but has lost 3 of his following 9 matches on hard courts against top 25 players, including his only meeting with Nishikori in 2014.

In fact, even when you include the Aussie Open wins for Wawrinka last season, Wawrinka was only 7-5 against Top 25 players on hard courts, while Nishikori banked a 9-4 advantage on his way up the rankings, including victories over David Ferrer (twice), Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

He’s the real deal and odds of 5/6 look too long.

Kei Nishikori Match Winner 5/6 Paddy Power LOST


Rafael Nadal v Tomas Berdych

It’s taken until Day 9, but we are going to get all technical at long last for this bet. It’s a little exploited angle, and one where you need to do quite a lot of homework to find an edge, but when you do, the rewards can be pretty impressive.

This match has a number of sub plots running through it - can Berdych put an end to an horrific run against Nadal which has seen the Spaniard win every meeting between the pair since 2006; in fact he’s won their last 18 matches and only dropped 3 sets in that run.

Well, perhaps Nadal hasn’t looked hugely fit, especially when nearly crashing out to Smyczek in the 2nd round, and Berdych will feel he has a chance.

This could certainly be closer than historical meetings suggest, and this brings us to the recommended bet. Despite us not knowing the outcome of the toss yet, we do have a strong suspicion we know who might serve first in this match. Berdych almost always elects to serve when he wins the flip, while Nadal almost always opts to receive.

Crucially, that means that Nadal will always be serving on even numbered games, making a 6-4 considerably more likely than, for instance a 6-3. To win the set 6-3 he’d have to break Berdych in that precise 9th game, where for a 6-4, he can break once at any point in 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th or 9th games. Do that, and hold serve himself, and he reaches the start of game with the ball in his hand, leading 5-4.

Back Nadal to win the 1st Set 6-4 at 9/2 is the advice in this one.

Nadal 6-4 1st Set Score 9/2 Paddy Power LOST


Agnieska Radwanksa v Venus Williams

Radwanska can reap the benefits of a comfortable run to the fourth round when she meets the tougher prospect of Venus Williams on Sunday. Radwanska has won three of her six sets thus far 6-0 and dropped only 9 games in total thus far. Williams has found things slightly harder, losing 22 games, and was given a real scare by Camila Giorgi.

While Venus has the better head to head record (5-4) long term, Radwanska has won the past three meetings between the pair easily, and that spans back to 2011 when arguably she passed Venus in terms of ability. At 8/13 with Paddy Power she represents fair value.

Agnieska Radwanksa Match Winner 8/13 Paddy Power LOST


Nick Kyrgios v Andreas Seppi

Seppi created a massive upset in beating Federer in the 3rd Round, but could drop back to his more usual levels against Kyrgios. He was fortunate to scrape past Denis Istomin in round 1, before dominating Chardy, but his usual form on hard courts is relatively modest.

Kyrgios will of course have the home crown behind him, and his big serve seems to be working well on the fast playing Melbourne courts this week. Beating Ivo Karlovic was a big result for the 19 year old, and he looks set to break into the top 30 this season if his improvement continues, and could well end up within the top 10 before too long.

We think his game matches up well against Seppi - as it did in New York last season where he won 3-0, and the 4/5 on offer about a home win looks decent value in this one.

Nick Kyrgios Match Winner 4/5 BetVictor  WON


Dominika Cibulkova v Alize Cornet

Money is already coming for Cibulkova, and we certainly agree after her thrashing of Pliskova in the last round. It was a complete performance and one which should leave her extremely confident of further progress.

Meeting Cornet in the third round should please her, given she has won all three meetings between the pair - including a hard court match last season in Miami.

On the basis of the stats, Cibulkova looks a reasonable prospect, but we also look to the fact that Cornet struggled past youngster Denisa Allertova in a difficult three sets to see the vulnerability in her opponent. William Hill offer stand-out odds of 4/7.

Dominika Cibulkova Match Winner 4/7 William Hill WON

John Isner v Gilles Muller

In the Mens, our pick of the day is John Isner to come through without conceding a set against Gilles Muller at best odds of 3/1. Over the past two seasons, Isner has an impressive 72% win rate against players ranked 10-50 on hard courts, and arguably a more impressive 50% against top 10 players.

He’s also beaten Muller in all three meetings between the men over the past four years, winning 6 of their 8 sets. At 4/7 he looks too long in the match betting, but the better value might be to take a chance on the 3-0 correct score at a tasty price and trust that his big serve will bring him through comfortably in this one.

It’s worth noting that Isner has one of the strongest tendency towards tie breaks in the mens game, and he is 13/5 with William Hill to win the 1st set 7-6 - that’s happened in 4 of the last 8 sets between the men, and looks a spot of value as well.

John Isner 3-0 Set Betting 3/1 Stan James LOST


Bernard Tomic v Samuel Groth

Away from Federer and Murray, there is no doubt about who the Australian crowd will be hunting out on Friday, and that’s the battle between their two local heroes Tomic and Groth. Only 20 places in the rankings separate the pair, but it’s the younger of the pair who should have the advantage in this one.

Groth beat Krajinovic and Kokkinakis to reach the 3rd round, while Tomic dealt with the tougher pair of Kamke and Kohlschreiber, and we reckon his class should prove far too much for Groth. The latter has lost all 6 of his matches against Top 50 players on hard courts since 2013, while Tomic has a 9-8 winning record on that same index. He also won the only meeting between the pair four years ago, and he should be backed to do so once again. He is 15/8 to win in straight sets, and that looks massive in our eyes.

Bernard Tomic 3-0 Set Betting 15/8 Paddy Power WON

Kevin Anderson v Richard Gasquet

Two players who appear on slightly different paths meet in this one, and we fancy the consistently improving Anderson to prevail at decent odds of 7/4. 2014 was a real breakthrough year for Anderson; his slam WL record for instance had never been better than 4-4 over a calendar year prior to 2013, whereupon he posted a 9-4 record in 2013 and 11-4 in 2014, including reaching the fourth round in Australia. He’s also up to 15th in the world - his highest ever position - and on his favourite surface.

Gasquet on the other hand failed to pass the 3rd round in any of the slams all season and struggled with injury towards the end of the season, including a mauling by Federer in the Davis Cup and a similar thrashing by Berydch as the season opened in Doha this season. Easy wins against Carlos Berlocq and James Duckworth wont have really tested him in the same way Anderson will.

Gasquet has a considerable edge in the head to head between these two, but Anderson looks well poised to address that at decent odds.

Kevin Anderson Match Winner 7/4 BetVictor WON

Ekaterina Makarova v Karolina Pliskova

An enthralling match-up, and one where we think the favourite should justify her status by putting the rapidly improving Pliskova down. Andy Murray was effusive in his praise for Pliskova, marking her out as one to watch this week, but Makarova should have slightly too much for her in our eyes.

Makarova enjoyed a 66% win rate against players ranked 10-50 on hard courts last season, and was 13-16 against top 25 players in the same period. Pliskova on the same ratings was just 50% and 5-14 versus top 25 opponents on the surface. The pair have met once before at the start of 2014, with Makarova winning in straight sets.

So far the Russian has dropped just 10 games in two matches in Melbourne, while her opponent has given up 22. Back Makarova at stand-out odds of 4/5 with William Hill is the advice here.

Ekaterina Makarova To Win Match 4/5 William Hill WON

Carina Witthoeft v Irina Begu

Having backed her in the second round, we’re going to stick with our faith in Witthoeft after another convincing performance in beating Christina McHale; a match which included a bagel set! Add that to her 1st round KO of Carla Saurez Navarro and we’re starting to see the promise from last season translated into the top level.

Witthoeft reached no fewer than seven finals last season, and while they all came in lower grade events, she´s risen towards the top 100 in the world relatively unnoticed - it’s a near certainty that her rise will continue.

Begu is a clay orientated player; indeed she has played just 28% of her career matches on the surface, and won a lesser 24% of her total victories on the surface. Witthoeft is currently 11/10, and attracting money already.

Carina Witthoeft To Win Match 11/10 BetVictor LOST


Feliciano Lopez v Adrian Mannarino

The Spaniard is far more experienced of this pair and looks the better player on all metrics really, so it’s hard to see why some firms are giving themselves splinters in the arse by struggling to split the pair. Lopez has an 8-7 record against players ranked 10-50 on Hard over the past two seasons, compared to Mannarino’s 5-9 - and those records included the only meeting between the pair on the hard courts, which Lopez won in three sets. While Lopez had a bit of an epic first round match, his game is big enough that games were all kept short, and we think that could perhaps be influencing the prices. Getting close to evens on a player who looks far superior has to be the way forward here at 10/11.

Feliciano Lopez To Win Match 10/11 Coral WON

Ivan Dodig v Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori looks horrendously short at 1/16 to win this match, and we’re looking for a way to oppose him which doesn’t place all our eggs in an unlikely upset scenario. Nishikori has a decent enough 14-6 record against players ranked 10-50 on hard courts since 2013, and in fairness, he’s only really lost to decent players in that run, but we think Dodig is capable of keeping him honest, and at odds of 11/10 with Betfred given a 7.5 game head start, he looks wrongly priced.

Dodig possesses a big enough serve to ensure all sets should be pretty tight, and in their four meetings to date, he’s never lost a set by more than 3 games.

Ivan Dodig +7.5 Handicap - Games Won 11/10 Betfred WON


Carina Witthoeft v Christina McHale

A few things line up to make young German Witthoeft look a fair investment at best odds of 17/20. You’ll be forgiven for not having heard of her - this week was her first taste of the big time, but she performed admirally in beating Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3 6-1, and will relish the chance to take on McHale after the American encountered a rather more tiring affair - her match lasting a mammouth 39 games as she finally won the deciding set 12-10 against Stephanie Foretz. McHale retired last week against Alison Riske and her troublesome shoulder won’t have welcomed that epic match.

Knowing how good Witthoeft will eventually become is hard, but she was tremendous in the lower grade tournaments last season and is on the edge of breaking the top 100 despite barely playing a top flight match.

Carina Witthoeft To Win Match 17/20 BetVictor WON

Sara Errani v Silva Solar Espinosa

Errani made light work of Grace Min in the opening round, giving her just the one consolidatory game, and she should be backed to put in a similar performance against Solar Espinosa, who has a shocking record on hard courts against top players.

The Spaniard is predominantly a clay courter and has lost 10 of here 11 matches against players ranked 10-50 on hard courts over the past two seasons, and her record is barely much better when dropping down the class - she was 2-6 over the same time frame against players ranked 50-100. Errani has hardly dominated the game over that period either, but she looked in fine form on Monday, and will be looking forward to a great opportunity now with some seeds already out from her section of the draw. Errani is 11/10 to win 2-0.

Sara Errani 2-0 Set Betting 11/10 Paddy Power WON

Joao Sousa v Martin Klizan

Sousa progressed with ease for our first round bet to win on the Portuguese, and he could be misjudged by the bookies at a bigger price when he tackles Klizan. Hard Courts are not the most comfortable domain of either man, and this could become a bit of a clay style slog, but we have the two considerably closer together than the bookies appear to rate them, and we don’t have this too far from a pick-em match. Klizan is a slightly more accomplished player on the courts, so should perhaps be around 4/6, but 2/5 quotes are surely too short.

Joao Sousa To Win Match 2/1 Coral WON


Donald Young v Tim Puetz

A class mismatch in this encounter sees Donald Young likely to dominate German Tim Puetz. Young is ranked 56th in the world, but his success and comfort on hard courts sees him challenging for a top 30 spot on surface form alone, while the opposite is true for his rival. Puetz is officially 183rd in the world, but 6 hard court tournements last season saw him collect just 26 ranking points (Young by way of comparison played 13 events and banked 522 ranking points!)

Looking at their records against Top 300 players over the past two seasns on the surface, and Puetz has won just 2 of his 11 matches, and just 9 of 27 sets - the majority of these matches coming against players outside the top 100. Conversely, Young has a 35-26 record, despite the majority of his matches being played against Top 100 players. He reached the 3rd round here last season. Take him to win 3-0 at 9/4 or throw him into your accumulators at around 4/9.

Donald Young 3-0 Set Betting 9/4 Coral LOST (he won 3-1)

Flavia Pennetta v Camila Giorgi

Money is already coming for the 12th seed, and we reckon she should be a lot shorter to beat her compatriot. The pair have only met once on hard courts - last year at Indian Wells, were Pennetta prevailed 6-2 6-1, although the other two meetings on quicker surfaces went the way of Giorgi. Pennetta was incredibly consistent on hard courts last season, winning 15 of her 20 matches against players ranked 10-100 - the corresponding record for Giorgi was 4 from 12.

Flavia Pennetta To Win Match 4/6 Coral LOST


Joao Sousa v Jordan Thompson

Sousa found his 2014 season fizzled out rather unspectacularly as he was eliminated from four consecutive tournaments in the first round, and that run continued as he was beaten by Steve Johnson in Auckland last week. Things should be rather easier however when he plays Wild Card Jordan Thompson in Melbourne. The class miss match is considerable, with Sousa ranked 52nd in the world and Thompson a lowly 273rd. This is the second time Thompson gets a crack in the main draw, having won his Wild Card last season as well, and the youngster actually won the first two sets before succumbing to the fitness of Jerzy Janowicz in 2014. Sousa has a decent record against players outside the top 100 on hard courts despite it not being his favoured surface and the 4/7 is simple too long about a player with more experience and talent.

Joao Sousa To Win Match 4/7 Bet365 WON

Ricardas Berankis v Igor Sijsling

Just one place separates these two in the World Rankings, but it is the Lithuanian who will come into this with far greater confidence. Sijsling has struggled considerably against Top 100 players on Hard courts, holding a 3-14 record over the past two years, and he was thrashed 6-1 6-2 by Bernard Tomic in the first round of his warm-up event, and also lost at the same stage in Chennai to Elias Ymer - a man not even inside the top 200. Back Berankis at 4/7 to win this one.

Ricardas Berankis To Win Match 4/7 Ladbrokes WON

Dudi Sela v Jan Lennard Struff

This match-up looks a classic case of the bookmakers over estimating a player on the basis of better rankings, at the expense of really assessing who might be more comfortable on the Melbourne courts. Sela has played 62% of his career matches on hard courts - compared to just 7% from Struff! They have similar records against top 100 players on the surface over the past couple of years, but its worth noting Sela has a 15-5 record when playing players ranked 100-300. This is a confident pick at best odds of 7/4 with Betfred.

Dudi Sela To Win Match 7/4 Betfred WON

Stephanie Foretz v Christina McHale

The higher ranked McHale was forced to retire from her opening round match in Hobart with a shoulder injury just five days ago, and that followed a first round exit in Brisbane just seven days earlier - that´s enough to convince us that we should take a chance on Foretz. The French woman had to come through three qualifying rounds, but that will have given her a feel for the courts in advance, and she has an excellent hard court record against players ranked 100-300 - 13-4 over the past two seasons. She’s 6/5 with Paddy Power, but we predict she´ll be favourite in this one by the time the match gets underway.

Stephanie Foretz To Win Match 6/5 Paddy Power LOST*

Sorana Cirstea v Alexandra Panova

Cirstea hasn’t played yet this season, so she’ll need to get into gear pretty quickly, but Panova made tough work of reaching the main draw and might find Cirstea a bridge too far. The Romanian has an impressive 15-3 record on hard against players ranked 100-300 over the past two seasons and should be a stronger favourite in this one. She can be backed at 5/6 to win the match.

Sorana Cirstea To Win Match 5/6 Paddy Power LOST

*Foretz lost 12-10 in the deciding set, despite winning more points than her opponent in the match (133-128)

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