Our pundit Derek Bilton is back with his tennis betting preview for the final week of the Australian Open.
Roger Federer admitted he had “massive regrets” after failing to capitalise on a whole host of opportunities during his shock defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Australian Open.
Surely not as many regrets though as us punters who had backed him to make it a hat-trick of wins in Melbourne at 5/1. Federer’s Oz Open defence came to a stunning end on Sunday after he was upset by the young Greek, who is now 14/1 with 888 Sport to claim what would be a maiden Grand Slam victory.
It was another fantastic display of fearless shotmaking from Tsitsipas, but any kind of “changing of the guard” narrative is surely misplaced while Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are still at large Down Under?
Djokovic can still be backed at 10/11 with Betfair to win a seventh Australian Open, but the 14-time Grand Slam winner faces an intriguing test next in the shape of another Next Gen star in Daniil Medvedev in the last 16.
Nadal has looked sensational at times over the past week so 9/4 quotes about him winning another Australian Open title look interesting.
On the same day his eternal rival Federer featured in his very own Greek tragedy, a rampant Nadal powered into the last eight with a straight sets win over Tomas Berdych.
He will play world No 39 Frances Tiafoe for a place in the semi-finals and the legendary Spaniard now has real claims for an 18th Grand Slam title.
It is the 11th time that Nadal has reached the quarter-finals here, and if his body holds up he’s going to be tough to take down. Tiafoe was moved to tears after his shock win over Grigor Dimitrov, but he’s a whopping 12/1 outsider to beat the Spaniard and the American surely won’t have the tools to halt Nadal’s march.
There have been shocks galore in the women’s event too as world No two and second seed Angelique Kerber was sensationally bundled out by a woman playing the event for the first time, with Danielle Collins humiliating her by posting a 6-0, 6-2 win inside an hour.
Wimbledon winner and 2016 champion Kerber was the bookies’ favourite along with Serena Williams after defending champion Caroline Wozniacki was ousted earlier in the week, but proved no match for an American ranked 35 in the world.
Our original pick Aryna Sabalenka was stunned 6-3, 6-2 by 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova earlier in the week, who looks a young player with a very bright future.
Veteran American Serena also justified her strong odds-on favourite status against Simona Halep when the pair met on Monday, but in terms of the outrights Petra Kvitova might still be flying under the radar somewhat at 9/2.
Kvitova is a two-time Wimbledon champion and the winner of 25 singles titles who looks like she has put a disappointing 2018 behind her with a string of impressive wins already this year.
She arrived in Melbourne fresh from her victory at the previous week’s Sydney International, and has looked in sublime touch so far. A player guilty of putting too much pressure on herself in the past, Kvitova has looked nice and relaxed to this point and if she can keep playing with such freedom she looks a big price now to win the thing from here.
Bilko’s Banker: Rafael Nadal to win the Australian Open at 9/4 (bet365)
Best of the Rest: Petra Kvitova to win the Australian Open at 9/2 (888 Sport)
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