The bookies didn’t have much love for Roger Federer when the markets opened on the 2017 Australian Open men’s singles title. To make the final he would most likely need to top Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka. And if he could win through all those matches, Novak Djokovic would await in the final. Good luck Roger. Suddenly, Novak’s gone, Federer has dismantled Berdych and he’s been slashed from $21 to $13 to go all the way. What was supposed to be the real test of Federer’s first official tournament since last year’s Wimbledon and his recovery from knee surgery more closely resembled a walkover. The world No.10 Berdych was completely wiped off the court by a vintage Federer display, Roger winning 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 in 90 minutes. Berdych found himself laughing at some of Federer’s groundstrokes as they sailed past. Federer was two sets up inside the hour mark without facing a break point on his dominant serve. He wouldn’t all night, winning 39 of 41 points when his first serve landed.
Will Denis menace Spanish opponent?
On the other side of the men’s draw, Rafael Nadal has looked solid in his return to Grand Slam play, but rising German Alexander Zverev will offer a stern examination of his progress in the final game of the day session. Grigor Dimitrov and Richard Gasquet are scheduled to meet tonight with other action featuring Gael Monfils and Philipp Kohlschreiber while eighth seed Dominic Thiem takes on Frenchman Benoit Paire. The match that really catches the eye today is the battle of Denis Istomin and Spain’s Pablo Carreno-Busta. Backing up from a career-defining victory, as was the case with Istomin’s upset of no. 2 seed Novak Djokovic, is generally a tough ask in Grand Slam tennis. Remember that Istomin needed four hours and 48 minutes to dispatch Djokovic. Lower ranked players have a lousy record backing up after a long five-setter, and there is little reason to expect that Istomin won’t struggle today. Take the Spaniard at the handicap (4.5 games) at $1.73 on Sportsbet. We’ll also be taking the Canadian Milos Raonic to claim victory in straight sets over Gilles Simon – it’s available at $2.10 with bet365.
Aussie ‘Dasha’ to again prevail
Serena Williams will continue her charge for a record-breaking 23 Grand Slam titles when she takes on Nicole Gibbs on Day 6 of Australian Open 27. Williams’ clash with compatriot Gibbs is the second match at Rod Laver Arena with sixth seed Dominika Cibulkova opening the day session against 30th seed Ekaterina Makarova. Aussie hope Daria Gavrilova is first up at night against Timea Bacsinszky, Barbora Strycova will take on Caroline Garcia, former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki faces ninth seed Johanna Konta, with Karolina Pliskova and Jelena Ostapenko in action tonight. Some reporter was silly enough to accuse Williams of a scrappy performance in her previous outing (and was duly delivered short shrift). Serena may flex a little muscle today, and it’s worth a play at the handicap (-6.5 games at $1.83 on Luxbet). The final Aussie in either singles’ draw is the Russian-born 22-year-old Gavrilova. She’s a scrapper and a fighter in the Lleyton Hewitt mould so had quickly become a fan favourite. She’s beaten Bacsinszky in both of their prior meetings, including their most recent in Beijing. Take ‘Dasha’ at $3.75 to win in three sets with William Hill.