Tennis Betting Advice - January 2019

Australian Open: Bets of the Day – including Federer…

Thursday 17th January 2019

Australian Open - Bets of the Day

In your Ones to Watch email today:

  • Day Five – play starts at Midnight…
  • Greek Set Scores…
  • 5/1+ for Federer…

Final-set drama…

Two of the four youngsters I put up in the Women’s 2nd Round gave us a good run for our money last night, but ultimately came up short.

Bianca Vanessa Andreescu led by a break at the start of the final set v Anastasija Sevastova, but the 18-year-old looked to be suffering from fatigue as the set wore on – and the wily Latvian fought back to edge her out.

We almost got the big upset win from Sofia Kenin against World No.1 Simona Halep. The free-hitting young American was 4-2 up in the final set – but again couldn’t quite get over the line.

Our underdog match picks have been more miss than hit so far. But we haven’t been far off – and it’s early days yet. I won’t be changing my tactics anytime soon. The bigger prices offer the biggest rewards…

On the Outright Winner front, all of our outsider picks are successfully through the opening two rounds. The 3rd Round begins tonight and there are some exciting matches in prospect including our 28/1 pick Karen Khachanov against Roberto Bautista-Agut, 12/1 Aryna Sabalenka taking on 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova and yesterday’s 100/1 pick Aliaksandra Sasnovich v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Elsewhere on the Day Five schedule there are some box office matches to enjoy with plenty of big names on show. Maria Sharapova v Caroline Wozniacki is a meeting of tennis superstars. Marin Cilic v Fernando Verdasco could be a rollercoaster. And the headline match is 19-year-old Australian Men’s No.1 Alex De Minaur taking on Rafael Nadal.

Sort the schedule out…

By the time Johanna Konta and Garbine Muguruza got on court for their 2nd Round match on Thursday, it was gone Midnight. After a three-set battle, Muguruza prevailed with the clock ticking to just past 3am, Melbourne time.

Grand Slam organisers have recently taken steps to avoid any more final-set ‘marathons.’ Wimbledon have announced a 12-games-all final-set tiebreak rule as of this year. The Australian Open now reverts to a first-to-10-points tiebreak at 6-6 in a final set. However, the issue is far from sorted as all four Grand Slams now have a different rule for those scenarios. The US Open play to a normal first-to-7-points tiebreak. At the French Open, it’s still no-tiebreak in the final set and you play until someone breaks serve to win by two games.

The next matter for attention for the Major powers-that-be looks likely to be the scheduling. The US Open have already reduced the number of matches in their night sessions, thus reducing the possibility of post-Midnight starts. After a couple of late ones already this week, the Aussie Open will probably need to follow suit soon. It’s not good for the players – or the fans. Only a few spectators were left in the stadium for Konta v Muguruza. That can’t be right when you’re last up on a big-ticket bill.

Back to the betting…

Australia v Greece…

One player who won’t have to worry about the scheduling is Ashleigh Barty. Australia’s No.1 Women’s player is first up on the Rod Laver show-court, 11am local time (Midnight UK).

Barty takes on one of the two Greek youngsters on our Ones to Watch in 2019 list, Maria Sakkari.

In the last round the tournament schedulers had Sakkari and her compatriot Stefanos Tsitsipas playing back-to-back on the same court, which was perfect for the buoyant army of Greek supporters following these two in Melbourne. We haven’t seen scenes like these here since Cypriot star Marcos Baghdatis used to roll into town.

However, the Day Five schedule is ruthless with Sakkari and Tsitsipas both on at the same time – and those flag-wearing Greek fans can’t be in two places at once.

As for the matches themselves, I fancy a couple of Set Betting scores...

Barty is the 1/4 (1.25) match favourite but Sakkari has beaten her before (the head-to-head is 1-1). This will be a hard-fought match and the steadier Barty is my pick to prevail in three sets. Sakkari swings from the hip but I’m backing the Australian to find a way to subdue her in the end. Odds of 3/1+ (4.00+) for Barty to win 2-1 give an appealing price on the Aussie tonight.

Tsitsipas takes on the much-improved Georgian, Nikoloz Basilashvili. In the rankings this is No.15 v No.20, and it’s their first meeting. Both men have dropped sets in both matches here so far, the Greek youngster winning 3-1 twice and Basilashvili coming through 3-1 and 3-2. This is a step up in level of opponent for both players, and could be a real tussle. Tsitsipas is the 4/11 (1.36) favourite. Odds of 11/2 (6.50) catch the eye for this to go the distance with our Greek One to Watch coming through 3-2.

Fritz v Federer…

Last but not least we have reigning two-time Aussie Open champion Roger Federer taking on another much improved player (and one from our Ones to Watch list in 2017), Taylor Fritz. They’ve met once before with Fritz taking a set off Roger in a 2-1 defeat on grass in 2016.

Fritz’s game is starting to remind me of Milos Raonic – a big serve, clean shots and a calm & focused demeanour. The American is 10/1 (11.00) to cause the big upset here. That looks a step too far, but he can certainly hold his own on the scoreboard…

Fritz has played 17 sets of tennis so far in 2019 and nine of them have been settled by a tiebreak. The 7-6 score crops up in a fair few Federer matches too, including a solid test in the last round against Dan Evans, where Federer edged the Brit out 7-6, 7-6, 6-3. We could see a similar pattern in this one.

Roger is just 1/16 (1.06) to win, and also odds-on at 8/15 (1.53) to win in straight sets, 3-0. The market for me is the 1st Set Score where we can back Federer 7-6 at 11/2 (6.50) or 5/1 (6.00). You might also want to look out for that score for further sets in the match, or in-play, especially if both are serving well.

Today’s Ones to Watch picks are:

Ashleigh Barty v Maria Sakkari:

BET: Set Betting – Barty to win 2-1 @ 17/5
BOOKIES: 17/5 (4.40) Marathonbet, 16/5 (4.20) William Hill, 3/1 (4.00) Bet365, Skybet, BetVictor, Boylesports, Betway, 888 Sport, Unibet

Latest odds here >>

Stefanos Tsitsipas v Nikoloz Basilashvili:

BET: Set Betting – Tsitsipas to win 3-2 @ 11/2
BOOKIES: 11/2 (6.50) Bet365, William Hill, BetVictor, 5/1 (6.00) general

Latest odds here >>

Taylor Fritz v Roger Federer:

BET: 1st Set Score – Federer 7-6 @ 11/2
BOOKIES: 11/2 (6.50) Coral, Ladbrokes, 5/1 (6.00) Skybet, Boylesports, Betway

Latest odds here >>

Play starts from Midnight.

I’ll be back by 9pm tomorrow with your Bets of the Day email for Day Six.

Enjoy the tennis…

Best wishes,

Oliver Upstone

Tom Wilson

Ones to Watch