The only constant about this year’s Australian Open has been the ever-young Roger Federer.
Whether it be journeyman Tennys Sandgren reaching the quarter-finals or the arrival of new stars in Britain’s Kyle Edmund and South Koreas Hyeon Chung, who both reached the semis, it has been a tournament of upsets and surprises.
Even Australia’s resident lunatic Nick Kyrgios looked like he was actually trying in a tournament and was unlucky to lose to Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round.
Incredibly, Federer is now going for his sixth Australian Open title and his 20th Grand Slam. Let’s sit back and soak that in for a minute, as it’s simply inconceivable…
Neither Einstein nor Hawking could write up a theory which could disprove that the Swiss is the greatest player ever to grace a tennis court – and an absolute joy to watch. All credit to Roger, he has realised that no one can beat Dr.Time and, now 36, he has picked and chosen his playing schedule over the past few years.
He bypassed the entire clay court season in 2017 and it paid dividends when he had an absurd year, winning two grand Slams (The Australian Open & Wimbledon), Indian Wells, Miami, Halle, The Swiss indoors and the Shanghai Masters whilst accumulating over $13,000,000 in prize money along the way.
He has been infallible thus far at this year’s Aussie Open, and is yet to drop a set on his way to the final. As an aside, we offered Federer to win without dropping a set at a whopping 25/1 before the tournament – which looks to be superb punt now if you were cute enough to get on it at the time.
We could go into detail on all of Federer’s matches so far but what would be the point? Same result, different day. Six straight set victories in a row to get to the final.
We do reckon however, that we saw the tiniest bead of perspiration forming on Fed’s brow in the first set of his match against Tomas Berdych – but more than likely we just need to go to an optometrist. His semi-final against Chung was a huge disappointment, with Roger’s young opponent retiring in the second set with blisters. Yes, that’s right, blisters!
But taking on Federer in his 30th slam final is the hardy Marin Cilic. The Croat is no slouch and won the US Open in 2014 while also reaching the Wimbledon final last year, where he lost to Federer in straight sets. He has ground his way through this year’s Australian Open taking out Canadian Vasek Pospisil in four sets in the first round.
He then overcame Joao Sousa and Ryan Harrison in straight sets before setting up a thrilling contest with Pablo Carreno-Busta in the Round of 16. That match really could have gone either way with both players having their chances, but Cilic eventually persevered and claimed victory 6-7, 6-3, 7-6, 7-6.
The current world number 1 and one of the all-time greats Rafa Nadal stood in his way in the quarter finals, and the Spaniard started quick and took the first set 6-3. But Cilic rallied and managed to capture the second set before losing out to Rafa in a third set tiebreaker. Things went downhill for Nadal after that when he sustained an injury to his hip flexor muscle, and after dropping the fourth set to Cilic he was forced to retire early in the fifth.
This was a huge disappointment to most nostalgic tennis fans who were hoping for a Nadal vs Federer final – but c’est la vie. Cilic made quick work of the surprise of the tournament, Kyle Edmund, in the semis, romping past the Brit in straight sets to set up his third Grand Slam final appearance.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 26, 2018
So what are the best bets on the final?
Set Betting: R Federer 3-0 – 6/5
Federer has won 8 out of 9 previous meetings between the two, with six of those eight victories in straight sets. We can’t see it being any different this time around and it looks to be the value bet here.
Correct Score First Set: R Federer 7-6 – 10/3
It wouldn’t surprise us though if the Croatian came out firing in the first set and pushed the formidable Federer to a tie breaker. 10/3 for Roger to win the first set 7-6 is a juicy price and certainly has some appeal.