Two men are appearing in their first ever Grand Slam semi-finals this week. Their two opponents, it’s safe to say, are slightly more experienced at the end of Grand Slam fortnights.
The number one and two seeds have made it to where they are meant to, though only one other top 13 player appeared in the last eight. It’s a case of two all-time greats against two of the sport’s up and coming younger players in Melbourne this week.
888Ssport's tennis betting odds makes for interesting viewing ahead of the Australian Open 2019 semi-finals. It’s no surprise to see the two greats as favourites, but there’s still value to be found.
Stefanos Tsitipas vs Rafael Nadal (Thursday, 8:30am)
Stefanos Tsitsipas was the world number one junior. He is still just 20-years-old but has come of age on his run to the semi-finals.
Making the fourth round at Wimbledon last year was his best Grand Slam performance until he beat his idol Roger Federer at the same stage in Melbourne.
The Greek youngster followed that historic victory with a four-set win against Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarters. He has all the tools to become the world’s best, including a rare one-handed backhand, which is a treat for the purists.
Rafael Nadal has barely been challenged up to this point. The Spaniard has not dropped a set and beat surprise package Frances Tiafoe in the last eight.
Tiafoe had seen off Grigor Dimitrov and Kevin Anderson, but was unable to compete with Nadal, who lost just nine games in the match.
It’s 10 years since Nadal won this tournament. He has lost three finals since then, though, including the 2017 epic against Federer.
Nadal is 2/13 favourite in Australian Open odds to make another final. He has won all four of his meetings with Tsitsipas and many will be backing him to make that record 5-0.
There was some uncertainty around Nadal’s game coming into the tournament, having not played since the US Open because of a foot injury. He has been improving with every match, however, and has not been broken since the first round.
Tsitsipas is still young and his time will come. He is already looking like one of the world’s best, but this might just be a step too far.
TIP: Tsitspias 1-3 Nadal (Priced at 5/2 with 888sport)
Lucas Pouille vs Novak Djokovic (Friday, 8:30am)
Lucas Pouille has, as you might expect for the 28 seed, not had the easiest run. The Frenchman won just one of his matches in straight sets and was taken to five by home favourite wildcard Alexei Popyrin in the third round.
Pouille saw off the big-serving Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals to book a clash with the world number one. He bounced back from 5-2 in the first set to win it in a tie-break.
A poor start to the year makes this run a surprise despite his talent, which has seen him reach quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open in the past.
Novak Djokovic will be well-rested coming into this match, thanks to Kei Nishikori’s retirement in the quarters on Wednesday.
The Serbian is on course to make his third consecutive Grand Slam final, having won Wimbledon and the US Open last year. He has not been quite at his best so far in Melbourne, but he’s still the 1/14 favourite in 888sport tennis odds to win this one.
The pair have never played each other before. That’s perhaps a positive for Pouille, as it means he, unlike so many others, does not have the scars of defeat against Djokovic. It’s a question of energy for Pouille after such a gruelling run thus far.
Pouille’s only option is to be ultra-aggressive, though even that is unlikely to be enough against Djokovic.
His chances are further diminished by Djokovic’s quarter-final match being cut short, particularly considering the gruelling run he has had to get this far.
Djokovic is good value to cruise to his sixth Australian Open final.
TIP: Pouille 0-3 Djokovic
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*