Tennis fans, the 2018 Australian Open FINAL is here. 888sport punters will be keeping a close eye on the latest betting markets ahead of the first Grand Slam showpiece event of the calendar year.
Kyle Edmund's Australian Open dream has come to an end. The British star was living the dream but fell short against Marin Cilic in the semi-final. Cilic will now face the legendary Roger Federer in the final.
The Swiss has won 19 Grand Slam events and a 20th beckons if he is at his brilliant best.
Meanwhile, the women's final is also confirmed. World number one Simona Halep, fresh from her victory over the well fancied Angelique Kerber, will take on world number two Caroline Wozniacki.
It is sure to be an intriguing encounter and one that could live long in the memory if both women play to their potential.
For those concerned, the latest odds and betting markets for both finals are available via this link…
Marin Cilic vs Roger Federer
Cilic will be quietly confident of snatching an upset win at Rod Laver Arena on Sunday morning. The big Croatian is chasing a second Grand Slam title after winning the US Open back in 2014 and he will be tough to beat if he finds his best form.
His big serve could give Federer trouble if the Swiss takes his foot off the gas.
But Federer has been here before - many times. At 36 years old, he is still doing incredible things on the tennis court and it would take a brave man to back against him.
The 13/5 available for a 3-1 triumph in favour of Federer is a decent price and plenty of punters will be expecting a 20th Grand Slam success for the greatest tennis player of all-time.
TIP: Over 3.5 sets @ 7/10
CORRECT SCORE: Roger Federer to win 3-1 @ 13/5
Simona Halep vs Caroline Wozniacki
Halep found it tough at times against Angelique Kerber but just about edged it, taking the final set 9-7. Could this FINALLY be her time to win a Grand Slam title?
Both players were letting the nerves creep in by the end but Halep was the more assured and she deserves her spot in the final.
Meanwhile, Wozniacki showed her class with a polished performance against Elise Mertens. If she emulates that effort, she will take some stopping in this contest.
It is difficult to split both players on current form but Halep might edge it. That victory over Kerber could give her the incentive to push on and end her major drought.
TIP: Simona Halep to win @ 7/10
CORRECT SCORE: Simona Halep to win 2-0 @ 7/4
Marin Cilic was supreme against Kyle Edmund, defeating the young British star in straight sets. The Croatian was a class above on the day and deserved the win.
Meanwhile, Roger Federer is through to yet another final after Hyeon Chung was forced to retire through injury; although Federer was on the verge of going two sets up at the time.
In the women's event, Elise Mertens is out. She came up short against Caroline Wozniacki in her semi-final whilst Angelique Kerber, previously tipped to win the competition, also crashed out against world number one Simona Halep.
The Romanian was ruthless in that encounter and will be expected to win the women's event on Saturday morning.
News flash: Rafael Nadal is OUT. The Spaniard had to retire midway through his quarter final with Marin Cilic and the 2014 US Open champion will face Kyle Edmund in the next round.
Meanwhile, Hyeon Chung continues his rise to prominence and will take on Roger Federer in the second semi-final. The Swiss star is well fancied to win the competition but will need to be at his brilliant best to lift the Australian Open title for the sixth time.
Elina Svitolina was well beaten by youngster Elise Mertens and the Belgian, now 7/1 to win the competition, has yet to drop a single set. She will now face world number two Caroline Wozniacki in the final four; it could be an exciting affair.
In the other contest, Simona Halep will need to get past Angelique Kerber and the winner of that encounter could go on to lift the Australian Open crown. Predicting the victor is still very difficult indeed…
Tomas Berdych saved his best performance for round four as he cruised past Fabio Fognini in straight sets to set up a tie with Roger Federer. Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal also booked his spot in the last eight but Novak Djokovic is OUT of the tournament.
The Serbian was beaten in straight sets by South Korean youngster Hyeon Chung and he will now play Dominic Thiem’s conqueror Tennys Sandgren in the next round. It is still almost impossible to predict a winner…
As mentioned above, Simona Halep cruised through to the next round with a straight sets win against Naomi Osaka whilst young American Madison Keys secured a 2-0 victory of her own against Carolina Garcia.
Quite a few of the top seeds are still involved as we enter the closing stages of the tournament – Caroline Wozniacki, Elina Svitolina and Karolina Pliskova are all in contention to go on and lift the trophy.
As expected, Federer romped to a third successive straight sets victory – one of our top tips for round three at 4/6. Fourth seed Alexander Zverev came up short in his clash with South Korean Hyeon Chung after a five set thriller and the young Asian will be quietly confident of going far in the tournament.
Meanwhile, Kyle Edmund is flying the flag for Great Britain but a tough contest with world number three Grigor Dimitrov awaits in the quarter-finals.
In the women’s event, Angelique Kerber thrashed Maria Sharapova in round three and the German will take some stopping in her pursuit of glory.
Simona Halep survived a major scare in her round three match with Lauren Davis, eventually defeating the American 15-13 in the deciding set. Most of the top seeds are still in contention as we approach the business end of the tournament.
Again, no major shocks in the men’s draw with Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Dimitrov all reaching the third round – although the latter needed to muster all of his strength to win the deciding set against Mackenzie McDonald.
The well-fancied Alexander Zverev was a class above for most of his second round encounter too, cruising through in four sets. It is shaping up to be a very exciting tournament.
Our top tip in round two came in the women’s draw, with Lauren Davis beating round two opponent Andrea Petkovic in three sets. The over 2.5 line was priced at 31/20 in 888sport’s tennis betting markets; a solid price as a single or in an accumulator.
Maria Sharapova and Madison Keys will both feature in round three whilst number six seed Karolina Pliskova sent out a statement, thrashing Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-1 6-1 in her clash.
As expected, almost all of the top seeds in the men’s tournament advanced to the second round of the competition. Novak Djokovic dropped just seven games in his whitewash victory over Dustin Brown whilst Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Grigor Dimitrov also cruised into the next round.
All four men will be quietly confident of lifting the Australian Open crown at the business end of the competition.
Over in the women’s competition, Elina Svitolina and Carolina Wozniacki both secured huge wins in their respective fixtures. However, fifth seed Venus Williams – a two time finalist at this event – crashed out of the tournament in dramatic style, losing to youngster Belinda Bencic in straight sets.
Meanwhile, 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens also suffered a shock first round defeat and it could be another unpredictable tournament for the women.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*