The two women’s semi-finals and the opening last four clash in the men’s draw form the schedule on the latest day of action at the Australian Open on Thursday, as the first Grand Slam of the year continues down in Melbourne.
We saw some brilliant tennis over the course of the two sessions on Wednesday and a huge shock as the world number one Rafael Nadal was beaten by Dominic Thiem. All eyes will be on the Rod Laver Arena to see what lies in store on Thursday.
Ash Barty vs Sofia Kenin
The opening semi-final of the women’s draw sees the local star and world number one Ash Barty taking to the stage again when she meets a Sofia Kenin who will be competing in her first match at this phase of the competition.
Both women came through in straight sets in their quarter final and look primed to lay it down to the other here. The concern would be that Kenin may get a little nervous on this the biggest occasion of her career and there might not be any wiggle room for things like that to get in the way here. If she happens to hit the ground running she could be a contender in this match but Barty leads the head to head between the two 4-1 and that record is likely to hold sway.
Simona Halep vs Garbine Muguruza
The second semi-final sees two Grand Slam winners battling out for a place in Saturday’s final when the Wimbledon champion Simona Halep bids for a second Australian Open final spot when she takes on Garbine Muguruza on the Rod Laver Arena.
We are primed for a cracking contest here between two women are right at the top of the pile when they are both on their game. Halep is one of the best defenders in the world and absolutely battered Anett Kontaveit in the quarter final while Muguruza has overpowered everyone she has come up against, and looks to be getting better with every match she plays here.
Matches between these two tend to be pretty one-sided but I’m not so sure that will be the case here. Both women are playing well, are hitting the ball exceptionally and look to be improving every time they step onto the court. I fancy we’ll see a tight three setter between two of the best in the game here so over 21.5 games looks to be the bet here.
Roger Federer vs Novak Djokovic
The first men’s semi-final sees two of the very best there has ever been going at it when Roger Federer takes on Novak Djokovic for a spot in the final on Sunday against either Dominic Thiem or Sascha Zverev.
These two gladiators are no stranger to each other. They have met on 49 previous occasions, most recently at the o2 in London at the end of last season when a vintage Federer came out on top but perhaps their best battle was the one prior to that which was the Wimbledon final which was truly epic and if this is a quarter as good as that was this will be some match. Djokovic leads 26-23 overall and is a very warm favourite for this match, with Federer having gone to five sets twice in this tournament already.
The hot conditions might have come for Federer at the right time but even then it is hard to see him winning this match. He may well feel he is on a free roll from here on in though so I expect him to competitive at times. Djokovic may well win this one but the 5/4 on over 3.5 sets just looks wrong to me if the conditions are quicker than we’ve seen so far, as they are forecast to be.
WON – Back S.Halep vs G.Muguruza – Over 21.5 games for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with Betway
Back R.Federer vs N.Djokovic – Over 3.5 sets for a 4/10 stake at 2.25 with 888sport