Australian Open Men's Day Nine Tips: Djokovic price related to fitness concerns

Serbian Tennis Player Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic still has fitness concerns ahead of his quarter-final...

Dan Weston previews two fascinating men's quarter-finals at the Australian Open on Tuesday, including Novak Djokovic v Alexander Zverev...

"If you think Djokovic is in reasonable physical shape, the current price looks some value - he has quite a sizeable ability differential based on hard court numbers over Zverev"

Favourites progress without dropping sets

We now know the four men's quarter-finals after wins for the three strong favourites on Monday. Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Rafa Nadal all progressed without dropping a set. Stefanos Tsitsipas also went through without dropping a set, albeit via Matteo Berrettini's pre-match withdrawal.

These four players take to the courts on Wednesday but before they play their next matches, we have the first two men's singles quarter-finals on Tuesday.

Karatsev with an underdogs chance to continue journey

First up tomorrow, not before 4am UK time, is Grigor Dimitrov against the tournament sensation Aslan Karatsev. The Bulgarian, Dimitrov, is the 1.4640/85 favourite after eliminating Dominic Thiem on Sunday and again, as I mentioned prior to Karatsev's fourth round match versus Diego Schwartzman, if you saw this price before the season start you'd have assumed it was a market mistake.

This is a mark of the improvement of the qualifier, Karatsev, who shocked Felix Auger-Aliassime on Sunday coming from two sets down to win 3-2, and actually, my numbers make the price to be about right which is a real indicator of how stunning Karatsev's level has been so far in the tournament.

Having said this, Dimitrov has also surpassed expectations here to get to this stage - he's not dropped a set so far against opponents such as Marin Cilic, Pablo Carreno-Busta and Dominic Thiem - and he looks a justified favourite to progress, although Karatsev certainly has an underdog's chance to continue his amazing journey here so far.

Fitness views dictate Djokovic price

The night match - at local time - features Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev, and this is a tricky one to call given the injury issues which beset Djokovic against Taylor Fritz in round three on Friday. Djokovic is the 1.538/15 market favourite, at the time of writing.

After beating Milos Raonic in four sets on Sunday, Djokovic is back to being market favourite although the current 3.3512/5 on him to win the event is bigger than his tournament starting price which was around the 2.305/4 mark.

Having said that, he settled at around as 7.06/1 third-favourite prior to that Raonic match and has even traded as high as 27.026/1 during the event. So the market appears reassured to some extent about those injury concerns.

Any view about this match and whether there's value in the market prices ultimately depends on how badly you think Djokovic is injured. Without the benefit of medical reports, we are just guessing - particularly as he got past Raonic with less drama than many anticipated.

If you think Djokovic is in reasonable physical shape, the current price looks some value - he has quite a sizeable ability differential based on hard court numbers over Zverev - and for their match at the ATP Cup several weeks ago the world number one was priced just below 1.3030/100. That was also similar to his price against the German at the ATP Finals in November 2020 as well.

The problem is, we don't really know whether this is the case. I'm reluctant to commit to a strong view on this match and probably the best course of action is to keep an eye on proceedings in-play and go from there.


Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings

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