Djokovic a heavy favourite to win title
Big edge for Serb over Tsitsipas on return game
Dan Weston says it's impossible to disagree with market
Djokovic now 27 unbeaten at the Australian Open
After a tricky opening set against Tommy Paul on Friday, Novak Djokovic eased through in straight sets to set up a final meeting with Stefanos Tsitsipas, who required four sets to see off the challenge of Karen Khachanov.
That win over Paul extended Djokovic's unbeaten run to 16 main tour matches, including a 6-4 7-6 win over Tsitsipas indoors at the World Tour Finals in November.
That day, he was priced at around the 1.42/5 mark but is shorter tomorrow at 1.232/9, which makes sense given that it is the best of five set format which generally benefits the favourite in matches.
We actually have to go back to February 2022 to find Djokovic's last defeat on hard court, and he's now 27 unbeaten at the Australian Open following titles in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Djokovic's return game gives him a big edge
Twelve month hard court data shows that Djokovic has an edge on serve, winning 3% more service points, and the Serb's advantage on return is even greater - he has won 7% more return points than the Greek man. This really does show that Djokovic's level on hard court has been dominant over even the better contenders on the ATP tour.
Djokovic's return dominance has continued in this tournament - he's broken opposition almost 45% of the time, 20% higher than Tsitsipas, and unless Djokovic's hamstring injury flares up again, it would be a major shock if he didn't pick up yet another Australian Open title.
Previous meetings give clue on how this will go
The duo have met 12 times in main tour matches, with Djokovic winning 10. In addition, from 2020 onwards, he's won all eight times they've played each other. Considering this, there must be a fair amount of doubt in Tsitsipas' head that he can compete at a high level against currently the best hard courter on tour by some distance.
In those eight losses, the main issue for Tsitsipas is making an impact on the Djokovic serve. He has won less than 30% of return points, and breaking less than 15% of the time, and it seems pretty evident that he will have to markedly improve on return if he is going to test the heavy favourite here.
Even in a final, it would be major shock if the underdog won the trophy here, and it's difficult to disagree with market pricing.