After a drama-filled Friday, third round action continues at the Australian Open. Returning to discuss the upcoming men's singles schedule is our tennis columnist, Dan Weston...
"Djokovic faces Milos Raonic on Sunday but has admitted to having a tear in a side injury and that he may not even be fit to take on the Canadian."
Djokovic injury doubts push him to third favourite
The outright market has turned on its head with Novak Djokovic's 3-2 win over Taylor Fritz - and more specifically, the nature of it and the impact on the remainder of the tournament - spooking the outright market and pushing the world number one out from around 2.305/4 pre-match to a current 6.411/2.
Djokovic faces Milos Raonic on Sunday but has admitted to having a tear in a side injury and that he may not even be fit to take on the Canadian. Daniil Medvedev, at 4.03/1, has taken tournament favourite status, while Dominic Thiem is now into 4.94/1 after a rollercoaster 3-2 victory over Nick Kyrgios. Thiem had to come back from 2-0 down to win, and I'm surprised that the market has cut him as short as this. Yes, he has the benefit of a potential Djokovic-free run to the final, but Medvedev even in the other half of the draw now is arguably the most proven player in the field and potentially faces a much easier final than if he had to face a fully-fit Djokovic.
Berrettini has edge on Khachanov
As with yesterday, there isn't much pre-match value on the schedule on a day where pre-match favourites are expected to dominate. Four favourites are sub 1.101/10 and all look very likely to win against markedly worse opposition, even if a couple look a few ticks short.
There are only two matches where the favourites are priced in excess of 1.501/2. In arguably the match of the day, ninth seed Matteo Berrettini is 1.548/15 to get the better of Karen Khachanov and, again, the price looks about right. Since the tour resumed last summer, Berrettini has won almost 7% more service points than the Russian, and only has a marginal deficit on return. He's actually got pretty nice improving data (around 109% combined service/return points won) during this time period and he is justifably favourite to defeat Khachanov tomorrow.
Harris justified favourite over McDonald
The other close-looking match features more lower-profile players. Lloyd Harris is 1.794/5 to progress to round four at the expense of Mackenzie McDonald and this would be Harris' first Grand Slam fourth round spot if he does win. McDonald has made that stage once before, where he lost in four sets to Milos Raonic at Wimbledon in 2018.
As with Berrettini, Harris has a bit of a data edge and he looks about right as a slight favourite here. McDonald is still trying to recover his ranking after long-term injury (he's just inside the top 200 before this tournament) and a further win here would be a big boost to help him get back towards the top 100.
De Minaur and Ruud also solid favourites
In other matches, I'm unconvinced Fabio Fognini will be able to peak for long enough over the best of five sets to get the better of Alex De Minaur, while Casper Ruud starts as a solid favourite over Radu Albot, who has underwhelmed during the last 12-18 months. Again, the prices in these look about right on a day where the market hasn't made any hugely noticeable mistakes.
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