ATP Australian Open Day 5: Federer can advance with a win over Berdych

Roger Federer has the head to head edge on Tomas Berdych...
Roger Federer has the head to head edge on Tomas Berdych...

In the wake of Novak Djokovic's shock exit from the Australian Open, our Tennis columnist Dan Weston checks out which players can benefit from the Serb's elimination and make it through to the last 16 this evening...

"Federer has won his last five matches against the world number 10, Berdych, and has only dropped one set in those wins."

The Tennis world - and myself included - is reeling from Denis Istomin's shock win over Novak Djokovic this morning.

Quite incredibly, Istomin saved four match points on return to beat Prajnesh Gunneswaran in the Asian wild-card semi-final in December - if he had lost that match he wouldn't have even faced Djokovic today.

The Betfair market, quite predictably for a shock of this magnitude, was volatile, with Djokovic trading for around £146,000 at 1.011/100, and Istomin matched at 100.0099/1.

In addition to this, the outright markets have been transformed, with Andy Murray now the 2.001/1 favourite for the title, and the Scotsman is now 18/1 with the Sportsbook to win all four singles Grand Slam titles this year (in from 33/1). Betfair will also quote 1/3 on Murray to be year-end number one.

Friday's action at Melbourne Park sees eight matches in the men's event, with there being three justifiable heavy favourites - Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori and Stan Wawrinka - and five competitive-looking clashes.

It is in one of these competitive-looking clashes that I find my bet for the day, with Tomas Berdych facing Roger Federer in the match of the day, starting at around 9:30am UK time.

At the time of writing, the Swiss legend, Federer is trading as a 1.674/6 favourite on the Exchange, and my model makes this price value, pricing him up at a shorter 1.412/5.

Federer being solid value for this match is not entirely a surprise, with my model not rating Berdych given his mediocre and declining return numbers - the Czech player has broken opponents just 21.1% in the last 12 months.

There is a concern over the rustiness of Federer, who has held 88.5% on hard courts in the last 12 months, breaking opponents 30.3% of the time (118.8% combined), but it's worth noting that his two matches so far in this event have yielded very similar statistics (88.6% and 28.6% respectively).

However, it's also worth noting that Federer has won his last five matches against the world number 10, Berdych, and has only dropped one set in those wins, so Berdych will have to overcome a fair few mental demons to take this.

Furthermore, Berdych's record as an underdog is poor - he is just 6-16 in Grand Slam matches when an underdog, and this record yields a negative return on investment as well.

With model value and history on the side of Federer tomorrow, he looks a solid choice to take this.


Recommended Bets
Back Roger Federer to beat Tomas Berdych at 1.674/6

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