Thursday's ATP action sees Roger Federer take on Stan Wawrinka in the first semi-final, and our Tennis columnist Dan Weston is keen on the veteran to reach the final...
"I've written before about how head-to-head records are often over-rated by bettors, but when it is as clear-cut as 18-3 in Federer's favour, with five wins from the last six, it cannot be ignored."
Nadal an easy winner on Wednesday
Our recommendation on Wednesday saw Rafa Nadal get us a winner with a straight-sets victory over a lacklustre Milos Raonic, and the Spaniard has now shortened into the 2.707/4 market favourite for Australian Open glory.
Nadal will have to get past Grigor Dimitrov on Friday to make the final, and his opponent will come from Thursday's all-Swiss semi-final between Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka.
Federer improving throughout the tournament
Despite coming into the tournament with doubts over his fitness following a long injury lay-off, the veteran, Federer, has made serene progress through the event and his last three wins, against Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori and Mischa Zverev, were impressive.
Federer is currently available as a 1.705/7 favourite to overcome his compatriot to make the final, and my model made this price huge value, pricing arguably the greatest player of all time at a much shorter 1.412/5.
Swiss legend boasts a large statistical edge
There were two main reasons for this model pricing - firstly, it is clear from the hold/break stats that Federer is still a much better hard court player. He has held serve 89.7% on the surface in the last 12 months, breaking opponents 31.2% (combined 120.9%), with Wawrinka's numbers much lower at 85.5% and 24.2% respectively (109.7%).
The second reason why Federer was rated by my model was the extremely dominant head-to-head lead that he enjoys over Wawrinka. I've written before about how head-to-head records are often over-rated by bettors, but when it is as clear-cut as 18-3 in Federer's favour, with five wins from the last six, it cannot be ignored.
I made the point in tomorrow's WTA preview that the courts are statistically medium-fast at best, as opposed to the popular view that they are extremely quick, but even if the majority of commentators and social media were actually correct, this would play into Federer's hands even more, with him enjoying a magnificent record in quick conditions.
Wawrinka, on the other hand, has an awful record when conditions are fast, compared to his overall record - he has far from thrived on grass, or indoor hard in general, or at altitude in his home country in Gstaad on clay.
All told, there is very little statistically or subjectively to deter favouring Federer, and he looks clear value to progress to the final on Sunday, and set-up a potential legends clash with Rafael Nadal.
Back Roger Federer to beat Stan Wawrinka at 1.705/7
Follow Dan on Twitter @TennisRatings
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