Australian Open men’s singles round 3: Federer does battle with Dimitrov
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | January 21, 2016
2016 Australian Open
- Men’s singles round three
- Friday, January 22nd
- Play scheduled to start: 00:00 GMT
- Melbourne Park, Melbourne
- Live on Eurosport 1 and 2
Super Fed faces ‘Baby Fed’
Four-time Australian Open champion Roger Federer’s match-up with 2014 quarter-finalist Grigor Dimitrov – nicknamed ‘Baby Fed’ due to similar style to the Swiss – is undoubtedly the crunch clash of the men’s singles third round on Friday.
However, it is the all-time great who has dominated the Bulgarian young pretender (5/1 match outsider with Coral) in their four meetings, all on hard courts, having dropped just one set (a tie-break) from them.
That occurred in the most recent clash between the duo at the Brisbane International event this year, and Federer is odds-on at 1/8 to triumph once again or a more enticing 5/2 price to do so in four sets.
Djokovic dominant in title defence
Title holder Novak Djokovic (4/7 tournament favourite) should have no troubles at all in his duel with Italian 28th seed Andreas Seppi, having beaten him in all 11 head-to-heads to date.
Their most recent battle came in last year’s US Open at this same stage, where the Serb won 6-3 7-5 7-5, and he is heavily odds-on at 1/100 to come through again, and 1/9 in straight sets.
Seppi, though, has provided the world number one a tough test in the past at a Grand Slam, coming in the French Open fourth round in 2012 as they battled out a five-setter. The Italian is an unlikely 20/1 match shout, or a more possible 5/1 to lose 3-1.
Can Kyrgios be crowned king?
Australia’s controversial starlet Nick Kyrgios perhaps represents the hosting nation’s only decent chance of going all the way this year (40/1 to do so), after putting in some impressive performances in recent months.
The talented but tainted 20-year-old is a brilliant 6/5 to knock out experienced opponent Tomas Berdych (4/6) after coming through earlier battles with Pablo Carreno and Pablo Cuevas with relative ease.
Consistent Czech Berdych, though, has reached the semis here the past two years, and has looked impressive in his opening two matches two, albeit against low-ranked pair Yuki Bhambri and Mirza Basic.
Kyrgios have never met before, but this has the potential to be a fiery fixture, as both are not afraid to show their emotions on the court. Odds of 9/4 say this will go over 4.5 sets.
Big seeds still in top half of draw
The second round top half of the draw saw virtually no shocks at all, and the likes of Gilles Simon, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic look set to avoid upsets once more.
French duo Simon and Tsonga next take on beatable respective pair Federico Delbonis and Pierre-Hugues Herbert, while Japanese star Nishikori tackles Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and 2014 US Open champion Cilic battles Roberto Bautista.
One noticeable potential close clash is between David Goffin and Dominic Thiem, who are seeded just four places apart.
The duo are very familiar with each other, with all six of their meetings coming since 2014. Belgian Goffin has won four of those, but Thiem has claimed the last two, which is why he is the slight 8/13 favourite.
Davis Cup finalist Goffin, though, has slightly more experience, and so is a better 5/4 price to take. Odds of 5/2 also say that this will go the distance.