Australian Open Best Bets - Day 11
It’s a monster day of tennis with the semi-finals taking centre stage on Rod Laver Arena.
(7) Karolina Pliskova vs. (4) Naomi Osaka
There’s more than just an Australian Open Final berth on the line for the winner of the second women’s semi-final, the number one ranking in the world is up for grabs too. Come Monday, women’s tennis will have a new World No. 1 with the winner of the tournament to reach the summit unless it’s the unseeded Danielle Collins in which case 21-year-old and holder of the most recent Grand Slam, Naomi Osaka will achieve the feat. But first, Karolina Pliskova stands in her way after storming back from 5-1 down in the final set and saving four match points in the process against Serena Williams yesterday.
Both women are semi-finalists for the first time in Melbourne with Pliskova leading their head-to-head 2-1, splitting their two meetings in 2018. Conditions are forecast to be extremely hot in Melbourne on Thursday and it may suit the Czech slightly more. That coupled with the fact she will be playing with extreme confidence after her win against Williams may be enough to give her the edge in a genuine flip of the coin match.
Key Stat: Karolina Pliskova has won each of her last 22 Grand Slam main draw matches against younger opponents.
(14) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. (2) Rafael Nadal
Will it be a case of out with the old and in with the new or can the holder of 17 Grand Slams add a second Australian Open to his mantle piece? The 20-year-old Greek didn’t seem to suffer any sort of hangover from his dizzying heights of beating Roger Federer in his quarterfinal two days and will look to repeat that effort when he faces Rafael Nadal under lights on Thursday. Nadal is yet to drop a set this tournament and has spent the least amount of time on court by a fair way, which no doubt has been well received by his body after not playing a competitive match since withdrawing from the US Open semi-final before the Australian Open.
Tsitsipas really stamped himself as a serious talent at last year’s Rogers Cup in Canada where he defeated four top 10 players on route to his first Masters 1000 final before he ran into Nadal and ultimately lost in straight sets. That was their second meeting of the year after Nadal brushed aside the Greek 6-2 6-1 in April. While we certainly don’t expect it to be that comfortable for the Spanish Bull, we do think he can close it out I straight sets and end Tsitsipas’’ fairy tale run and setup a likely showdown with Novak Djokovic in a rematch of the epic 2012 final.
Key Stat: Rafael Nadal has won 32 of his last 34 matches on the ATP Tour.