It took until the second round for the first shock of the men’s section of the Australian Open to occur, as fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro crashed out of the tournament.
The Argentine was bested by little-known Spaniard Roberto Bautista-Agut in a five-set slog and will have to wait until next year’s rendition to try and better his best-ever quarter final efforts of 2009 and 2012 in Melbourne.
The news of the long-limbed 25-year-old’s exit will be music to the ears of the top seed, Rafael Nadal, though as it makes his path to a potential second Aussie Open title all the more prickle-free.
Del Potro was set for a quarter final clash with the clay-loving Spaniard and considering he’d beaten Nadal in four of the pair’s last six meetings on hard courts, was set to give him a tough time.
Instead Nadal, who is 1/7 to progress into the fourth round with a victory over Gael Monfils, will have to face an opponent seeded no higher than 11th in the quarter finals.
That’s likely to be Canadian Milos Raonic, who Nadal enjoys total domination over, winning all of their four career clashes.
So, with a now far easier journey to the final to plot, the odds on the world number one to win his second Aussie Open should be snapped up.
That price currently stands at 11/4 and will certainly tumble as the competition progresses. There is still a potential semi final against either Andy Murray or Roger Federer to navigate, with 8/11 favourite for the title, Novak Djokovic, likely to be lying in wait in the final. But by then the kind of value that’s currently on offer for Nadal will no longer exist.
As for Bautista-Agut, his five minutes of fame has seen his odds to win the entire cut to a still fairly vast 300/1, with Bernard Paire his next opponent.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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