Australian Open: Three best bets for Friday’s action in Melbourne
The surprises are coming thick and fast Down Under, with Novak Djokovic the headline Second Round exit.
But while the world number two heads home, it’s Third Round time in Melbourne.
With Djoko’s exit, and Simona Halep and Agnieszka Radwanska similarly early casualties in Oz, both draws have become wide open.
So ahead of Friday’s action, we’ve had a look at three particularly attractive angles worth considering…
Eugenie Bouchard to beat Coco Vanderweghe 2-0 @ 11/8
Could we see the full return of Eugenie Bouchard in 2017?
On current form we might just. The Canadian has endured numerous battles since reaching the Wimbledon final in 2014, including a serious head injury after a slip at the US Open.
But a run to the last four in Sydney hinted that the 23-year-old is returning to that 2014 prowess.
Bouchard faces American Coco Vandeweghe, and beat the 25-year-old in straight sets in the previous meeting.
With Vandweghe losing six of seven matches leading up to Melbourne – and only just edging past world number 73 Pauline Parmentier last time out – Bouchard’s comeback should continue here.
And with an out-of-form Angelique Kerber likely awaiting in the fourth round, there’s a real chance Montreal-native will fancy her chances of a quater-final spot.
Roger Federer v Tomas Berdych to go five sets @ 5/2
It will pain millions of fans to see Roger Federer heading towards retirement, but the Swiss Maestro isn’t done yet.
The 35-year-old was pushed hard by qualifiers Jurgen Melzer and Noah Rubin though, when at his pomp, the Fed-Express would have stormed past both opponents.
Now up against Tomas Berdych, R-Fed faces a much sterner test. The Czech ace turns 32 himself later this year, and is 6-16 behind in the H2H.
Given Federer’s extended absence in the autumn, this should be a finely balanced encounter, which could easily go all the way.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to beat Jack Sock 3-1 @ 16/5
Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and American Jack Sock have met once in each of 2015 and 2016, and in each of those clashes the up-and-coming Yank grabbed a set off the 2008 Melbourne finalist.
And ahead of this Third Round tie, it’s Sock who has yet to drop a set.
Nevertheless, Tsonga’s class should win out, but it won’t come without a fright from his 24-year-old opponent.
With Bernard Tomic or Dan Evans to face in Round Four, there’s a real chance here for the victor to make the last eight.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing