Having been pushed to the limit by Stanislas Wawrinka and given a thorough examination by Tomas Berdych, there will be nothing that Novak Djokovic will want more than a uneventful route into a third successive Australian Open final.
Luckily for the world number one, his wishes should come true and 8/11 looks more than a respectable price that he brushes aside David Ferrer 3-0 to post a strong message to either Andy Murray or Roger Federer.
Not only has Djokovic won the last two instalments of the Australian Open, he has also faced Ferrer twice at the Grand Slam, claiming straight-set victories on each occasion.
Ferrer may have won five of his 16 meetings with the Serbian, but the worrying thing is that he has lost all 10 showdowns on outdoor hard courts, including nine in straight sets.
His only slight success was at the US Open last year when taking the first set, although gale-force winds have to take the lion’s share of the blame for Djokovic’s struggles rather than Ferrer’s ground strokes until play was abandoned until the following day.
From there, normal service was resumed and despite Ferrer’s reputation for being a bit of a terrier, he folded fairly tamely.
Djokovic may have been kept on court longer than he would have hoped against Wawrinka and Berdych, but Ferrer hardly had it easy in the quarter finals against fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro.
Almagro served for the match on three separate occasions, with Ferrer struggling for his usual consistency and strangely for him, making a high number of unforced errors.
Any repeat of this will see him steamrollered by Djokovic, especially if Ferrer presents anywhere close to the 12 break points that he offered in his quarter final.
If Ferrer’s game is below par again, the 1/1 will look an especially big price that Djokovic prevails even if conceding a handicap of 7.5 games.
Anyone fancying Ferrer to make a Grand Slam final for the first time after four previous semi-final hiccups can back him at 11/2 to beat Djokovic.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date