Aussie Open: Can Taylor Fritz defy odds against Novak Djokovic?

League: Tennis

Posted on: 22 Jan, 2024 at 05:18 PM

Credit: Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports

Taylor Fritz has already reached milestone by advancing to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the first time.

However, the 26-year-old reaching a first Grand Slam semifinals will require an extraordinary feat.

Fritz is the highest remaining seed at No. 12, and will face No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic at 10:30 p.m. ET on Monday night. Of Djokovic's all-time record 24 career Grand Slam titles, an astounding 10 of them have come in Melbourne.

That's despite Djokovic missing the 2022 Australian Open due to his opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine. He returned to win the title last year. Djokovic, 36, has won the past four times he has been entered in the tournament.

Fritz is coming off his first win in 12 attempts against top 10 players in Grand Slam events with a four-set victory over No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The Serbian is the -900 favorite at BetMGM to end Fritz's run, and Djokovic is the +105 favorite to win his 11th Australian Open title. That's down slightly from opening the tournament at +110, as Djokovic leads the field with 30.8 percent of the bets and 55.5 percent of the money backing him to win.

That makes Djokovic the book's biggest liability despite his short odds. Next is Spain's Carlos Alcaraz, whose odds of winning the men's title have shifted from +400 to +250 while dropping only one set through his first four matches.

Alcaraz is a -550 favorite to take care of No. 6 seed Alexander Zverev (+375) in the quarterfinals.

"I enjoy playing here and showing my best level," Alcaraz said after defeating Miomir Kecmanovic in straight sets Monday. "It feels like home, which is always great, so I hope to keep feeling better and better every day."

The winner of that match will face either No. 3 Daniil Medvedev or No. 9 Hubert Hurkacz in the semifinals. Medvedev, who needed four sets to get past unseeded Nuno Borges on Monday, is the -250 favorite ahead of his semifinal match.

Medvedev has a chance of reclaiming the No. 1 ranking in the world if he wins the title and Djokovic and Alcaraz fail to reach the semis.

The fourth quarterfinal will pit No. 4 seed Jannik Sinner against No. 5 Andrey Rublev. Sinner has yet to be taken so much as a tiebreaker in posting four straight-sets victories thus far.

Sinner, 22, is in the quarters of the Australian Open for the second time and is seeking his second career Grand Slam semifinal after reaching the final four of last year's Wimbeldon. He is a heavy -450 favorite at BetMGM to beat Rublev (+325).

Sinner also has the third-shortest odds at +350 to win the men's title, and is the book's third biggest liability as he has drawn 10.9 percent of the total bets and 11.1 percent of the money. He did defeat Djokovic twice -- once in singles and once in doubles -- in November to help Italy claim its first Davis Cup title in 25 years.

--Field Level Media