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Jan 24, 2024 12:55 pm

Novak Djokovic odds-on favorite with Carlos Alcaraz out of Aussie Open

Novak Djokovic’s path toward a 25th Grand Slam title was cleared even further with second-seeded Carlos Alcaraz failing to make the semifinals — at least in the eyes of oddsmakers.

Djokovic kicked off the Australian Open quarterfinals with a four-set victory over No. 12 seed Taylor Fritz. In search of his 11th title in Melbourne, Djokovic faces a stiff semifinal matchup against fourth-seeded Jannik Sinner.

Sinner defeated the Serbian twice — once in singles and once in doubles — in November to help Italy claim its first Davis Cup title in 25 years. However, this marks just his second foray into a Grand Slam semifinal after reaching the final four of last year’s Wimbledon.

The Italian has been in dominating form through his first five matches, as Sinner is yet to drop a set in the tournament and has been taken to just one tiebreaker. After dispatching of No. 15 Karen Khachanov in the Round of 16, Sinner blitzed fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the quarters.

Djokovic, 36, has dropped two sets but has not faced a serious upset threat to date. He is the -225 favorite at BetMGM to beat Sinner (+175).

Whoever wins the match will be the favorite to go on to claim the men’s title. Djokovic entered the tournament at +110 but is now the -135 favorite. Sinner opened at +1800 and now has the second shortest odds at +275.

That’s because Alcaraz, who was +250 before his quarterfinal match, crashed out in four sets against No. 6 seed Alexander Zverev, who had been 0-10 at Grand Slams against players ranked in the top 5.

Zverev, who still has the longest men’s title odds at +700 among the four remaining players, will face Daniil Medvedev (+450) for a spot in the final. Zverev has played 21 sets through five matches.

“I feel fine,” he said after closing out Alcaraz. “I have a lot of blood under my toenails which is quite painful, but I would much rather feel the way I’m feeling right now, with a bit of pain here and there but in the semifinals, than be at home right now watching this tournament.

While Zverev was dealing with blood under his toenails, Medvedev said he was “destroyed” after surviving a five-set match against No. 9 Hubert Hurkacz that took four hours. Like his semifinal opponent, Medvedev has already played 21 sets in the tournament.

Medvedev is in the final four in Melbourne for the third time in four years. The Russian is a -175 favorite to beat Zverev (+140), and the 2021 U.S. Open champion is the only other semifinalist with a Grand Slam on his resume. Medvedev would also surpass Alcaraz for the No. 2 ranking if he claims his first Australian Open title.

Djokovic will have plenty of rest ahead of Friday’s semifinals after a 3-hour, 45-minute win over Fritz, and he is seeking his fifth consecutive Australian Open title. The only time he hasn’t hoisted the trophy in Melbourne since 2019 was when he missed the 2022 event due to his opposition to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Djokovic is BetMGM’s biggest liability in the men’s draw, having drawn 30.1 percent of the total bets and 52.4 percent of the money. Alcaraz’s upset was a win for the book, as he was the second biggest liability ahead of the 22-year-old Sinner, who has been backed by 11.2 and 11.0 percent of the action, respectively.

By the time Sinner turned professional in 2018, Djokovic already had 12 Grand Slam titles — including six at the Australian Open. Friday will also mark Djokovic’s 48th career Grand Slam semifinal.

“I’m really lucky to face him again,” Sinner said of Djokovic after his quarterfinal win. “This is one of the biggest tournaments in the world. I’m happy I can play against the No. 1 in the world. He won here (10) times, so it’s going to be tough. The only thing that I can control is I will give 100 percent, I will fight for every ball and then we will see what the outcome will be.”

–Field Level Media

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