Mon, Jan 22, 7:24am by Staff Writer
Round 4 of the 2018 Australian Open continues on Monday with four men’s and four women’s singles matches to finalise the quarter-finals draw.
Simona Halep versus Naomi Osaka
Monday, 22 January 2018
World number one Simona Halep survived a major scare in the third round, battling past American Lauren Davis 15-13 in the third set.
That match went over three hours, with Halep showing mental toughness which has eluded her in close matches in the past at major tournaments.
It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Halep at the year’s first Grand Slam, with the Romanian looking to have seriously damaged her ankle in her round one match against Australian Destanee Aiava.
Despite being less than 100 per cent, Halep easily accounted for Aiava and Eugenie Bouchard in round two.
Naomi Osaka has not dropped a set all tournament and the world number 72 is seen as a rising star of the women’s game.
The WTA tour at the moment is dominated by ageing veterans who have continued to play at a high level, with Osaka providing a glimpse of the future.
Her aggressive game style will counter that of Halep, who prefers to play long points and dominate with her ground strokes.
These two met last year in Miami where Halep was victorious in three sets. They also met at the 2016 French Open on Halep’s favoured surface, and the Romanian was victorious in three sets in the third round.
Osaka is on a roll at the moment and won’t be daunted by the big stage of Rod Laver Arena having just defeated Ashleigh Barty.
She is good value to cause an upset and knock out the world number one and book her spot in the quarter-finals.
Best bet- Naomi Osaka to win at $2.75
Barbora Strycova versus Karolina Pliskova
Monday, 22 January 2018
Sixth seed Karolina Pliskova will be looking to match her best ever finish at the Australian Open, a quarter final appearance in 2017, when she takes on compatriot Barbora Strycova on Monday afternoon.
Strycova has been a consistent player on the women’s tour, reaching a career high ranking of 16 and a current ranking of 24.
Strycova has had a strong start to this year’s Australian Open, barely troubled through three rounds and not dropping a set.
The storyline is similar for Pliskova, who easily accounted for Veronica Cepede and Beatriz Haddad Maia, before being forced to work against another Czech player in Lucie Safarova.
These ladies have met on three occasions, with Pliskova leading the head-to-head 2-1. All of those matches were straight set encounters.
With the temperature expected to be relatively mild in Melbourne for this match, all Pliskova will need will be a break of serve in each set to cover the 20.5 games under market at Sportsbet.
Possessing one of the best serves in the women’s game, Pliskova has a decided advantage over Strycova, who often struggles on serve against the tour’s elite.
Best bet- Strycova/Pliskova under 20.5 games at $1.83
Novak Djokovic versus Hyeon Chung
Monday, 22 January 2018
14th seed Novak Djokovic takes on rising Korean star Hyeon Chung in one of the headline matches of day eight of the Australian Open.
Chung produced a scintillating comeback from two sets to one down to shock fourth seed Alexander Zverev on Saturday afternoon, and will be hoping for another major upset on Monday.
Despite at times appearing to be hampered by a lower leg complaint, Novak Djokovic defeated Albert Ramos Vinolas in straight sets in the third round, after wins against Gael Monfils and Donald Young earlier in the tournament.
Djokovic has won the Australian Open a staggering six times and comes into this year’s tournament after a lengthy injury lay off at the end of last season.
He was clearly not at 100 per cent in his last match, and one has to wonder how he will play against a young player full of confidence and with nothing to lose.
Chung was impressive in the final two sets of his match against Zverev and has had some good results this season, which included a win against John Isner in Auckland earlier in the year.
Chung certainly has the ability to win a set against Djokovic and with the over/under games tally set at 35.5 for $1.83, this is the more lucrative option compared to Chung to win a set at $1.62 at Sportsbet.
Best bet- Djokovic/Chung total match games over 35.5 games at $1.83
*Odds provided by Sportsbet
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