Fri, Jan 5, 4:41pm by Staff Writer
The Brisbane International is now in its 10th year and has been the traditional start to the tennis season and one of a number of events in the Australian Open Series.
This combined ATP/WTA event has seen past winners including Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Lleyton Hewitt on the men’s side. Maria Sharapova and two-time champion Serena Williams headline the past female winners.
Eight men remain with quarter finals to be played on Friday and semi-finals on Saturday. The story of the week was the win by young Australian Alex De Minaur against former world number 3 Milos Raonic.
De Minaur now backs up from that win to take on American youngster Michael Mmoh who had a solid three set win against Mischa Zverev and had to qualify to enter the Brisbane main draw.
Elsewhere, Nick Kyrgios battled a knee injury in his three set win against Matt Ebden and one has to wonder how motivated Kyrgios will be if he is carrying an injury when he takes on erratic Ukrainian Alexander Dolgopolov.
Uzbek Denis Istomin enjoys the heat and humidity of Brisbane as it allows him to employ his flat ground strokes. He has had a solid week so far, defeating Damir Dzumhur and Jared Donaldson as an underdog. He battles American Ryan Harrison in the quarter finals.
Number one seed Grigor Dimitrov saved two match points in the second set before defeating Australian John Millman late on Thursday night. Dimitrov was tested by Millman and faces Brit Kyle Edmund in the last match on Friday night.
Dimitrov is the favourite in outright betting at $2.63 at Sportsbet, but showed his vulnerability against Millman. At $4.33, Nick Kyrgios is far from a safe bet, given his tendency to retire in matches or be non-competitive, particularly at the ATP 250 level.
Our pick for the outright is underdog Denis Istomin at $11. Istomin produced a scintillating Australian Open in 2017, defeating Novak Djokovic in an epic encounter in round two.
Istomin has a powerful serve and skillful ground strokes and with a number of remaining players in the main draw young and inexperienced at the latter stages of tournaments, he looks as good a chance as any to take out the Brisbane title.
Best bet- Denis Istomin to win Brisbane International at $11
Elina Svitolina ($2.50) and Karoline Pliskova ($2.50) are joint favourites to win the WTA Brisbane International, with the winner of their semi-final contest on Friday night sure to be a red-hot favourite for Saturday night’s final.
World number 4 Pliskova was tested by Estonian Kaia Kanepi yesterday before she ran out of steam in the third set.
Svitolina, ranked six in the world had a tremendous 2017 and stamped herself as a Grand Slam contender for 2018. After falling down a set to Britain’s Jo Konta, Svitolina rallied before Konta retired with a hip complaint.
Pliskova possesses a 5-2 head-to-head record against Svitolina, including a win at the Brisbane International last year in straight sets.
Pliskova is the superior hard court player, with Svitolina’s wins coming at the exhibition Hopman Cup and the clay of Rome.
At $2.50, Pliskova represents good value to win the WTA Brisbane International and will start Friday’s semi-final a $1.71 favourite against the Ukrainian.
Anastasija Sevastova and Aliaksandra Sasnovich play in the other semi-final, with the young Belarusian Sasnovich fighting back from a set in her last four matches at Brisbane, including during qualifying.
Sevastova has yet to drop a set this week and looks in good early season form, after reaching a career high ranking of 16 in 2017 and is the overwhelming $1.33 favourite to beat Sasnovich.
A look ahead to the potential final and Pliskova and Sevastova have met four times, with the head-to-head record split at 2-2.
Best bet- Karolina Pliskova to win WTA Brisbane International at $2.50
ATP Brisbane International Outright – Sportsbet
G Dimitrov $2.63
N Kyrgios $4.33
R Harrison $7
A De Minaur $9
K Edmund $9
A Dolgopolov $11
D Istomin $11
M Mmoh $17
WTA Brisbane International Outright
E Svitolina $2.50
Ka Pliskova $2.50
A Sevastova $4
A Sasnovich $11
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