Who can stop a Murray v Federer quarter final?
Andy Murray and Roger Federer can set-up a mouth-watering quarter final Australian Open clash with wins in their fourth-round matches on Sunday.
Standing between those two champions and a final-eight clash are Mischa Zverev and Kei Nishikori who play Murray and Federer respectively.
Zverev is in rarefied air for him having never made a fourth round of a Grand Slam before, but the 29-year-old seems to have had his career revived by the emergence of his younger brother Alex as the next star of world tennis.
The younger Zverev, who is still a teenager, has risen from 85 to 24 in rankings in the past 12 months, but the re-emergence of his 29-year old brother has been just as remarkable, surging from world No.171 last year to no.50 right now.
Punters and bookies do not expect his run to continue however, and the German is a $12 outsider to defeat world No.1 Murray for the first time.
Murray, who goes into this match as $1.02 favourite and $1.83 to claim his maiden Australian Open title, has played Zverev three times, and won all three, however, only one of those is recent, a straight-sets win in Munich in 2015.
The four-time Aussie Open champ Federer stamped his class all over this tournament by hammering Tomas Berdych in the third round on Friday night. That saw his odds tumble from $21 into $11 to win the men’s title but his fourth-round opponent Kei Nishikori is no mug.
Nishikori is the fifth seed and has beaten Federer twice before, in Madrid in 2013 and Miami 2014, while Federer has four victories over him, the most recent in the 2015 Tour finals.
Nishikori has been to the quarters here on three previous occasions, including twice in the past two years and did beat Murray in the quarter finals at the 2016 US Open in a major shock.
It’s a rare situation when the No.5 seed starts as a $2.37 outsider in a clash with the No.17 seed, with Federer the $1.54 favourite. The market seems to be framed on reputation rather than recent form.
The other two men’s fourth round matches are one-sided as far as the market is concerned. No.4 seed Stan Wawrinka plays Andreas Seppi, who earlier in the week knocked out Australia’s best hope Nick Kyrgios.
Seppi, who defeated Steve Darcis in the third round, is a $6 outsider with Wawrinka at $1.11. They’ve played each other 15 times, with Wawrinka leading the head-to-head 10-5 including the past four but they have never met in a Grand Slam match.
The winner of that match lines up a clash with either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Dan Evans. Evans has won plenty of fans this tournament knocking out No.7 seed Marin Cilic and Australia’s No.2 hope here Bernard Tomic in successive matches.
He is looking to add No.12 seed Tsonga to his list of scalps as he eyes his first ever final-eight appearance in a Grand Slam. The bookies doubt he can do it and have him as a $3.70 outsider with Tsonga at $1.25. The pair have never met before.
In the women’s draw, top seed and defending champion Angelique Kerber has had her share of troubles in the early rounds but goes into her fourth round clash with world No.35 Coco Vandeweghe as $1.28 favourite. Kerber has won both her previous matches against the American, who is $3.45 to make her first Australian Open quarter final.
Venus Williams has wound back the clock this week and is $1.40 favourite to defeat qualifier Mona Barthel and make the final eight for just the second time in seven years. A Russian awaits the winner, either Svetlana Kuznetsova ($1.60) or Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova ($2.25).
Suggested Bet: Back Nishikori to beat Federer at $2.37
A Murray $1.83
M Raonic $5.50
S Wawrinka $7.50
R Nadal $10
R Federer $11
G Dimitrov $19
K Nishikori $26
A Zverev $31
J-W Tsonga $41
D Thiem $41
Others: $51 or longer
S Williams $3.25
Ka Pliskova $4.33
A Kerber $4.50
G Muguruza $9
J Konta $9.50
C Wozniacki $21
S Kuznetsova $21
C Vandeweghe $26
A Pavlyuchenkova $34
V Williams $34