Roger Federer has stormed into the Australian Open without dropping a single set and is now the overwhelming favourite to claim his 20th Grand Slam. The best price available on the great Swiss is 1/4 with the likes of Sky Bet and Bet Stars, but you can get much better value on backing him to claim another straight sets win. Federer to win 3-0 is 7/5 with 888 Sport, 5/4 with bookmakers like Bwin and 11/8 with Sky Bet. That looks an excellent price for a master of the game who is hitting the ball better than ever before.
Federer rolled back the clock to win his first Grand Slam in more than three years at Melbourne last year. He has since gone on to achieve further success and beat Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 to claim the Wimbledon title, his second Grand Slam of 2017 and his 19th overall. Careful body management has allowed the Swiss to enjoy a magnificent and unprecedented late career renaissance. His backhand has come on leaps and bounds, and he is displaying a never-before-seen level of aggression to overwhelm his opponents.
His opponent in the Australian Open final is once again Cilic, who was struggling with injury when he capitulated against Federer at Wimbledon last year. Federer was similarly untroubled in the Australian Open semi-final as his opponent, unseeded South Korean Hyeon Chung, retired in the second set with Federer leading 6-1, 5-2. Federer, the second seed for this tournament, has spent a lot less time on the court than Cilic over the past fortnight and should be a lot fresher and more energized heading into the final.
The Croatian endured a tough fourth-round tie against Pablo Carreno and needed three grueling tie-break victories to eventually prevail in four sets. His match against world No. 1 Rafa Nadal went into a fifth set before the Spaniard retired with injury – something that is becoming a theme in this taxing sport. These epic encounters have been played in scorching heat Down Under, and it must have taken its toll on Cilic.
For his part, Federer will be pleased he is not playing Nadal, who took him to five sets in a colossal clash in last year’s final. Federer can look forward to what should prove to be a routine victory over Cilic. Federer has been there and done it on so many occasions in the big games, so he can use that experience to form the perfect game plan once again and close out victory. Cilic is a Grand Slam winner – he claimed the US Open in 2014, beating Kei Nishikori in straight sets – but he will struggle against a resurgent Federer.
If you want to cover yourself, you could also take 3-1 Federer at 11/4 with various bookmakers, including William Hill, but it would be a huge surprise if Federer does not win this in the supremely comfortable fashion that has served him so well throughout the tournament.
Nadal and Novak Djokovic continue to struggle with injury, Andy Murray remains a long-term casualty and Stan Wawrinka looks shot to pieces. Nishikori is also injured, and the likes of Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Dominic Thiem and David Goffin do not look ready to step up and seize glory. Nadal will probably take the French Open due to his clay-court dominance, but Federer looks a great bet for Wimbledon and the US Open. He is 11/4 with William Hill to win Wimbledon, and 5/1 with Betway to win at Flushing Meadows, both of which look like excellent futures options.