Six-time champion Novak Djokovic advanced to the Australian Open semifinals after his quarterfinals opponent, Kei Nishikori, was forced to retire due to a leg injury. The 31-year-old Serbian admitted to not feeling great on his victory over Daniil Medvedev on Monday but he’ll be well rested for the semifinals after just 52 minutes on court in the previous round. The Australian Open is Djokovic’s favorite major and the world No.1 won the title every time he reached the last four in Melbourne.
Djokovic will meet Frenchman Lucas Pouille on Friday for a place in the final. Pouille reached his maiden Grand Slam semifinal with a 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-4 win over Milos Raonic in just over three hours. The 24-year-old proved too strong for Raonic with 62 winners to just 24 unforced errors. Pouille had lost every Australian Open match until this year until he hired Amelie Mauresmo as coach. The No.28 seed praised Mauresmo for bringing him a lot of confidence and for rejuvenating his tennis.
Looking now at the odds for this contest, Djokovic is the heavy favorite at -1429 with 5Dimes while Intertops offers +750 for Lucas to reach the final. Despite Pouille’ impressive run in Melbourne, it’s impossible to go against Novak at the moment. The Serbian won 19 straight Grand Slam matches and is just two wins away from a record seventh Australian Open title. On the other hand, Pouille only won two sets in his last seven encounters against Top 10 players. With this in mind, our suggestion is to add Djokovic’s -2.5 Set Handicap at -154 with Pinnacle to your betting picks as the best value bet for this contest.