Thursday at the Australian Open takes us into the third round and presents some uniquely challenging matches to handicap.
We have a host of large favorites on the slate, and I’m going to target two of them to struggle a bit in putting away some in-form opponents.
Read below for my picks and predictions.
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Australian Open Odds & Predictions
Jannik Sinner (-800) vs. Marton Fucsovics (+500)
7 p.m. ET
Marton Fucsovics has been a mainstay in Grand Slam draws for many years now, but 2021 and 2022 were rather flat seasons for the veteran. The menacing Hungarian barely cracked .500 last season and entered the Australian Open with just two wins in his last five appearances at a Grand Slam.
The big man’s fortunes have really turned around. After taking a couple weeks off following Vienna qualifying, Fucsovics ripped through the ATP Challenger circuit, winning eight straight matches and lifting the trophy in Bratislava. He then turned right back around at the start of January and won another Challenger event in Canberra before focusing his attention on the Australian Open.
Through two intense battles, Fucsovics has served much better than he has in the last two seasons and has showcased some of his brilliant defense and shot-making. He’s been able to absorb pace and extract errors out of his opponents’ racquets, and I believe he’ll be up to the task of handling Sinner’s massive groundstrokes.
The Italian has dropped at least one set in eight of his last 10 Grand Slam matches (prior to this year’s AO) and has been a pretty safe bet to have at least a couple of adventures in his quest for that first Grand Slam.
Sinner has looked the part of a contender through two matches, but it should be said that Kyle Edmund — who has played sparingly over the last two seasons — and clay specialist Tomas Etcheverry are about the easiest two opponents you could ask for in the draw.
Fucsovics will present a much tougher test and make this match physical, and while I think he ultimately will fall short of taking out Sinner, I do think he will take one set.
Pick: Fuscovics +2.5 Sets (-120 via DraftKings)
Daniil Medvedev (-475) vs. Sebastian Korda (+350)
4:15 a.m. ET
Sebastian Korda is playing some of the best tennis of his career right now. The talented American was able to knock out a murderer’s row of opponents in Adelaide last week, defeating Andy Murray, Roberto Bautista-Agut and Jannik Sinner, before generating a match point against Novak Djokovic in the final (he ended up falling in three sets).
Korda’s found the range again on his backhand and his forehand, which broke down time and time again in 2022. Best of all, Korda seems to be serving well, which should set up for a nice battle here against the former World No. 1.
Daniil Medvedev has looked the part of a Grand Slam favorite so far in 2023, but strangely enough it was Korda who played Djokovic better in Adelaide; Medvedev looked meek against the 21-time Grand Slam champion and fell in two quick sets.
The only time these two met, which took place at the very end of the 2021 season, Korda took the first set before ultimately falling in three. I think he has enough variety in his game to avoid the trap Medvedev likes to set for his opponents, and with the way he likes to play first-strike tennis he should be able to avoid the longer rallies that can suffocate opponents of the Russian.
I like Korda to keep this match tight, and I suspect we see a tiebreaker or two. I’ll gladly drink a sip of juice here to take the 6.5 games.
Pick: Korda +6.5 games (-125 via PointsBet)