There are two men’s matches left in the Australian Open,. On Thursday night, Marin Cilic ousted Kyle Edmund is the biggest match of the latter’s career. On Friday night, Roger Federer will meet Hyeon Chung, who’s undoubtedly the story of the tournament and has deeply impressed the tennis world.
There’s a redemption storyline that will get beaten to death if the favorite wins tonight, as Marin Cilic will have another chance to beat Federer in a final, his first since an injury hobbled him in the Wimbledon final. If the underdog Chung wins, he’ll be one of the youngest slam finalists ever at just 21 years of age.
Hyeon Chung (+500) vs Roger Federer (-670)
Hyeon Chung has had a marvelous tear through the Australian Open, surprising everyone and clearing the most difficult draw on his road to the semifinals. Chung beat both Zverev brothers, Novak Djokovic, and the terribly underrated Tennys Sandgren on his way here. It’s the Djokovic win that was most impressive. It wasn’t like Djokovic was somehow severely hampered in that game, he just hadn’t encountered someone as mobile as himself in a long time.
Federer is coming off a straight-sets win over Tomas Berdych, and Chung could not be a more different opponent. Berdych likes to blast the yellow off the tennis ball. Chung gets around the court beautifully, using his mobility and ball placement to win points. There are a lot of players that can’t cope with Berdych’s power, hence his omnipresence in slam quarterfinals, but Federer isn’t one of them. If you’re looking for a comparison, Chung is a lot more like Nadal, albeit a Nadal who loves playing the flat ball and doesn’t have a particularly fast serve.
These odds have Federer as an overwhelming favorite, and quite rightly. But -670 carries an 87% implied probability, so there would need to be an almost 90% chance that Federer wins for that to be good value. Realistically, Chung’s +500 odds more accurately reflect the underdog’s chances. But I’ve found that it’s hard to make good bets lately when Federer is involved: he’s always a huge, overpriced favorite, and then he wins anyway.
Betting Tip: Federer (-670) is playing too well to bet against. Stay away from his semi-final against a very dangerous Chung, who’s on a historic run and won’t be intimidated. The better pick, if you like the favorite, is the outright (below).
Australian Open Outrights
- Roger Federer: -250
- Marin Cilic: +250
- Hyeon Chung: +1000
Roger Federer is well past even odds, and that might not be enough. His record against Cilic is a dominant 8-1. Cilic hasn’t beaten Federer since 2014, ancient history in tennis terms.