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2023 Australian Open Men’s Semifinal Picks & Predictions

by January 26, 2023
Men's Australian Open Semifinal Picks & Predictions

The future of American Men’s tennis looks bright, as three American men made the quarterfinals at the Australian Open for the first time since 2000. Of the three, Tommy Paul was the lone American to break through to the semifinals, becoming the first to do so since Andy Roddick in 2009. Paul will now try to be the first US man to win a Grand Slam singles championship since Roddick won the US Open 20 years ago.

To do so, Paul will have to pull off one of the biggest upsets in a semifinal at a Grand Slam event in recent memory. Novak Djokovic has dominated this event like no other before him, winning three consecutive Australian Open titles from 2019-21 before last year’s ban. He is looking to extend his record to ten Australian Open titles (no other player has more than six).

The other semifinal features No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 18 seed Karen Khachanov. Khachanov is looking to advance to his first-ever Grand Slam final, while Tsitsipas is looking for his second major finals appearance and first ever on a hard court surface.

Read on for our thoughts and predictions for the 2023 Men’s Australian Open semifinals.

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2023 Men’s Australian Open Semifinal Picks & Predictions

(odds via DraftKings)

Novak Djokovic vs. Tommy Paul Prediction

This is the first-ever meeting between Djokovic and Paul, and on paper, there have been few more mismatches in a men’s Grand Slam semifinal in recent memory. Paul has just 12 more wins than losses in his career and has one ATP title, while Djokovic has won 92 titles and is motivated to tie Rafael Nadal’s record of 22 major victories.

Djokovic’s form entering this match is impeccable. After going 34-3 to end last year, he is 10-0 in 2023 and has dropped two total sets in the process (both in tiebreakers).

Paul outlasted two fellow Americans (Jenson Brooksby and Ben Shelton) so far this tournament, but his two matches against seeded players were much more grueling. Paul needed a combined nine sets to beat No. 24 Roberto Bautista Agut and No. 30 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, while Djokovic has won 11 consecutive sets and dropped just 27 games in that span. In addition, critics have argued Paul’s quarterfinal win over Shelton should not be deemed all that impressive since Shelton did not face anyone ranked higher than No. 67 along the way.

Djokovic is 39-0 in his previous 39 ATP main draw matches in Australia and has won the first set in 27 of his last 28 completed ATP main draw matches. While Paul has covered the game spread in seven consecutive ATP main draw matches against older opponents, none are as seasoned or dominant in this tournament as Djokovic.

Pick: Djokovic -7.5 games (-160 at DraftKings)

Karen Khachanov vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas Prediction

The rivalry between Tsitsipas and Khachanov has been historically one-sided. Tsitsipas has won all five head-to-head meetings with Khachanov, all since 2017. Four of those victories came on hard court, with three decided in straight sets.

While Tsitsipas has dominated Khachanov, none of the previous five meetings were in a best-of-five setting. That is important to note, as Khachanov has had success in majors (though he is still chasing the elusive first title) as he has reached the quarterfinals at all four Slams.

Khachanov has played aggressively all tournament, and we look for him to be competitive in this match by attacking the weakest part of Tsitsipas’s game, his backhand. And despite winning 79% of his first serve points in the quarterfinal against Jiri Lehecka, Tsitsipas still conceded eight break point opportunities. His opponents are now 6-for-49 in converting break chances throughout the tournament. By comparison, Khachanov has allowed 33 break-point chances, and his more consistent serve will allow him success. None of the four remaining players have played a match as dominant as Khachanov’s fourth-round win over Yoshihito Nishioka. He bageled the first two sets and lost four overall points in the second set.

Khachanov has lost in straight sets in just one of his previous 24 Grand Slam matches, and he has covered the game spread in eight of his last nine. Thus, a best-of-five setting should play right into the Russian’s hands, and we expect this match to be a marathon as a result.

Pick: Khachanov-Tsitsipas Over 40.5 games (+105 at DraftKings)

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