Much talk prior the 2019 Australian Open surrounded world number one, Novak Djokovic, defending champion, Roger Federer and the injured Andy Murray.
While many onlookers were busy concerning themselves with the three players above, one man has gone somewhat under the radar in Melbourne – Rafael Nadal.
Nadal 100% Fit
You must go back to 2009 to find the last and only time Nadal has won the Australian Open in his long and illustrious career.
It has been the weakest Grand Slam of his time at the top of men’s tennis, but could 2019 be the year when he adds a second Australian Open to his fine list of achievements?
Nadal breezed through to the quarter final stage, defeating Tomas Berdych 6-0, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) in the fourth round. There was much discussion over the fitness of Nadal following his problems at the 2018 US Open in September and previous injuries which have caused him problems in recent years.
However, they appear to be behind him and the Spaniard has won each of his four matches to date without dropping a set. James Duckworth, Matt Ebden and Alex de Minaur caused Nadal little problem and he will now face Frances Tiafoe in the quarter final.
Favourable Quarter Final Draw
The young American is playing in his first Grand Slam semi final having never been beyond the third round before and Nadal is the massive favourite to come out on top at just 2/55 with MansionBet. Tiafoe is out at 9/1, which sums up the feeling ahead of the match.
With Nadal such a massive favourite to progress to the semi final, having not dropped a set in previous matches, his confidence will be high. The former world number one is only 4/9 at MansionBet to win the match 3-0 and 11/5 to win the first set with under 8.5 games.
Nadal’s Odds Shorten
Having started the 2019 Australian Open at 9/1 to win, Nadal’s odds have dropped to 7/2 and expect to see them fall again if he succeeds against Tiafoe in the quarter final. Novak Djokovic remains the favourite at 10/11 with MansionBet, but Nadal’s form will be giving the Serb plenty of cause for concern.