Oddsmakers See Major Champions Djokovic, Muguruza as Favorites for Australian Open Titles

Posted on: January 31, 2020, 01:36h. 

Last updated on: January 31, 2020, 02:05h.

While most of the attention in the US is focused on Sunday’s Super Bowl in Miami, there’s another huge sporting event taking place on the other side of the world this weekend. Over in Melbourne, the first tennis major of 2020 wraps up with the finals of the Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic (left) consoles Roger Federer after the longtime rivals faced off in the Australian Open semifinals. Djokovic, the defending champion, is the favorite to win the men’s major this weekend. (Image: AusOpen.com)

On the women’s side, two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza from Spain will face American Sofia Kenin. A day later defending champion Novak Djokovic seeks his eighth Australian Open title. The Serbian will face Austria’s Dominic Thiem.

Both finals will take place in the overnight hours for bettors in the continental US. The women’s final is scheduled for 3:30 am ET Saturday morning, while the men’s final will take place at the same time on Sunday morning.

Women’s Final Preview

In the women’s final, Muguruza is unseeded and ranked 32nd in the world. But after a couple of subpar years, the former world’s No. 1 player is ready to climb back up the rankings.

So far in Australia, she’s knocked off the fifth, ninth, and fourth seeds to make her first Aussie final. On Thursday, she beat No. 4 Simona Halep, 7-6 (10-8), 7-5.

Part of what’s helped Muguruza is a new coach, fellow Spaniard and major champion Conchita Martinez.

“I looked at her strokes, the way she’s moving. I just can see it, how the ball comes out of her racquet, how she’s moving, how she’s getting to the ball. When she’s getting fast to the ball, everything looks good. That’s when she’s playing her best tennis. There’s no secret,” Martinez told AusOpen.com.

Murguruza, who has French Open and Wimbledon titles to her name, looks to add a hardcourt major to her triumphs. But standing in the way of the 26-year-old is a fresh-faced 21-year-old Russian-American who had never reached a major semifinal until Wednesday night. That’s when Kenin dispatched of top seed and Australian Ashleigh Barty 7-6 (8-6), 7-5.

While Kenin has the higher seed, oddsmakers tab Muguruza as the favorite. William Hill has Muguruza at -175 and Kenin at +150. DraftKings also offers Muguruza at -175 but has Kenin at +143. FanDuel lists the Spaniard at -194, with Kenin at +160.

Men’s Final Preview

Fifth-seeded Thiem may have had the most grueling path to the final match of the Australian Open. After rallying in a five-setter second round match, he’s since off four seeded players. That includes three in the top 10. He needed three tiebreakers to knock off top-seed Rafael Nadal in a four-set quarterfinal Wednesday.

Thiem now gets Djokovic, the tourney’s second seed. He beat the “Joker” on the hardcourt in the ATP Final back in November. However, that was only a 2-of-3 set match.

Dominic won our last match we played against each other, a close one in London (in the ATP Finals). He played a terrific match against Rafa last night” in the quarterfinals, Djokovic told reporters Thursday. “I watched that. Definitely one of the best players in the world. Deserves to be where he is.”

Djokovic has cruised in Melbourne. He dropped a set in the first round, but has won in straight sets the last five matches. He’s only needed two tiebreakers in those five, including one against rival Roger Federer in the semis.

Despite the loss to Thiem in London, oddsmakers are squarely behind the defending champ. FanDuel has it -390 for Djokovic and +310 for Thiem. William Hill lists Djokovic at -350 and Thiem at +290, and DraftKings offers Djokovic at -375 and Thiem at +295.