The Australian Open is starting to edge towards its business end, and soon we will know the full line-up for the fourth round.
A good proportion of the last 16 draw has already been formulated, however, and it is at this stage of the tournament where betting value becomes slightly harder to find.
Nevertheless, there are four wagers below that all look worthy of further investigation:
Rafa Nadal to beat Diego Schwartzman 3-0/Kyle Edmund to beat Andreas Seppi (11/10 Double)
Rafa Nadal has looked in imperious form so far in Melbourne: he’s won all nine sets he’s played and triumphed in five of them by a scoreline of 6-1!
He’s ever dropped a set against his fourth round opponent, Diego Schwartzman, in three meetings either, and the Spaniard appears to be in no mood to start now.
Schwartzman was 1-2 down against Dusan Lajovic in the first round before turning that match around, and he also dropped the first set against Alexandr Dolgopolov in round three. The Argentine should provide minimal resistance to Nadal on Sunday.
And as for Britain’s Kyle Edmund, well, what a tournament it has been! He despatched both Kevin Anderson and Denis Istomin in the early rounds, and was a warm favourite against Nikoloz Basilashvili in the third round.
The Georgian put up a fierce resistance, as we predicted he would in this column, but Edmund eventually prevailed in five sets.
His fourth round opponent, Andreas Seppi, also had to endure an epic five-set match in the brutal heat against Ivo Karlovic. The Italian got over the line, but at what cost to the 33-year-old’s legs in the searing heat. Expect Edmund to grind him down on Sunday.
Nick Kyrgios to beat Grigor Dimitrov (8/13)
At the start of the tournament we had pegged Grigor Dimitrov as a potential dark horse for the title, but so far he has shown little of the form which swept him to the ATP Tour Finals crown.
The Bulgarian only just got past little known American Mackenzie McDonald in the second round, losing the fourth set 0-6 and going on to win the fifth 8-6. He also dropped a set in his third round clash with Andrey Rublev, and so we ask the question when he makes a step up in class in terms of opposition, how will he fare?
Well, that step up comes in the fourth round. Nick Kyrgios beat Dimitrov barely a fortnight ago on his way to winning ATP Brisbane, and it appears – for now at least – as if Kyrgios is finally producing the sort of tennis that his undoubted skill deserves.
The home favourite is a born entertainer, a bit of a sulker and somebody who perhaps hasn’t made the most of his gifts thus far in his young career. But the manner in which he ‘managed’ his third round clash against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – at times in the past he would have relented under the Frenchman’s pressure – was really intriguing. Has Kyrgios finally matured?
Backing the 22-year-old does come with a modicum of risk – he could have one of his ‘bad days’. But all things being equal he should have too much firepower for a below-par Dimitrov.
Carla Suarez Navarro +1.5 Game Handicap vs Anett Kontaveit
Despite the tough conditions, we’re willing to get behind Suarez Navarro in her fourth round clash against an opponent seven years her junior.
The Spaniard has already beaten quality opposition in Timea Babos and Kaia Kanepi, and that is a remarkable turnaround in form considering her poor preparation for this tournament.
But two of her five grand slam quarter final appearances have come in the Australian Open, and she will be looking to add to her collection this week.
Anett Kontaveit has dropped sets in both of her last two matches, and a sense of just doing enough to win springs to mind given how many hard court matches she has lost in the past couple of months.
This is a 50/50, ‘pick em’ style match, so to be able to bag a handicap start on Navarro is a chance too good to miss out on.