Australian Open Odds: Day 6 Match Analysis and Picks

Australian Open Odds: Day 6 Match Analysis and Picks

Australian Open Odds: Day 6 Match Analysis and Picks
By Ricky Dimon
Covers.com

JANKO TIPSAREVIC (-125) VS. RICHARD GASQUET (-105)

There is no denying Gasquet's talent, which is right up there with the best in the game, but the weight of expectations has bogged him down in the past. Now, there is no such pressure. The result was a stellar 2011 season for the 18th-ranked Frenchman. So far this week, he has eased past Andreas Seppi and Andrey Golubev (the Kazakh retired down 6-4, 6-2, 3-0).

Tipsarevic reached the Chennai final earlier this season, but it has been a struggle for him Down Under. The Serb survived intense four-set battles with Dmitry Tursunov and Aussie wild-card James Duckworth to get to this point. Tipsarevic has lost both of his meetings to Gasquet in straight sets, but they have not faced each other since 2005.

Pick: Gasquet

KEI NISHIKORI (-125) VS. JULIEN BENNETEAU (-105)

Benneteau apparently knows a thing or two about peaking for Grand Slams. Last summer, he finished runner-up in Winston-Salem then advanced two rounds at the U.S. Open the following week. The Frenchman finished runner-up last week in Sydney and now finds himself in the third round following wins over Karol Beck and No. 12 seed Gilles Simon.

Nishikori will be a tough test for Benneteau, but the Japanese star doesn’t seem to be in quite the same form as his opponent. He lost to Marcos Baghdatis in the Brisbane second round and needed five sets to get past Matthew Ebden Thursday. Their only previous encounter doesn’t mean much since it came in the summer of 2007, but Benneteau dominated it 6-2, 6-3 on the hard courts of Washington.

Pick: Benneteau

MILOS RAONIC (-300) VS. LLEYTON HEWITT (+225) AND MARIA SHARAPOVA (-450) VS. ANGELIQUE KERBER (+300)

Hewitt needs some breaks at 30 years old, and that's exactly what he's been given so far. In Round 1, he faced Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, who has never won a main-draw match at a Grand Slam. Then Andy Roddick got hurt in the second round. Hewitt's luck ends here, though, in the form of red-hot Raonic. The big-serving Canadian reached the fourth round at this event last year and won the Chennai title two weeks ago.

Sharapova is looking like a serious title contender in Melbourne. In two matches she has lost a total of just two games (6-0, 6-1 routs of Gisela Dulko and Jamie Hampton). Kerber made an absolutely shocking run to the U.S. Open semis last summer, but she has no real chance in this one.

Pick: Raonic and Sharapova

SABINE LISICKI (-135) VS. SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA (+105)

Lisicki made it to the Wimbledon semifinals last year and there is no reason to think it was a fluke run. "Boom Boom" is up to No. 15 in the world thanks to a string of consistent results and it appears to be full steam ahead for her in Melbourne. Lisicki seemed to struggle with the heat in Round 1, but she erased those concerns by destroying Shahar Peer 6-1, 6-2 Wednesday.

In her only previous meeting with Kuznetsova, the German prevailed 6-2, 7-5 at Wimbledon in 2009. Kuznetsova will be hard pressed to turn the tide, as she seems to be on the downside of her career at 26 years old. The Russian has slipped to 19th in the world. She retired from a Sydney match last week due to heat-related illness and she is coming off two tough matches - a three-setter against Chanelle Scheepers and a tight two-setter against Sloane Stephens.

Pick: Lisicki

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