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Djokovic and Osaka to continue domination in Australian Open

From Maria Collins, October 2020

 

Novak Djokovic was recently defeated by Rafael Nadal in the final of the French Open, however, the Serbian may be able to add to his Grand Slam tally during the 2021 Australian Open in January.


 

Djokovic has prevailed in Melbourne on eight occasions, and he will be relishing the return to the hard courts in the Australian city at the start of the new calendar year.

It's been a tough end to 2020 for the world number one. He was defaulted from the US Open after accidentally hitting a judge with a ball in the last 16 of his match with Pablo Carreno Busta. He then had no answer for Nadal on the clay in Paris, losing in straight sets in the final of the French Open.

In spite of this, Djokovic is 11/10 in the betting for the Australian Open. When you consider he has lost just three times in this tournament over the last 10 years, those odds look very generous.

The 33-year-old is now three Grand Slams behind his long-time rivals Nadal and Roger Federer in the record tally count. He will be motivated to, at the very least, close that gap in 2021 with the intention of ending his career with the record to himself.

The biggest challenge at the Australian Open in 2021 is likely to come from Nadal. Djokovic will be the favourite to prevail against the Spaniard on this surface, so expect to see a different result from the one-sided affair at Roland-Garros.

Osaka Can Claim Her Fourth Grand Slam in Women's Tournament

In the women's tournament at the Australian Open, the bookmakers go 8/1 the field which suggests this is a very difficult competition to pick the winner of. Naomi Osaka is a name which is coming up with some regularity, having been the 2020 US Open winner, Naomi Osaka missed the French Open through injury but she should return in Melbourne.

The former world number one is still just 22 years old and so her best tennis is most likely ahead of her. Osaka appears to be the most likely player on the WTA Tour to cement her place as the best in the sport, and a fourth Grand Slam win would help her into that position.

As it stands, Osaka is the 8/1 favourite in the outright market and is the most likely winner. The break she has had following her success at Flushing Meadows may have been what she needed following a long and hard season.

The Japanese-born star had wins over Elina Svitolina, Karolina Plisikova, and Petra Kvitova when she won in Melbourne in 2019, beating the latter in three sets in the final. Given that this was almost two years ago, she is arguably a much better player now as she has only a few weaknesses in her game.

Osaka is definitely at her best on hard courts. As her career progresses, she is likely to get much better on clay and grass, but for now, she is ready to win more Grand Slams in Australia and the US.

The 2021 Australian Open begins on the 18th January, with the women's and men's finals scheduled for the 30th January and 31st January respectively.