You could have written your own ticket on Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev making it to the final four in his debut major, but the world no. 1 Novak Djokovic has never lost a Semi Final at the Australian Open, and he’s not about to start now.
Here are The Wolf’s Australian Open tips for Day 11.
Novak Djokovic hasn’t been the most popular man this Australian Open, but once again the Serbian features in a Semi Final.
The world no. 1 probably hasn’t seen much of his upcoming opponent, with Aslan Karatsev now in a Grand Slam Semi Final in his first career major after his fairytale run continued when he got past an injured Grigor Dimitrov in the Quarters.
I’ve been proven wrong the last two matches, but the party’s really over. This fairytale run ends now.
Novak Djokovic is 8-0 in Australian Open Semi Finals across his career, with five of those eight wins coming in straight sets. Although seven of his wins have been against top ten opponents at the Semi Final stage, the one opponent ranked outside the top-ten he met in 2019 was Frenchman Lucas Pouille – the result, 6-0 6-2 6-2.
Although Novak is nowhere near his best and Alexander Zverev wasted a big chance to go 2-1 sets up in their Quarter Final, there’s no doubt the Serbian breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that he would face Karatsev instead of Dimitrov.
The Russian has started slowly in his last two matches against Dimitrov and FAA, so expect Djokovic to start strong and do enough in sets two and three to reach his ninth Australian Open Final.
It was a tricky Quarter Final for Jennifer Brady against countrywoman Jessica Pegula – a match The Wolf was happy to sit out of. But his $34 prediction for the women’s Australian Open crown was too good after a slow start and now faces Karolina Muchova.
Muchova upset Ash Barty, taking the momentum of the match coming out of a medical timeout which the Australian wasn’t able to get back.
But with one day break for both these players, it appeared the Quarter Final took more out of Muchova than it has Brady.
The Czech has been brave all tournament with wins over Barty, Mertens and Pliskova, but The Wolf thinks the in-form Brady will be her undoing.
These two have met once across their career back in 2019 on clay, with Muchova winning in a third set tie-breaker – both players were ranked 80+ at the time. Despite this, we know Brady is no good on the red dirt, so for her to force a third set tie-breaker in that match-up is promising.
The American has had a much easier run of it this Australian Open, and The Wolf expects the fresh legs and power of Brady to be too much for Muchova, clearing the 2.5 game handicap.
With big wins over Sabalenka and Halep, Serena is playing good enough tennis to beat Naomi Osaka in this Australian Open Semi Final.
The Japanese has had some tricky non-seeded opposition throughout the tournament, but ultimately only the one genuine test against Garbine Muguruza which the Spaniard really coughed up after leading a set and a break.
These two have met three times across their career with Osaka leading 2-1 – I’m sure we remember the infamous 2018 US Open Final. The last time they met, it was Serena winning in Toronto in 2019 in straight sets.
This is going to be a must-watch Semi Final, and although The Wolf can’t really fault Osaka aside from getting herself in a losing position against Muguruza in the Fourth Round, he feels that Serena is just carrying better momentum leading into this match with Osaka playing a soft Quarter Final against Su Wei Hsieh.
The Wolf’s expecting a Serena-Brady All-American Final, as predicted pre-tournament, with Serena getting past Osaka in the Semi in three sets.