Rafael Nadal Odds-On Favorite to Win 1st Quarter at Australian Open; Dominic Thiem 4-1 Odds

Rafael Nadal returns a ball.
Rafael Nadal is favored to win Quarter 1 at the 2020 Australian Open. Is he the right bet? Photo by Carine06 (Flickr).
  • Rafael Nadal has been to at least the semis in seven straight grand slams
  • Nadal is only 4-3 in his career against Nick Kyrgios
  • Dominic Thiem has never beaten Nadal on hard courts

The 2020 Australian Open draw has been announced and Rafael Nadal – one of the favorites to win the event – will have a tricky draw to navigate. While he’s still a heavy favorite to make it to the quarters, is anyone else in his section a better bet to win Quarter 1? Let’s take a closer look at the lines.

2020 Australian Open Men’s Singles 1st Quarter Odds

Player Odds at Bovada
Rafael Nadal -120
Dominic Thiem +400
Nick Kyrgios +500
Karen Khachanov +1600
Felix Auger-Aliassime +2000
Kevin Anderson +2000
Gael Monfils +2800
Pablo Carreno Busta +2800
Taylor Fritz +4000
Alex Bolt +10000
Aljaz Bedene +10000
Gilles Simon +10000
Vasek Posposil +10000
Ivo Karlovic +15000
James Duckworth +15000
Pablo Cuevas +15000
Adrian Mannarino +20000
Federico Delbonis +20000
Hugo Dellien +20000
Joao Sousa +20000
Lorenzo Sonego +20000
Mikael Ymer +20000
Yasutaka Uchiyama +40000

Odds taken Jan. 17

Thiem, Kyrgios in the Conversation

While Novak Djokovic’s quarter seems like he’ll be on cruise control into the quarters, Nadal’s quarter will have a few tests. That’s because Dominic Thiem and Nick Kyrgios are in Nadal’s draw as well as Russian Karen Khachanov. The first two are at 5/1 or shorter while Khachanov is at +1600; Djokovic’s draw only has one player inside of 20/1 to win his quarter.

At any rate, it would be a sizable upset if Nadal didn’t win this quarter as Thiem and Kyrgios are both a step down in quality. Thiem was just 9-5 on hard courts last season as he’s more of a clay-court specialist. He’s never made it past the fourth round at the Australian Open and has an overall record of 10-6 at the grand slam.

As for Kyrgios, the volatile Aussie has only made it to the quarterfinals once at the Australian Open, which was in 2015. Last year, he lost in the first round and hasn’t been past the fourth round in four years. However, unlike Thiem, hard courts are his best surface. He was 18-8 on hard courts last year.

The good news is Nadal is only 4-3 against Kyrgios and Kyrgios is 2-1 on hard courts. They’re 1-1 in grand slam meetings. At the same time, Kyrgios is so unpredictable that he could end up losing before he gets to Nadal. He just lost to Robert Bautista Agut in the ATP Cup Finals, losing in straight sets, and didn’t win more than two matches in any of his final four tournaments of 2019.

What’s Nadal’s Current Form?

Nadal has been a solid OK to start the year, which is a bit of a concern. He lost to Djokovic in the ATP Cup, which isn’t a big deal, but he also lost to David Goffin, which was a surprise. It’s a small-ish tournament but seeing him lose to Goffin is not a good sign. Nadal did finish the 2019 campaign on a tear, winning 42 of his final 45 matches.

In terms of recent grand slams, Nadal has been incredible as he’s been to the semis or later in seven straight grand slams. At the Australian Open, he’s been to the quarters or later in three straight and five of his last six.

What’s the Best Bet?

At -120, I’d have to take a shot with Nadal. Could he lose? Possibly. Is Thiem or Kyrgios or anyone else worth the price of admission? Absolutely not. If they win the quarter, I’ll tip my cap and lose the bet. However, Kyrgios is so inconsistent and Thiem is so vanilla on hard courts that I can’t trust either of them. The bet is Nadal.

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