The world’s number eight, Milos Raonic, finds himself in the first half of the draw in the Australian Open, which means that he’s not going to be in action until Tuesday – alongside players like Novak Djokovic or Stanislas Wawrinka.
Match: Milos Raonic vs Ilya Marchenko
Selection: Milos Raonic (-6.5 games)
Best Odds: 1.99 @ Pinnacle
His first round opponent, Ilya Marchenko, might look slightly threating on the account of his three victories in the qualifying section, but his chances of actually troubling the Canadian number one look rather slim. For one, he nearly lost against Marton Fucsovics in the second round of the qualifying section, which is rather worrying, as the young Hungarian is quite similar to Raonic in some respects.
If Fucsovics presented Marchenko with a lot of difficulties with his serve, one can be sure that the Ukrainian won’t be able to break Raonic with any sort of regularity. Not only is the Canadian much stronger than Fucsovics in the serve department, but he’s also much better than the Hungarian in virtually every single aspect of the game, with his forehand deserving special attention. In Brisbane, Raonic was able to use that weapon to a good effect against Roger Federer, so it seems to be a given that he’ll be able to do the same against Ilya Marchenko.
Unsurprisingly, the price for the Canadian to win is incredibly short, but shrewd punters should definitely consider backing him on the games handicap line, which currently stands at 6.5 games. The line may look high at first glance, but one shouldn’t forget that Raonic is a world-class player seeking to solidify his place inside the top 10, while Marchenko’s current goal is to get back into the top 100. Such is the gulf of class between the two players.