Novak Djokovic vs Tommy Paul predictions: Super Serb a cut above
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Aaron Ashley
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Novak Djokovic will expect to beat the inexperienced Tommy Paul in the semi-finals of the Australian Open
Novak Djokovic will expect to beat the inexperienced Tommy Paul in the semi-finals of the Australian Open

- Novak Djokovic is a nine-time winner of the Australian Open 
- Djokovic has won his last 26 Australian Open matches 
- This is a first Grand Slam semi-final for world No35 Tommy Paul 
- Recommended bet: Tommy Paul to win under 11.5 games

While Djokovic has won 21 Grand Slam titles and been involved in 32 major finals, this is the first time Paul has made the last four — and that alone makes him a massive underdog.

Paul deserves serious credit for breaking new ground, but the American has profited from a soft draw, with 24th seed Roberto Bautista Agut being his highest-ranked scalp so far.

Now the 25-year-old must raise his level for the challenge of Djokovic, who is bidding to win the Australian Open on his fourth consecutive visit, having been absent for last year’s event.

On all nine occasions that the 35-year-old from Belgrade has reached the semi-final, he has gone on to land the title — and that looks like a likely scenario once again.

Djokovic operating at the top of his game

As the tournament has progressed, so has Djokovic, and, with the former world No1 going through the gears, Paul may be fearing the worst.

It has been far from a plain-sailing tournament for Djokovic, who dropped a set in beating Enzo Concaud in round two and then received a medical timeout when beating Grigor Dimitrov in the third round.

With heavy strapping on his left leg, many feared the worst for Djokovic in his pursuit of the title.

However, the Serb has quashed those concerns emphatically in his last two matches, first easing past home hope Alex De Minaur in straight sets and then repeating the trick against fifth seed Andrey Rublev.

Djokovic dropped just five games against De Minaur and then lost only seven in outclassing Rublev, suggesting he is well and truly back on track.

He has won his last 26 matches at the Australian Open and should extend that run against Paul, who can be expected to be overawed by the occasion.

Paul may struggle to handle the pressure

Paul has enjoyed a remarkable run to his first Grand Slam semi-final, becoming the first American to reach that feat at the Australian Open since Andy Roddick in 2009.

The Floridian defeated his younger compatriot Ben Shelton in four sets in the previous round, having also overcome another fellow American in Jenson Brooksby.

However, only two of Paul’s scalps have been seeded players, and even then, the highest-ranked player he has faced was world No23, Roberto Bautista Agut.

Paul needed four sets to see off Bautista Agut, and he also went the distance with Spanish 30th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

That does not bode well for a showdown with nine-time champion Djokovic and it is vital he adapts to the pressure of the situation immediately.

That is easier said than done against one of the greatest players of all time, though, and he has only four top-10 wins to his name during his career.

World No35 Tommy Paul will play in his first-ever Grand Slam semi-final against Novak Djokovic
World No35 Tommy Paul will play in his first-ever Grand Slam semi-final against Novak Djokovic

Prediction

Given the struggle De Minaur and Rublev faced against Djokovic, Paul could be blown away and a straight-set win looks likely for Djokovic.

Bettors may choose to play it safe with a 3-0 Djokovic win, which is available at 4/9 with LiveScore Bet, but perhaps they can consider going under the total on the American’s games.

Seeded stars De Minaur and Rublev are quality operators but they were blown away by Djokovic, winning only 12 games combined, so it is easy to envisage Paul struggling.

A straight-set win looks likely for Djokovic, and if he does, it would take some effort for the American to hit that total.

Back Paul to win under 11.5 games at 17/20 with LiveScore Bet.

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