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American Frances Tiafoe will face his first actual take a look at of the Australian Open on Thursday evening. The World No. 16 will tackle fellow 2022 US Open semifinalist and World No. 20 Karen Khachanov for a spot within the Spherical of 16.
The whole lot within the numbers recommend it is a shut match, and bookmakers agree, as Tiafoe is at present sitting as a slight -115 favourite to beat Khachanov.
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Karen Khachanov performs a backhand of their spherical two singles matchGetty Photos
Australian Open: Khachanov vs. Tiafoe prediction (3 a.m. ET, ESPN+)
Neither Tiafoe nor Khachanov have actually been underneath stress but within the first Grand Slam of the season. Tiafoe defeated Daniel Altmaier in 4 units in Spherical 1 after which shortly swept apart J.C. Shang in Spherical 2.
These victories continued a terrific run for Tiafoe because the US Open. Not solely did he make the semifinals in Flushing, however he carried that kind into the late levels of 2022 by making a run to the quarterfinals on the Paris Masters after which to the finals in Tokyo. Tiafoe is now 7-0 in 2023, although 5 of these victories got here within the United Cup, so you’ll be able to take the outcomes with a grain of salt.
Both means, it’s fairly clear to anybody following tennis that Tiafoe is a distinct participant than the one we noticed get eradicated within the second spherical at this occasion in 2022.
Like Tiafoe, Khachanov has not likely needed to break a sweat via the primary two rounds. He dispatched Bernabe Zapata Miralles in straight units after which acquired by a difficult opponent, Jason Kubler, within the Spherical of 64.
Each Tiafoe and Khachanov need to dictate their matches with their first serve, and up to now, they’ve been capable of do exactly that. Each gamers have confronted a complete of 12 break factors via their first two contests, however these numbers ought to tick up significantly on Thursday evening.
Each of those gamers needs to be brimming with confidence after making it to the semifinal on the final Grand Slam, but it surely’s Tiafoe who appears to carry the betting worth as only a slight favourite.
Frances Tiafoe of the United StatesGetty Photos
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Whereas we have now a fairly good concept of the place the ceiling is for Khachanov and know that he can elevate his sport to an elite stage at occasions, we might be simply initially of the Tiafoe ascendancy, which implies the numbers we’re utilizing to handicap (and set odds for) his matches are literally underrating the Maryland native, who appears to relish these Grand Slam moments now.
As the percentages recommend, it is a tight match that can doubtless be selected the margins, however Tiafoe ought to have sufficient solutions for the questions he’s requested in Melbourne tonight.
Australian Open Khachanov vs. Tiafoe choose
Frances Tiafoe -115 (BetMGM)