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Fed Express on track to make Melbourne final

Vandeweghe good value to defeat compatriot

Roger Federer is aiming for a first Melbourne final since 2010
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Day eleven
Eurosport, 8am & midnight

Federer v Wawrinka
Swiss duo Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka clash for the 22nd time with the prize at stake being the first player through to the Australian Open men’s singles final.

Both players appear to be performing at, or near, their peak and Wawrinka was in stunning form as he swept aside Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who himself had been in great nick, 7-6 6-4 6-3 in the quarter-finals.

Federer has dropped sets against only Jurgen Melzer and Kei Nishikori and the longtime world number one, who defeated Andy Murray’s conqueror Mischa Zverev 6-1 7-5 6-2 in the last eight, insists he can win his first title down under since 2010.

A Federer v Rafael Nadal final had incredibly been available at a whopping 100-1, but the former Big Two were just 3-1 to clash in Sunday’s showpiece after Zverev’s exit.

Wawrinka should be much more relaxed on court after adding the US Open to his Grand Slam title roster in September.

He’s unlikely to claim a full house of Slams by winning Wimbledon so with the pressure of victory at Flushing Meadows now behind him, coach Magnus Norman will be pushing his charge to press on and collect as many Slams as he possibly can in Melbourne, Paris and New York.

But however well Wawrinka is playing, there are few tougher assignments for him than against compatriot Federer.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion leads their personal series 18-3 and you get the feeling it’s only their current rankings – Wawrinka is world number four while Federer has dropped to 17th – that prevents the great man being priced shorter for this clash.

Wawrinka has dropped sets in recent days against only Martin Klizan and Viktor Troicki, and has been well supported to make the Melbourne final since conquering Tsonga.

However, it is worth remembering that Stan’s three wins against Roger have all come on clay.

Even if Federer, who has won all of the last five sets the pair have contested, does not triumph easily on this occasion, it’s only reasonable to believe he could tough it out and triumph should the match go to a deciding fifth set.

For that reason, a Federer win looks great value.

Recommendation
R Federer
2pts 8-11 Hills

Vandeweghe v V Williams

It’s definitely going to be ‘V for victory’ in the first of the women’s semi-finals and it can pay to plump for Coco Vandeweghe to defeat fellow American Venus Williams and reach her first Grand Slam singles final.

Opposing Williams, one of the finest female players to have ever graced a tennis court, is not done lightly.

But it finally looks to have clicked for Vandeweghe, who has been threatening to take a Slam by storm in the last couple of years, and like an express train thundering down the tracks she could be difficult to stop.

Venus, at 36 the older of the tennis-playing sisters, has worked wonders to return to the last four at Melbourne Park for the first time since 2003, the only year she has ever reached the Australian Open final which she lost to sister Serena.

Former world number one Venus will give her all in her quest to snaffle one of the two Slam singles titles that still elude her – the other being the French Open – but Vandeweghe’s immense potential is hard to ignore.

As is the way in which she crushed world number one and 2016 Aussie Open superstar Angelique Kerber 6-2 6-3 in the last 16 and current Roland Garros queen Garbine Muguruza 6-4 6-0 in the quarter-finals, Venus may struggle to keep tabs on her 25-year-old rival.

Vandeweghe should feel she can defeat anyone in the wake of her two latest singles outings and this looks a good time to have some faith in her.

Recommendation
C Vandeweghe
2pts 8-11 Betfair, Hills, Paddy Power

The 17-time Grand Slam champion leads their personal series 18-3 and you get the feeling it’s only their current rankings that prevents the great man being priced shorter for this clash
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