Novak Djokovic vs. Jannik Sinner Offers Dual Perspectives on No. 1 Seed

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(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Chase Kiddy @chaseakiddy Jul 06, 2022, 3:00 PM

With the Wimbledon quarterfinals now underway, we’re seeing more casual sports fans tuning in to big matches.

On Tuesday, social media was lighting up with a discussion of Wimbledon odds, as No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic advanced to his fourth straight Wimbledon semifinal.

He defeated No. 10 seed Jannik Sinner in a five-set onslaught, 5-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Next, he’ll play Cameron Norrie in the semifinal. 

To random tennis observers, all of this probably sounds about right. Djokovic has dominated the sport – particularly at Wimbledon – for years. Of course, he beat a decently high seed en route to another semifinal.

But there were nuances to this match that tennis fans – and tennis betting experts especially – will want to unpack.

Wimbledon Odds: How to Assess Novak Djokovic vs. Jannik Sinner

Last September, Djokovic was one win away from a calendar slam. After winning the Australian Open, the French Open, and Wimbledon, all he needed to do was defeat Daniil Medvedev in the U.S. Open championship. A win would give him the first single-year sweep of the four men’s majors since 1969.

Betting markets were awash with Djokovic tickets because people love to bet on history. But, instead, Medvedev won in straight sets.

The loss set off a strange year for Djokovic. He took two months off, eventually returning to the court in November to grab revenge over Medvedev in the Paris Masters championship. 

But he also lost to Alexander Zverev in the semifinal round of the ATP Finals. This year began with the well-documented Australian COVID fiasco, where he ultimately wasn’t even allowed to compete for the year’s first major. He’s been barred from other competitions, too.

Djokovic didn’t even play his first match in 2022 until the final week of February in Dubai. He lost to Jiri Vesely in the quarterfinals.

He lost to Andrey Rublev in the finals at his home tournament, ATP Belgrade. He lost to Carlos Alcaraz in Madrid and Nadal at Roland Garros.

Djokovic is a prolific tour player who doesn’t just stick to major tournaments and ATP 1000 events. He truly loves playing tennis. But he has looked noticeably more vulnerable this year than he typically does. 

Case in point: since 2011, there have only been three years where Djokovic has failed to win one of the first two major tournaments of the year. The most recent of those years was 2018.

Thus, it’s very possible that a five-set quarterfinal war with a good-but-not-great player like Sinner is yet another sign that Djokovic is just an inch or two more vulnerable in 2022.

Then again, reading into the Djokovich vs. Sinner match as more subprime Djokovic could be a huge mistake. Most experienced tennis odds bettors can tell you that one of the most profitable ways to bet Djokovic matches is to fade him on Set 1 lines. 

Djokovic is a notoriously slow starter, particularly late in tournaments with high stakes. Once he gets rolling, though, it’s very difficult to take him out in a fourth or fifth set. 

If a tennis betting expert told me they still felt supremely confident in Djokovic – especially on the Wimbledon grass – I would be hard-pressed to definitively disagree with them.

What I can say right now is that Djokovic is -400 to win his last two matches and claim his seventh career title at Wimbledon. The implied odds of that price suggest that Djokovic has an 80% chance to win the title.

This late in the tournament, it’s not good economic practice to get involved with such a heavy favorite. If you’re looking to bet, I would consider the price with Nick Kyrgios.

Djokovic might continue to win. Or, he might not. Djokovic vs. Sinner offers plenty of confirmation bias for both camps.  

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About the Author

Chase Kiddy

Read More @chaseakiddy

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.