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Australian Open: Medvedev could be the man in Melbourne

Daniil Medvedev finished last season on a high as he got his first taste of Grand Slam glory at the US Open in September and the world number two looks the leading candidate to follow up with victory at the Australian Open.

The great and the good have assembled in Melbourne for the year's opening major, with all the action available on the Sports Live Streaming platform.

Medvedev may take some stopping

The Russian hard-court specialist was runner-up to Novak Djokovic in Melbourne last year, but went one better when exacting his revenge on the Serb in New York.

With that maiden Major title under his belt, Medvedev could take his performances to a new level and the 25-year-old is 6/4 to start the year with a bang.

The Moscow man has the benefit of being housed in the opposite half of the draw to Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, Rafael Nadal and Matteo Berrettini, which only aids his title chances.

Medvedev, who is already a 13-time winner on the ATP Tour, has lost only four of his last 29 hard-court matches. He is also likely to have few concerns before teeing up a potential quarter-final clash with compatriot Andrey Rublev or Felix Auger Aliassime - he thrashed the Canadian 6-4 6-0 in the ATP Cup earlier this month.

Casper Ruud, Jannik Sinner or Stefanos Tsitsipas may be lurking in the last four but Medvedev has never lost to Ruud or Sinner, while he leads Tsitsipas 5-1 on his favoured surface.

The second seed is 4/5 to reach his fourth Grand Slam final and 33/1 to win the tournament without dropping a set.

Djokovic blow enhances Zverev's credentials

With Djokovic now a confired absentee from the action in Melbourne, that could open the door for German sensation Zverev alittle wider.

The 24-year-old has always looked destined for big things and his temperament is finally starting to match his talent.

Zverev has all the weapons required to be a huge success and he has been a model of consistency in Grand Slam events over the last two seasons to suggest his time may be fast approaching.

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The world number three has made three semi-finals and a final from his last seven Grand Slam appearances and has reached at least the fourth round on every occasion.

Zverev did, however, show his capabilities when claiming Olympic gold in Tokyo last summer, as well as winning the  ATP World Tour Finals at the expense of Medvedev in November.

The German is 3/1 to clinch a first Grand Slam trophy in Melbourne and is 11/8 to reach the final, just as he did at the US Open in 2020.

Super Spaniard Nadal looks vulnerable

Nadal is locked level with Djokovic and Roger Federer - who is also not taking part in Australia - on 20 Grand Slam titles, although 13 of those have been won at his beloved French Open.

In fact, the Spaniard has won the Australian Open only once in his career and that success came way back in an epic five-setter with old foe Federer in 2009.

Now fast approaching his 36th birthday, it would be a tough ask for Nadal to end that lengthy losing run and he will be well aware that a better opportunity awaits in Paris in May.

Nadal, who has slipped down to sixth in the world rankings, is 7/1 to prove his doubters wrong and lift the silverware, while he is 7/2 to reach the final - he has finished runner-up in Melbourne on four occasions.

The Mallorcan would be vulnerable against Hubert Hurkacz in the fourth round and if he comes through that, then the quarter-final clash with Zverev may then be beyond him.

Meanwhile, Greek world number four Tsitsipas, who has made the semi-final here in two of the last three years, and improving Italia Sinner are 20/1, while rising Russian star Rublev is a 33/1 chance.

Teenage sensation Alcaraz out to spring a surprise

With all the uncertainty surrounding Djokovic and Federer, Dominic Thiem, Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka all notable absentees, there could be room for an upset if Medvedev falters.

One outsider to consider would be 50/1 shot Auger Aliassime, who is finally starting to live up to his initial promise and go deep in headline events.

The 21-year-old made the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last year, before reaching the last four at the US Open, but a first title still evades him.

Another lively longshot could be 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who defeated Cameron Norrie and Tsitsipas on his way to the last eight at the US Open.

The Spaniard is already a winner on the ATP Tour and he was mighty impressive when beating American Sebastian Korda to win the Next Gen ATP Finals in November.

The youngster is available at 40/1 for victory in Melbourne and there is a lot to like about his chance providing he can navigate his way past seventh seed Matteo Berrettini in round three.

Polish world number ten Hurkacz has shown he has a game well suited to this surface and can't be completely written off at 66/1, while home favourite Nick Kyrgios should have plenty of support and may have his backers at 100/1 given the raw talent he possesses.

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