Novak Djokovic will take on Alexander Zverev in a hotly anticipated quarterfinal at the Australian Open, and Tim Henman thinks it won’t be an easy match for the world number one.
Zverev, currently world number seven, has only dropped one set all tournament and has looked more assured and confident on court than ever on his way to the final eight.
Meanwhile Djokovic, has had two four-set matches and picked up an abdominal injury in his third round tie which he struggled to play through eventually winning in five sets.
Indeed Djokovic himself had placed a doubt on whether he would be able to recover in time to continue competing in the tournament but showed incredible resilience to beat Milos Raonic and book his quarterfinal place.
Now with the players going into battle for a precious Grand Slam semi-final spot, Djokovic has the overall head to head advantage winning five of their previous seven matches.
But with Djokovic gunning for his 18th Major title and Zverev going for his first, Eurosport analyst Tim Henman believes it could be closer than expected.
“Do I think Djokovic is the favourite? Yes” said Henman.
“I think if you take out any clay tournaments that Nadal is playing, then I think Djokovic is the favourite at every tournament he plays.
“He’s the number one player in the world, his record in Australia is incredible, so yes he’s the favourite right now.
“When you look at his draw, I think the Zverev match is going to be difficult because Zverev has been serving a lot better.
“Zverev’s serve has been unreliable in the past, in the early part of this season and in this tournament, his second serve looks more reliable.
“His first serve is very powerful and consistent. From the back of the court he’s hitting very hard from both sides.
“The quarterfinal is not an easy match for Djokovic, but if he comes through that match, I think the semi final is a great opportunity against either Dimitrov or Karatsev.
At the end of the day, you can never take things for granted at this stage of a tournament. Everybody to get this far, is playing great tennis, there’s not going to be easy matches.
When asked if Djokovic’s injury could affect the match, Henman said that without all of the details, it’s hard to give an answer.
“The honest answer is that we are all guessing. We don’t know because we cannot understand, is Djokovic restricted by 20% or 10% or 1%?
“He did very well to recover and beat Raonic, who is a very very good player and Djokovic has a good record.
“Anytime that Djokovic steps out on to the court, he’s going to be ready to compete. That’s the amount that we know, so I have to say he’s still the favourite.”
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