Young vs. Djokovic
|Date & Time||Monday January 15, 2018, 10:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Novak Djokovic and Donald Young meet in the first round of the 2018 Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic makes his return, as he hasn’t played since Wimbledon due to an elbow injury. Djokovic managed to produce a 30-8 record last season, but he wasn’t the consistent, dominant player he was in the past, and there was a lot of up and down play despite the victories. With so much time off from the sport, it’s going to be interesting to see just how much rust there is for Djokovic. Obviously, if he’s off to a fast start and looks good, Djokovic has to be a favorite to win this title, something he’s done six times. Djokovic hasn’t lost in the first round of a grand slam since the 2006 Australian Open. Djokovic has won 10 of his last 13 matches on hard court.
Donald Young has one match under his belt in 2018, which was a three set loss to Joao Sousa in Auckland. Young was very inconsistent last year and lost 13 matches on outdoor hard court. Young has been one of those players who has struggled to reach his full potential, but he has shown flashes of it throughout his career and can be a dangerous player when he’s hitting his spots and playing with confidence. Of course, those moments are few and far between. Young has three career wins over top-10 players, but none of those victories have taken place since 2015. Young has lost in the first round of a grand slam five times since 2015. Young has lost five of his last six matches on hard court.
These two have played twice, and Djokovic has won both meetings. The most recent match was last year in Nottingham, a match he won in straight sets. The other match took place in 2006.
This is an interesting first round match, as everybody knows what Djokovic brings to the table, but there’s obvious questions about his health and form. Young has been an afterthought the last couple of years, but he is a talented player capable of putting up a fight. The obvious pick here is Djokovic, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Young could steal a set or make it three competitive sets.