Australian Open Picks & Predictions | Paul vs Kecmanovic, Cazaux vs Griekspoor (Friday, Jan. 19)

Australian Open Picks & Predictions | Paul vs Kecmanovic, Cazaux vs Griekspoor (Friday, Jan. 19) article feature image

Lillian Swuanrumpha/Getty. Pictured: Miomir Kecmanovic.

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Here is my analysis and Australian Open picks and predictions on Friday, Jan. 19, including Paul vs Kecmanovic and Cazaux vs Griekspoor.

We continue the third round of play in Melbourne, and with that the decisions become tougher as to where the best value on the card lies. I've picked out two live underdogs who I expect to have big days down under.

Let's get into how to bet these matches in my Australian Open predictions.

Match times are subject to change. Read here for advice on viewing Australian Open matches.

Australian Open Picks & Predictions

Tommy Paul (-285) vs Miomir Kecmanovic (+225)

8 p.m. ET

Tommy Paul enjoyed life down under last season, making his first career Grand Slam semifinal with a marathon run which included wins over the likes of Ben Shelton and Roberto Bautista-Agut.

Perhaps that's why he enters the big favorite here, but there's another man that seems to be comfortable stepping into familiar surroundings here in Melbourne Park — and that man's name is Miomir Kecmanovic.

It was here in 2022 that Kecmanovic began the best season of his career. He was bounced in the second round of Sydney by Aslan Karatsev, which was hardly an indicator of where his tennis was at given Kecmanovic went on to win the tournament. This season feels very similar, with Kecmanovic playing excellent tennis in the two weeks leading up and most recently making a second-round exit in Adelaide after running into the talented Jack Draper, who was a set up in the final.

Kecmanovic's run in 2022  began here, when he took out Paul in straight sets and then produced an excellent level against the pesky Lorenzo Sonego and Gael Monfils. From there, he would go on to defeat a whole host of top-20 names and even take Miami champion Carlos Alcaraz to a deciding tiebreaker in the second leg of the Sunshine Double.

That win over Paul is one of two that Kecmanovic has in their three meetings, and I think with the head-to-head coupled with a superb level of tennis you have to like his chances here a lot more than the oddsmakers do. He doesn't seem to be getting any respect despite raising his game to the heights we saw a couple of years ago in his breakthrough season. He's hitting relentlessly from the baseline and with some flatter groundstrokes should be able to hit through the defense of Paul — something Draper was only able to do late in their second-round encounter when his legs started to tire.

I'm not quite sure why the line here has moved against Kecmanovic — it could be fear of fatigue after a five-set win — but when all is equal between these two I think the Serb is the better player. Paul, too, hasn't looked quite as sharp as he did last season and I think he's in a very dangerous spot on Friday.

Pick: Kecmanovic ML (+230 via FanDuel)

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Arthur Cazaux (+140) vs Tallon Griekspoor (-170)

10 p.m. ET

Another exciting matchup during the afternoon in Melbourne features 21-year old Arthur Cazaux attempting to achieve a career-best result with a trip to the fourth round of a Grand Slam. The Frenchman has displayed incredible serving through his two matches here at the Australian Open, which haven taken him past an experienced baseliner in Laslo Djere and a top-1o player in Holger Rune.

Cazaux never gave Rune a way in on his serve, and against a player who lacks the same type of returning ability I think he should continue to prove capable of holding serve at a high rate. Griekspoor will also enter this match with a little bit of fatigue after a five-set battle in the first round against Roman Safiullin and a very physical four-set affair with Arthur Fils.

The support for the French here down under has been incredible, and you can also be sure that Cazaux will be able to feed off of the energy inside the intimate Court 3 to maintain a very high level of play. Griekspoor was one of the fastest risers on tour a season ago, but he's lacked consistency on the biggest stages and is in a very dangerous spot on Friday. I like taking the underdog here.

Pick: Cazaux ML (+140)

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