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Murray’s time has come as Djokovic gets through tough semi

| 10.09.2012

The time has come for Andy Murray to finally end his – and the British public’s – wait for a major title.

The script seemed written for him when he defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semi-final at Wimbledon in July, only for the old master Roger Federer to come back from losing the first set and crush the hearts of those watching.

Those very same hearts were soon won over again by the defeated Murray, however, whose raw emotion in defeat endeared him to a section of the tennis-following crowd who’d previously found him cold and moody.

Seemingly buoyed by his new-found appeal, Murray was sublime in dispatching Novak Djokovic and then Federer in straight sets to claim a gold medal at the Olympics, at the same venue and only weeks later. Any doubts over his mental strength were banished.

Now Murray, 2/1 to win his first major, finds himself in his second successive major final, having won the affection of the Flushing Meadows crowd with wins over the likes of Raonic, Cilic and Berdych.

Although he’s not matched the same fluidity as he managed at Wimbledon, he’s shown plenty of power and an undoubtedly Ivan Lendl-inspired greater tactical nous. His tactical gameplans have been flawless even when he’s failed to reach top form.

Lendl has gained many plaudits for Murray’s noticeable improvement since appointing the Czech as coach in January, and Murray’s four previous Grand Slam final losses offer an intriguing parallel with his coach. Lendl himself lost his first four major finals, before claiming the French Open in 1984, then going on to win a further seven majors.

His opponent on Monday, Novak Djokovic, has fallen to second in the men’s singles rankings but was at his supreme best in getting through a tricky, and delayed, semi-final against David Ferrer. Murray will be happy with the extra rest and will take great impetus from his 7-5 7-5 victory over the Serb at the Olympics, but Djokovic holds the overall edge with eight wins compared to the Scot’s six.

Tantalisingly though, on hard court the record read five wins all. Djokovic hasn’t quite reached the heights of 2011, when he won three of the four Grand Slams. He lost to Rafael Nadal in the final of the French Open this year, Federer saw him off in the Wimbledon semi while his Olympics defeat to Murray was followed by a loss to Juan Martin Del Potro in the bronze match.

But given his experience of Grand Slam wins, the Serb remains the outright favourite at 2/5. Nonetheless, Murray is in the best shape and form of his career, and if he is ever to win a major, it will be in New York on Monday – he’s 2/1 to win.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.



Alexis James