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Andy Murray on course to retain US Open title?

Everything appears to be going pretty much to script with the men in the US Open as Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic continue to dominate in New York.

The three top-ranked players in the world have had few problems progressing to the quarter-finals and everybody seems pretty sure that one of them will lift the trophy next Monday – Coral go 6/5 Nadal, 6/4 Djokovic and 100/30 Murray.

Murray’s odds would appear to be somewhat generous on the face of it; after all he is the reigning US Open Champion as well as the winner of the most recent Grand Slam (Wimbledon). But his price reflects the extremely tough tasks he is likely to face over the weekend; the usual titanic clash with Djokovic in the semi-final and then, if successful, a final showdown against Nadal.

And that, of course, is if he manages to get by Stanislas Wawrinka in tomorrow’s quarter-final, not a formality by any means. The ninth seed has beaten Murray five times in 13 meetings down the years, including when knocking him out of the US Open in 2010 and when brushing him aside in straight sets on clay in the Monte Carlo Masters earlier this year.

Coral rate Murray a 1/5 chance to beat Wawrinka and 6/5 to do so in straight sets, but this could be a much closer encounter than those odds suggest and the Scot might even be taken all the way (5/1).

In contrast, neither Nadal nor Djokovic are expected to be troubled in their quarter-final matches. Nadal is 1/25 to overcome fellow Spaniard Tommy Robredo (1/3 in straight sets). Robredo stunned Roger Federer in the previous round and the former world number five, now into his thirties, is clearly enjoying a renaissance, but, sad to relate, a victory over Federer is not the scalp it was and Nadal will be a different proposition altogether.

Djokovic is 1/33 to make the last four against Mikhail Youzhny, but the fourth quarter-final, between David Ferrer (2/5) and Richard Gasquet (2/1) should be tighter. Gasquet did extremely well to get past the big-hitting Milos Raonic in a five-set thriller in the last round, but this may be a step to far for the Frenchman. Ferrer in four sets (11/4) looks a decent call.

It seems quite likely that the top four men’s seeds will make the semi-finals and it also seems fairly certain that the two top seeded women, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, will be facing each other across the net in Saturday’s final, a repeat of 2012.

Williams (4/9) won her quarter-final game without losing a game and should now prove too strong for Li Na, while Azarenka (5/2) has also been impressive and doesn’t have much to fear in what’s left of her half of the draw.

Written by Jon Freeman