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Murray faces Federer with ATP Tour finals semi spot in balance

Andy Murray, Coral’s 14/1 joint third-favourite to win the ATP World Tour finals, faces 11/4 title chance Roger Federer in his final Group B game, and history has these two tennis titans tied on 11 wins apiece.

A Grand Slam winner on 17 occasions, Swiss sporting icon Federer has won both of the last two meetings on hard courts.

More worryingly for Great Britain’s Murray, though, is his opponent has beaten him at this end of season event on three previous occaisons, dropping just a single set at the Tour Finals.

It’s no wonder, then, that Federer is odds-on at 2/5 to win their latest meeting and even-money to do so in straight sets, while Murray is setting no expectations of himself.

“I’ve played a lot of matches in the last six or seven weeks and was really happy to qualify for the Finals,” Murray said in his BBC column. “Having worked so hard to get here, I thought I’d try my best to enjoy this week and not put too much pressure on myself.”

Murray, meanwhile, is a 2/1 outsider to upset the world number two, but even a defeat with the right result in the other group game could send him through.

Should Murray and Japanese sensation Kei Nishikori both record a second win of the stage, or even more complex still if those two lose and Milos Raonic posts a single victory in this round robin, then it all comes down to sets won and dropped, or even those stats for games.

Nishikori’s battle with Raonic is up first, so at least Murray will know what he needs to do before tackling Federer. In that other Group B contest, it’s Japan’s rising star that holds a distinct advantage.

Raonic, who represents Canada, despite being born in what is modern day Montengero, has never beaten Nishikori on a hard surface, although all three meetings on such courts have gone the distance.

Back Nishikori, then, to win by two sets to one at 11/4, as that is much more attractive than his outright match victory price of an odds-on 8/13.

Tournament rank outsider Raonic (100/1), meanwhile, is 5/4 to buck the trend and record only his second career defeat of Nishikori.