US Open Tennis Semi-Final Previews

There was a notable lack of market confidence behind Andy Murray retaining his US Open crown over the past week and it wasn’t the greatest surprise in the world when his quest came to an abrupt end in last night’s quarter-final against Stanislas Warwrinska.

What was shocking, however, was the manner of his defeat to the Swiss number two. As the 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 scoreline suggests, it was a game that became more one-sided as it went on; it’s a long time since Murray lost a match so conclusively at this stage of a Grand Slam. Or so quickly – it was all done and dusted in a little over two hours.

But though many punters will put this surprise down mainly to an out-of-character lack-lustre display from the Scot, others will see it as another sign of the late flowering of a man who, for most of his career, has been living under compatriot Roger Federer’s giant shadow.

This sort of performance has been coming from Wawrinska and there may well be even better to come – both in this tournament and in Grand Slams to come.

An 80/1 chance with Coral before the start of play yesterday, Wawrinska is now an 11/1 shot to win the tournament and nobody will be looking at the ninth seed as a pushover in what remains of his bid for a first Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows, least of all Novak Djokovic, who now faces him in the semi-final.

Djokovic lost his first set of the fortnight against Mikhail Youzhny, but that only made him angry and he then won the next set 6-0 to wrap up the match and keep on course for the expected Final showdown with Rafael Nadal.

But first there is Wawrinka and the Serb will be treating this always dangerous opponent with even more respect than usual. Coral go 2/9 Djokovic, 100/30 Wawrinka, odds that promise a hard-fought encounter that could go all the way (3-2 Djokovic is 5/1).

The other semi-final looks a good deal more straightforward. Nadal has been pretty impressive in New York and gave the distinct impression that he was close to his very best again when brushing aside his countryman, Tommy Robredo (who had knocked Roger Federer out in straight sets in the previous round) in the quarter-finals for the loss of just four games.

His semi-final opponent, Richard Gasquet, has done extremely well to make it so far, but this is surely the end of the line for the Frenchman. Coral go 1/20 Nadal and 2/5 that he wins in straight sets.

US Open outright betting: 5/6 Nadal, 5/4 Djokovic, 11/1 Wawrinka, 50 Gasquet.

In the Women’s tournament, the top two seeds and favourites, Serena Williams (4/9) and Victoria Azarenka (5/2), would seem to be heading for an inevitable date in Sunday’s Final, but first they need to negotiate tricky semi-final ties against Li Na and Flavia Pennetta respectively.

Written by Jon Freeman