US Open Men’s round one: Murray starts against controversial Kyrgios
Andy Murray (7/2 second-favourite) begins his US Open campaign in search of a second title here, after his success in 2012, against the most talked-about tennis player on tour right now in Nick Kyrgios.
However, all the press regarding the Aussie has been in a negative way, after the youngster attempted a mid-match sledge aimed at Stan Wawrinka and involving two other professionals in the process.
Despite Kyrgios’ (11/2 to cause a shock) recent controversies, he still represents a tough first round test for Murray (1/10 odds-on favourite), having reached two Grand Slam quarter-finals already as a teenager. The Scot is 11/4 to triumph 3-1, though.
Murray is not the only one to face a tricky opener, though, as double US Open champion Rafael Nadal (1/7 for victory) will have to duel with Croatian wonderkid Borna Coric (4/1).
The 14-time Grand Slam winning Spaniard has not had an enjoyable season, going out early in the second round at Wimbledon, and could be up against it here too.
World number one and recent Wimbledon winner Novak Djokovic, meanwhile, opens up against Brazilian Joao Souza, and is so heavily odds-on at 1/200 that it’s practically assured he’ll get through with ease. The top seed Serb’s price of 11/10 to win his second Flushing Meadows trophy is far more enticing.
As for five-time US Open champion Roger Federer (4/1 title chance), who keeps showing that age is just a number after a brilliant lead up to this event, he meets Leonardo Mayer up first, and is heavily odds-on at 1/50 to beat him.
It might be a surprise to first mention the defending champion so far down, but Marin Cilic is heavily unfancied at 66/1 to retain the title. The Croat (1/10) does, however, face an easy opener against Argentine qualifier Guido Pella (11/2).
Other top names in action in the Men’s section include Milos Raonic, Grigor Dimitrov, David Ferrer and last year’s runner-up Kei Nishikori in the top half of the draw. They face respective opponents Tim Smyczek, Matthew Ebden, Radu Albot and Benoit Paire. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, meanwhile, has a tasty tie against Finnish veteran Jarkko Nieminen.
In the bottom half, French Open champion Stan Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych are the others to look out for, and they take on Albert Ramos-Vinolas and wildcard Bjorn Fratangelo respectively. Thanasi Kokkinakis’ (4/1) battle with Richard Gasquet (1/7), though, stands out the most.
There are only three Brits in the Men’s singles section, including Murray, and James Ward and Aljaz Bedene will be aiming to fly the flag into the second round at least.
Ward (11/4 to win), who broke into the top 100 for the first time after his exploits at Wimbledon, duels with Thomaz Bellucci, while Slovenian-born Bedene (11/8) is up against Ernst Gulbis.
Coral’s top tip: Despite Kyrgios’ recent controversies, he has a point to prove and can take a set off Murray. Back the Scot @ 11/4 to win 3-1.