Murray looking mint in Oz
Catching up with latest from the Australian Open
British tennis ace Andy Murray seems to be gathering pace as he targets what would be his first Australian Open title, after finishing as runner-up five times, including in each of the last two-years.
The 29-year-old Scot, now a Sir, if you please, continued his progress in Melbourne with a one-sided win over American Sam Querrey in the third-round courtesy of a 6-4,6-2,6-4 result, getting the job done in under two-hours to maximise his recovery for the last-sixteen.
Murray fancied in the last 16
The Scot now sizes up German Mischa Zverev, an opponent currently ranked number 50 in the world. We can take little for granted in this competition – we’ll speak more about that later – but British tennis fans, and punters too, would see anything less than another straightforward win as a bit of a disaster. Coral traders seem to agree, offering a Murray win at 1/50 against Zverev’s 14/1, while another 3-0 in the set betting market is 3/10.
Those looking to have him in the outright market, to go one better than last time and finally get his hands on the trophy, will find 5/6 favourite at the time of writing.
Djokovic out on his ear
That price is short because of the upset of the week, which no one saw coming, in Novak Djokovic being eliminated in the early exchanges.
The six-time Australian Open champ, who came here chasing three in-a-row, was tossed out on his ear by little-known Denis Istomin, an opponent ranked 117 in the world. In a battle just shy of five-hours, Novak struggled to find his rhythm, but no one imagined the plucky underdog would see it through, with the final score reading 7-6, 5-7, 2-6, 7-6, 6-4.
It was only the second time in seven years that Djokovic has tasted defeat against a player currently sitting outside of the top-100 and the shocked loser could do little but admit in his post-match media chat that there was no doubt the final result was deserved.
Istomin will now pair off against Pablo Carreno Busta over the course of the weekend, and he has been chalked up at 2/1 to record another upset and eliminate the Spaniard. Istomin to win it, well that’s a bit of a fairy-tale isn’t it? The market thinks so too and gives 150/1 on him to shake up the world.
Fed-Ex still delivering on time
Roger Federer was also a popular winner on Thursday, beating 10th seed Tomas Berdych into submission to bag a place in the next round. The vastly experienced 35-year-old, who has lifted this title four times, but not since 2010, continues to find his feet following injury.
He showed no ill-effects vs the Czech however, strolling to a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 win, taking just over 90-minutes to get the job done. In what was billed as a tricky tie before the off, Fed-Ex looked in control throughout and although he is not without his doubters these days, he has retained the kind of composure that saw him become a legend in the game.
Federer is now expected to play Nishikori on Sunday, and the market seems to be finally taking his chances seriously, with 4/7 doing the rounds at Coral about him winning again, while outright success catches the eye at our bulky 10/1 offer.