The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals continues its round robin stage on Thursday night, with Group B qualification set to be decided.
All four players can still qualify from the group at the current time, but the situation will be much clearer once the afternoon match between Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic has been completed.
Wednesday’s best bet was an easy winner when Novak Djokovic overcame the loss of the opening two games to rout Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 6-0 to land the minus 4.5 handicap on the Serb.
It was a fine performance from Djokovic and made it eight consecutive straight sets wins at the 2014 World Tour Finals after another hopeless performance from Marin Cilic had allowed Tomas Berdych a 2-0 win in the afternoon session.
This 23rd career clash between the Swiss and the Scot kicks off at around 20:00 UK time and on current form it looks yet another one that should go the way of the favourite.
Both meetings between this pair in 2014 have gone the way of Federer, with fairly comfortable wins in Melbourne and Cincy for the Swiss, who has beaten Murray three times at this tournament.
Indeed, on indoor hard Murray hasn’t beaten Federer since 2008 and the Scot hasn’t shown much in his first two matches to suggest that he’s likely to buck that trend today.
Against Milos Raonic Murray defeated an opponent whose serve and forehand had deserted him, but still almost went the distance, while in his opening match not a lot went right.
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The main problem for Murray, as ever, is his second serve, which Raonic failed to punish due to a wild night on his forehand, but one would think that Federer will be more accurate.
In which case Murray will need to serve very well to protect that second serve and I’m not too sure that he’s up to it at the moment, as his 2-9 record against top-five ranked opponents in 2014 shows.
Federer, in fairness, hasn’t set the world alight in this tournament either, with wins over a nervy Raonic and a very out of sorts Nishikori in his two matches here so far, but he hasn’t needed to do a great deal.
Much in this match may depend on the result of the 14:00 match and it’s worth checking the rather complicated qualification scenario at http://www.barclaysatpworldtourfinals.com/en/news-and-media/tennis/final... before betting in this one.
The likelihood is that Murray will need to win and win well to qualify and I don’t see that happening.
A more likely scenario is that Federer, who can still the season as the number one in the world, will take this in a couple of tightish sets or possibly in three, but we’re yet to see a deciding set this week.
The under 101.5 total minutes appeals here at 1.87 if there’s little on it after the afternoon match, but I prefer an odds-against shot here of Federer to win this minus 3.5 games at 2.08.
Matches between these two are rarely close, despite the 11-11 career record, and one tends to win comfortably.
All of Fed’s 11 wins over Murray have been by a margin of four games or more and they don’t tend to play many tie breaks either, so the game handicap and under 0.5 tie breaks at 1.87 appeal here.
Best Bet: Back Federer -3.5 games to beat Murray at 2.08