A week that began in fine style at the Shanghai Rolex Masters has tailed off in the last couple of days and we’re on the back foot as we head into the championship match on Sunday.
Saturday’s semi-finals were punctuated with the odd breathtaking point, but were essentially defined by pretty poor displays from both vanquished players. First up, Tomas Berdych spent more time arguing with the umpire than focusing on his tennis and was taken down in straight sets by Novak Djokovic, who himself was patchy but less so than the Berdman.
Against Andy Murray, Roger Federer delivered a display that I doubt he’ll be able to take any real positives from. His serving was poor, including three consecutive double faults in one game and his returning was straight out of the John Isner book of how not to receive serve. At one point things became so bleak for the world number one that he engineered a rain delay with about four spots of rain on the court, but even that display of weak umpiring failed to turn the tide in the Swiss’s favour.
Murray was hardly in superb touch, but he was more effective than Federer despite a low first serve percentage himself. Other than one memorable rally it was an encounter that won’t live too long in the memory banks of most observers.
So, it’s a repeat of this year’s US Open final at 9.30 am UK time on Sunday when Murray bids for his third consecutive Shanghai Masters title against first time finalist here Djokovic. It will be their 16th career meeting in all, with Djokovic leading 8-7 at the moment but Murray has won the last two, which were huge matches at the Olympics and US Open.
Djokovic has been arguably the most in-form player on show this week, but Murray appears to be peaking at the right time after struggling with a virus earlier in the week. The stats on this tend to suggest that it will be quite a quick final, as all bar two of their completed best-of-three matches have been decided in two, but I feel that this one will go all the way to a decider.
The betting options to consider therefore are the 2-1 Murray win at 4.80 or likewise for Djokovic at 4.10 and the overs in total games at a mark of 23.5 at a price of 1.95.
The player that has won the first set has almost always gone on to win the match in previous encounters, with only their very first tour level match in Madrid back in 2006 bucking that trend. So the last 14 times in a row the winner has been the guy that grabbed the opening set.
Both players will be determined to prevail in this match, with Murray seeking to keep his perfect record in this tournament intact and preserve his recent good record over Nole, while the Serb will be very keen indeed to exact a bit of revenge for the loss of his US Open title.
Murray represents the best value in a straight outright match bet at around 2.45, but I think he’ll have to go to a decider to win at so I’m with the bigger price of 4.85 about a 2-1 win for the Scot.
Back Murray to beat Djokovic 2-1 at 4.85