It’s the final of the Men’s Singles at Wimbledon 2016 on Sunday, with Andy Murray looking for a second title and third Grand Slam crown when he faces Milos Raonic.
Seven of the last 10 favourites have won in Wimbledon men’s finals over the last decade and for the first time in his 10 major finals Murray starts favourite against first time finalist Raonic.
Andy Murray vs Milos Raonic
So, it’s a 10th career clash between Murray and Raonic to decide the destination of the Men’s Singles title for 2016 and the Scot is a warm order to make it a hat-trick of majors at around the 1.28 mark.
He brings a 6-3 career series lead over Raonic into Sunday’s clash and it’s Murray that has won the last five meetings, including a win in the final of Queen’s Club a few weeks ago on the grass.
Aside from a bit of a blip against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga it’s been pretty much plain sailing for Murray so far this fortnight, with the challenges of the likes of Nick Kyrgios and Tomas Berdych swatted aside in straight sets.
Raonic has had less of an easy time of it and the big-serving Canadian has been taken the distance twice in the same tournament for the second time in his career.
It would be the first time ever that he’s played three if this one goes to five sets, but that seems unlikely, and how fit will Raonic be after expending a lot of energy just to make the final (something Murray has also struggled with in the past).
The last time that Raonic played two five setters in the same event was in Melbourne at the start of the season when he ended up lame against Murray in the semi final of the Australian Open.
If memory serves me correctly Raonic could barely move from the fourth set on in that match and fitness would be one worry for me if I were backing Raonic to win this match.
The other is his poor record on return of serve and especially against this opponent, who Raonic has only broken 8.5 percent of the time in their nine-match career series so far.
Murray has broken Raonic 20.1 percent of the time on all surfaces in those nine matches and the Scot broke the Canadian four times from seven chances over three sets in that Queen’s Club final.
In terms of service holds Raonic is obviously better, but not by that much, with Murray recording a 90.2 percent hold mark in his last 10 matches on grass and 89.4 percent in his career on this surface.
Raonic weighs in at 93.3 percent in his career on grass and 94.7 percent in his last 10 on this surface, but he breaks only around 13 percent in total on grass and I can’t see him winning a Wimbledon final against a returner as good as Murray with those numbers.
Then there’s the nerves to factor in, with Murray losing his first four major finals; Djokovic his first; and Nadal his first two on grass, though they all played a certain Roger Federer in most of those.
Whoever you are a first Grand Slam final, and I’d suggest more so at Wimbledon, is a nervy affair and Raonic will have to serve supremely well to keep Murray at bay, which is a big ask in your maiden final.
Having John McEnroe around will no doubt help in that sense, but it’s hard to see how Raonic can win this one unless he serves off the charts and Murray has a poor day.
I like the 1.80 about Raonic hitting most double faults -3.5 here, with the Canadian’s double fault average being very high at 0.26 per service game when playing Murray, who only hits 0.11 against Raonic.
Raonic threw in 11 doubles in five sets against Federer in the semi finals, while Murray hit only three against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in his five set clash with the Frenchman.
The nerves and the need to keep Murray at bay on his second serve will surely see Raonic hit a fair few doubles and ‘sure thing’ backers will look to Raonic hitting most double faults and also Murray to break serve first at 1.45.
Somehow, Raonic broke serve before Federer in their semi final, which was annoying, but with his numbers surely it’ll be the Scot to draw first blood and go on to land that third major title.
Value bet: Back Raonic to hit most double faults -3.5 at 1.80