Australian Open Tennis: Andy Murray v Go Soeda
Tuesday 14th January (estimated start time 6AM)
British number 1, Andy Murray starts his 2014 Grand Slam campaign on Tuesday morning when he meets Japan’s Go Soeda in the Australian Open.
Murray Back From Injury
The contest with Soeda will be only Murray’s third competitive match since recovering from back surgery and it may take him a while to get into the swing of things.
After a year and a half of problems, the world number 4 finally underwent surgery at the back end of last year and it remains to be seen whether he is ready for the two-week slog of a Grand Slam. Murray’s previous performances in Melbourne suggest he does have the ability to challenge for the title but ib 2014 it may be a case of preparing for a successful defence of his Wimbledon crown whilst possibly mounting a challenge for the US Open too.
However, Murray’s personality means he wouldn’t be here unless he thought he could at least challenge. Britain’s number 1 sets himself such high standards and would not allow himself to simply ‘make up the numbers’. In his mind, the recent surgery doesn’t prevent him from having a chance and a first round elimination won’t even enter his thinking.
It will be interesting to see just how much of an impact the recovery from injury has had.
Murray Feeling The Heat
Another potential problem from Britain’s number 1 could be the climate.
Temperatures of up to 40 degrees are expected for the first round encounter and that could prove to be an issue for a player still fighting back to full fitness following that spell away from the court.
Murray has previously battled the heat in Melbourne superbly, reaching the final on three occasions, but the personal circumstances surrounding this year’s tournament could make it even more difficult for the British superstar.
Nevertheless he should progress against 140th ranked Soeda.
Murray V Soeda Live betting
Murray is unsurprisingly the firm favourite. He is as little as 1/100 in some bookmakers but is best priced 1/33 with William Hill. Soenka is a 20/1 rank outsider with Boyle Sports. A straight sets victory is 2/7 with Ladbrokes. In usual circumstances this would probably be one to stick into an accumulator but as we are uncertain of how the world number 4 will play it is one we’d avoid here.
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One bet that does appeal though is BWIN’s ‘Total Soeda Games’. The line is set at 10.5 and unders is priced 13/18. If Murray is to take this in straight sets, then chances are Soenka won’t be taking more than 10 games.
Set 1 may be a little shaky from Murray but by set 2 he should be in the rhythm. Coral offer 11/2 on a 6-1 score in the second set, which we think could be a good bit of value.
Looking beyond this match, the draw hasn’t been too kind to Britain’s number 1. His route to the title could include a quarter-final with Federer before a semi with world number 1 Nadal; should he overcome them he would be expected to meet four-time winner Djokovic in the final.
It seems unlikely but if you think Murray can defy the odds then he is 10/1 with Sky Bet to win the tournament.
Novak Djokovic Through To Round 2
Elsewhere in round 1, defending champ Novak Djokovic sailed through to the next stage by beating Slovakian Lukas Lacko in straight sets.
The Serbian world number 2 had to overcome a spirited performance from Lacko but got the job done via a 6-3 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 victory.
Under the guidance of new coach Boris Becker, the Serb is hoping to claim what would be his 5th Australian Open (7th Gand Slam overall) with a fourth successive triumph in Melbourne.
Djokovic is the firm favourite with the bookies and best priced 4/5 with Paddy Power.