Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Nadal can take Murray's crown

Open test: Andy Murray is about to defend US Open title

Life couldn't be better for Andy Murray as Wimbledon and US Open champion. He should have no inhibitions about defending the latter at Flushing Meadows, starting on Monday.

It would be unwise to read too much into his early defeat in the Cincinnati Open – Novak Djokovic also bit the dust early. So a price of 11/4 for a second successive win is likely to appeal to many.

World number one Djokovic won in 2011 and heads the market at 15/8 but Rafael Nadal, successful the previous year, has hit top form at the right time.

After struggling with injury for most of the year, Nadal added the Cincinnati title to his Rogers Cup victory and on the New York hard-court is the pick at a juicy 3/1.

No American has won since Andy Roddick back in 2003 and John Isner, who pushed Nadal all the way (7/6, 7/6) in Cincinnati, is probably a generous 66/1 as he's reached three hard-court finals in the last month. He should go well but Nadal gets the nod.

Serena Williams, beaten in three sets by Victoria Azarenka in the Cincinnati final, is on the drift at 5/6 to defend her US title. She beat Azarenka in last year's final and there's no reason to oppose her as she always rises to the occasion when it matters – in a Grand Slam.

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