Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 April 2014

The Punter: Andy Murray well priced to be the wizard in Oz

Andy Murray is on the up and he's 6/5 to land another Grand Slam in 2013.

Now that he's made the major breakthrough in winning last year’s US Open after losing out in the Wimbledon final, his confidence will be sky high.

And he began the year in fine fashion by retaining his ATP Brisbane International title, beating the promising Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets, which provides the ideal warm-up for another attempt at the Australian Open which gets under way on Monday.

Seeded number three, he has suffered defeat in two of the last three finals and lost out in the semis to Novak Djokovic in 2012.

Winner of three Aussie titles and ranked number one, the Serbian lost to Murray in that US final and the pair are drawn for a second successive penultimate stage Melbourne clash.

Roger Federer, denied a second Olympic gold by Murray last August, is in at number two and with Rafa Nadal, currently world number four, ruled out through injury, David Ferrer moves into the fourth slot and Tomas Berdych to fifth.

Djokovic is the 6/5 favourite with Murray (below) an attractive 11/4 to net victory this time but Roger Federer, who won't meet either until the final, is a solid 9/2 chance and pays 9/4 for reaching the final — each-way, half the odds.

Top women’s seed is Victoria Azarenka — who pulled out of the Brisbane tournament due to a foot problem — followed by Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska and Angelique Kerber, matching the WTA world rankings, while Rory McIlroy's girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki is 10th.

It's difficult to oppose Serena at 21/20 and she's an absolute certainty to be the top American (1/8).

Azarenka is available at 5/1 and Sharapova a big priced 13/1.

It looks a case of forgetting the rest.

Alternatively, you can take the field against Williams who is 7/8 not to win.