2017 Australian Open Tennis - ATP Mens Tennis

Tennis
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Published: 13/01/2017

Following a short winter break, the tennis season is back in full swing. And this week, all eyes will be on Melbourne, Australia where the first Grand Slam of the season is about to get underway. Reigning men’s champion Novak Djokovic will look to secure his seventh crown when he steps onto the hard courts next week. However, the draw has not been kind to the World No. 2 who will face veteran Spaniard Fernando Verdasco in the first round. The pair last met in the semi-finals in Doha juts two weeks ago, where Djokovic salvaged five match points before eventually coming out on top. Overall, the Serbian player has a 9-4 head-to-head record over the 33-year-old.

Since winning here last year, Djokovic has had a mixed season by his standards. He finally claimed a French Open title but then struggled in the second half of the season and was eventually deposed from the World No.1 spot by Andy Murray. His season ended with defeat to the Scot in the World Tour Finals but he began this term by seeing off his rival in the Qatar ExxonMobil Open final in Doha. Therefor it is no surprise that the two are favourites to meet in the Melbourne final for a fifth time.

Despite having previously reached the final on five occasions, Andy Murray is still looking for his first Melbourne title. His last Grand Slam win against Djokovic was nearly four years ago, so the Scot may be hoping that someone else takes his rival out of the equation before the final showdown in two weeks’ time. However, this tournament suits the game of both players and it is hard to see past another battle between the two best players in the world.

Murray did manage to beat Djokovic twice last year, and the WTF win at the O2 Arena that sealed his place at the top of the year-end rankings would have given him a massive boost. The fact that his rival fell to Marin Cilic, Roberto Bautista Agut, Stan Wawrinka, Juan Martin Del Potro and Sam Querry in the second half of last season will also give hope to Murray, who has raised his own game to a new level.

The defeat in Doha brought to an end a 29-game winning streak that included five titles, so the boy from Dunblane is arriving here in great shape. The question remains as to whether the he can break through the psychological wall that seems to hamper him down under.

Betting predictions

With hot weather and fast conditions predicted, the top two should be in their element here. Of course, there will be potential banana skins along the way but everything points to a Murray vs. Djokovic showdown.

The bookies have had trouble separating the two for the first time ever, with Djokovic’s Doha win just giving him the edge. And despite Murray’s improvement, Djokovic looks to be well-priced considering his record here. He has not lost a Grand Slam match against the Scot since Wimbledon 2013 and has won 14 of their 17 encounters since then. Djokovic can currently be backed at a price 6/4 with Bet365.


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