Fed Express to steamroll Murray
World number one Roger Federer looks set to crush Andy Murray's dream of winning his first Grand Slam title. Murray holds the hope of a nation on his young shoulders and I think this final comes at the wrong time for him with Federer hitting good form and as we all know - when he does that, he's almost unplayable.
En route to his 22nd Grand Slam final, Roger Federer (4/7) played six matches, winning four in straight sets. He came in to some real form in the latter stages and in the semi-final he thrashed Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in straight sets in just 88 minutes.
Andy Murray (11/8) is Britain's best chance of a Grand Slam win in recent memory, although if he loses, he will no doubt revert back to being Scottish. It is a big ask for him to beat Federer and while I don't totally discount him from the match - the stats really do not look good for him.
Murray has never progressed past the fourth round of the Australian Open before and only has one previous Grand Slam final appearance to his name. This, in contrast to the vastly more experienced Federer, makes me think a cool head on the day will help the Swiss edge it. Federer has seen off various challengers 15 times out of 22 in a final which shows me he really has what it takes to win here.
With such experience, Federer is less likely to become subject to nerves or be overwhelmed by the occasion, making 2/3 on Fed to pick up the first set a fair punt.
Murray does have youth and hunger on his side and if he really wants it, then he does have a chance as the head to head record between these two will give him some hope. Altogether these two have played ten times, Murray winning six to Federer's four (for more head to head stats see table below). This might look good, but don't forget one of Federer's wins there was the US Open final victory over Murray on a hard court.
Murray has to really utilise his movement and court coverage if he is to get anything out of this final. He really has to hope that Federer isn't at his best and make sure his passing shots are nothing less than perfect. He has to put Fed out wide and play more offensive than usual if he is to leave the court as champion.
Realistically though, Federer is arguably the best tennis player the game has ever seen and although I think Murray's time will come - Roger still reigns supreme for now. Looking at the betting, I will expect it to be pretty close so Fed to win 3-1 at 3/1 or 3-2 at 5/1 should be where the money goes.
If you look for the closer markets then Federer to chalk up over 21.5 games at 5/6 is worth consideration. As long as Murray can take one set, this should be pretty safe.
On paper you have to say Federer can win any game he wants to, such style and grace across the court has never been seen. You really can't write him off - but if Murray shows up with the passion that we've seen from him in the past, we could have an unbelievable encounter on our hands.
|Head-to-head stats - how do these two players compare?|
|Roger Federer||Name||Andy Murray|
|1||Australian Open seed||5|
|1||Current ATP ranking||4|
|1 (6 November 2006)||Career high ATP ranking||1 (18 August 2008)|
|8 August 1981||Birth date||15 May 1987|
|Basel, Switzerland||Birth place||Dunblane, Scotland|
|6'1'' (185 cm)||Height||6'3'' (190 cm)|
|187 lbs (85 kg)||Weight||185 lbs (84 kg)|
|0||YTD singles titles||0|
|9/1||YTD singles won-lost||6/0|
|$52,520||YTD prize money||$0|
|61||Career singles titles||14|
|681-162||Career singles won-lost||221-76|
|$53,414,588||Career prize money||$9,920,493|
|15||Grand Slam titles||0|
|Best Grand Slam results|
|Winner (2004, 2006, 2007)||Australian Open||Fourth round (2007, 2009)|
|Winner (2009)||French Open||Quarter-finals (2009)|
|Winner (2003 - 2007, 2009)||Wimbledon||Semi-finals (2009)|
|Winner (2004 - 2008)||US Open||Runner-up (2008)|
|2009||World Tour Finals||Hard||RR||Federer||3-6, 6-3, 6-1|
|2009||Masters Series Cincinnati||Hard||SF||Federer||6-2, 7-6(8)|
|2009||Masters Series Indian Wells||Hard||SF||Murray||6-3, 4-6, 6-1|
|2009||Doha||Hard||SF||Murray||6-7(6), 6-2, 6-2|
|2008||Tennis Masters Cup||Hard||RR||Murray||4-6, 7-6(3), 7-5|
|2008||Masters Series Madrid||Hard||SF||Murray||3-6, 6-3, 7-5|
|2008||US Open||Hard||Final||Federer||6-2, 7-5, 6-2|
|2008||Dubai||Hard||R32||Murray||6-7(6), 6-3, 6-4|
|2006||Masters Series Cincinnati||Hard||R32||Murray||7-5, 6-4|