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Michael Taylor 20th Jun 2010 - 20:12

Murray has the draw to go deep at Wimbledon

Andy Murray heads to Wimbledon low on confidence and even lower in recent tournament performances - don't be fooled though, he could answer a fair few of his critics over the next few weeks.

After reaching number two in the world last year and making to the final of the year's first grand slam in Australia general thought around tennis was 2010 could be Murray's year.

Since that fateful final in Melbourne though it's fair to say things haven't quite progressed as the boy from Dunblane would have hoped, in fact that's a big understatement.

He was poor through the hard-court Masters 1000 tournaments, even worse on the clay and despite a pretty easy draw at Roland Garros a few weeks ago he rarely looked like progressing deep in the French Open.

Health concerns haven't helped matters but aside from that he's been a man on the ropes for far too long but that's why the following two weeks could be the perfect tonic for him.

The vital ingredient has to be a quarter of the draw that could not have been handpicked better with threats coming in short supply.

Fernando Verdasco would be a likely quarter-final opponent if the Spaniard can find form on the grass, something which he's rarely achieved through his career, while Sam Querrey's big serve should be nullified by Murray's great returning.

The rest, to put it politely, even on top form should fall along way short of Murray in the five set format, especially given Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's recent injury worries.

And from there who knows what the Scot is capable of with a good run to his name and a passionate home support backing him all the way.

He'd potentially meet Nadal in the semi-finals and if that does happen it's not necessarily the end of the road given Murray's recent record over the world number one having won three of the last five including a great performance at the Aussie Open this year.

It all goes to say that at 6/1 he's massive value to find resurgence with the only worry being his potential to beat Roger Federer on the biggest stage of all - but at ½ the odds first the first two, he looks a superb each way bet.

As said though, getting to the final is one thing, beating Federer on his favourite surface is a whole new matter.

The Swiss star wasn't great in Paris when Robin Soderling ended his French Open dreams while his final defeat to Lleyton Hewitt in Halle last week was most unexpected, however don't expect this to continue here.

He's rightfully the 11/8 favourite to claim a record seventh Wimbledon title and unlike Murray it makes little difference he grabbed a favourable number one seeding and a slightly easier passage to the final.

As for Rafael Nadal, the man who so famously robbed Federer of a sixth consecutive crown in 2008 in the greatest final of all time, he wouldn't be my choice at 5/2.

He was superb in winning the French Open without dropping a set, at Queen's though there was more than a little hint of evidence that he's not quite up to the pace of grass courts.

The brilliant baseliner has given so much pleasure to the Centre Court crowds over the past few years, I just feel it could be another year and a whole lot of tournament practice for him to succeed again.

Finally, based on nothing more than a hint and the fact there's always one surprise package over the Wimbledon fortnight, I believe that man could be Uzbekistan's young hopeful Denis Istomin.

As the season's progressed the hard hitting youngster has steadily improved and was actually one of the stars of Queen's two weeks ago thanks to some superb shot making.

His quarter of the draw isn't too bad either, barring Roger Federer as a likely quarter-final opponent, so at 150/1, even if it's only small stakes, he could provide a whole lot of fun.


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