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US Open men's final preview

Normally my tennis work on Grand Slams is exclusive to TheShark.com.au but I'm not sure where he's gotten to today, this isn't yet on site. So here it is....

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Murray v Djokovic

Hopes for a long, arduous second semi between Djokovic and Ferrer were dashed for Andy Murray fans when the defending champion returned to the court after a night's rest and walloped the Spaniard pretty quickly. The debate about Murray having more rest than Djokovic is now irrelevant.

So now we have the match-up of the post-invincible Djokovic versus the post-monkey-off-the-back Murray. The slate stands at 9-6 to Djokovic but it's this year's contests that concern me most. 3-2 in favour of Nole (if you include the fairly meaningless Boodles exhibition pre Wimbledon) with two clashes in the majors - Djokovic winning 7-5 in the fifth in the Aussie semi-final, and Murray winning 7-5 7-5 in the Olympic semi. Ivan Lendl came on board for Murray between those matches and the mysterious behind-the-scenes issue for Djokovic emerged amid them too. The first event I put great importance on, the latter could be the mountain or the molehill - you can't give it a lot of credence without more evidence, but it's clear that Novak isn't as invincible as he was in 2011.

This will be Andy's fifth crack at a Slam final. In his first three, he didn't claim a set. At Wimbledon, he took the first set. At the Olympics, by beating Djokovic in the semi and thumping Federer in the final, he broke through that wall emphatically.

I said a fortnight ago I liked Murray to win the lot and that still applies. He needs to dictate the play early and strangle the life out of the match, it's too hard to come from behind against a player like Djokovic who can maintain his tempo for five hours plus.

I'm backing Andy straight out to win the match, if you still don't have faith in the guy, then make it a back-to-lay trade. Back pre-match at around 3.3, set up the lay trade at around 2.0 (shorter if you think he's a bit of a choker), and remember to hit Keep, for the unmatched bet to go in-play. How you stake it is up to you, either take your stake back and let the profit ride on Murray, or use the 'Payout' function to level up the book to the cent (enter the exact amount you would get back from the Murray bet - i.e. £20 at 3.3 = £66).

[ERROR EDITED re previous finals]

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