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Saturday, 30 January 2016

Australian Open Tennis Day 14 Picks- Men's Final (January 31st)

If the first Singles Final of the 2016 Tennis Grand Slam season is setting the standards that we can expect all season, then we are going to have a really enjoyable time watching the sport this season.

Both Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber played their part in a drama filled match and it was the latter who surprised most observers by beating the World Number 1 over three sets. Kerber deserved her win and her place as the World Number 2 as she finally won the big one.

I will admit that I thought she might have missed her window to win a Grand Slam, but it goes to show what hard work will reward you with and Kerber is a deserved winner. Backing up this start to the season is going to be a huge task for the first German Grand Slam winner this century, while Serena Williams has to pick herself up from a second consecutive Slam disappointment.

History is going to begin to weigh on her shoulders, but there was enough form shown by Serena Williams over the last two weeks to think she goes into every tournament she enters as a big favourite. It would be nice for Serena to win one of these matches that goes into a third set on the big stage just to reignite any confidence that might have been lost, but I think the American can have a very big 2016 season and get past Steffi Graf's 22 Grand Slam titles.

Whenever the World Number 1 and World Number 2 meet in a Grand Slam Final, most would be expecting a competitive affair. However, Novak Djokovic's comprehensive hammering of Roger Federer over four sets on Thursday night had made him a strong favourite to beat Andy Murray who played his Semi Final a day later and was forced to dig deep in a five set win over Milos Raonic.

The layers might not be expecting the most entertaining Australian Open Final, but I do think they could be surprised in this one.

Novak Djokovic- Andy Murray over 36.5 total games: The layers have looked at the way the second Semi Final went down for Andy Murray as he was dragged into a long five setter while Novak Djokovic was resting at home after a relatively straight-forward Semi Final win the night before.

There is no doubting that Novak Djokovic believes he is the fittest player on the Tour and he has regularly made not to mention that he always feels he can out-last Andy Murray if it comes down to their physical fitness. Having an extra day of recovery no doubt gives Novak Djokovic an edge in this one especially as the World Number 1 would have been a strong favourite even if he had played the Friday Semi Final.

Djokovic has looked very strong in his last two matches since being given a scare by Gilles Simon and I can't see him losing this Final now. He has beaten Murray in ten of their last eleven matches since the Wimbledon Final of 2013 and his run of victories include winning all three matches they have played at Grand Slams since that defeat.

One of those matches was last year in the Final at the Australian Open as Novak Djokovic wore down Murray after splitting the first two sets. He dropped just three games in the final two sets after being forced into two tie-breakers and it is a feature of their previous matches that there are tight moments when Murray is able to have success before Novak Djokovic eventually takes control.

I do think Andy Murray needs a fast start to get the adrenaline pumping and to ignore the tiredness he may be feeling after the match with Milos Raonic. Eventually you have to think that will help wear down Murray as Djokovic uses his physical advantages to take control of the match but I wouldn't be surprised if the World Number 2 can take a set in this one.

Djokovic has only beaten Murray in straight sets once before so there is a reasonable thought to backing the Serb to win this one in four sets. Murray isn't as aggressive as Federer and he can sometimes make enough balls to force Djokovic into a few mistakes and it is only after a couple of hours when Djokovic's superior movement and ability to get around the court begins to take control in previous matches.

I know Djokovic has beaten Murray quite easily in two matches at the back end of last season and the latter is in a tough position having played the second Semi Final and being kept out on the court for a long time. However, I am seeing that five of the last six Grand Slam matches between these players have gone at least four sets and surpassed this number of games and I do think Murray can match up well with Djokovic for a certain amount of time before perhaps falling slightly below that level and falling away.

I really see a situation where they will play two competitive sets that will perhaps be split one each before Djokovic begins to take control and move away from Murray. It is hard to imagine Murray allowing himself to crumble as badly as he did last season when bagelled in the fourth set, but that shouldn't matter in getting over this number of total games.

MY PICK: Novak Djokovic-Andy Murray Over 36.5 Total Games @ 1.73 Sky Bet (2 Units)

Australian Open Update: 30-47, - 34.10 Units (148 Units Staked, - 23.04% Yield)

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