WILL Andy Murray book his place in the Austalian Open final? Mark Stinchcombe (@MarkStinchcombe) shares his best bet on the semi-final showdown with Milos Raonic from Melbourne.
Milos Raonic v Andy Murray | Friday 08.30 | Eurosport
Friday morning’s semi-final will be the seventh meeting these two with the head-to-head record standing at 3-3 and Andy Murray winning their only meeting at a Slam – 3-0 at the US Open in 2012 (6-4 6-4 6-2).
Murray is best priced 4/11 and Raonic 12/5 and so the Match Odds look about right to me in these conditions and form to date. However, delving a little deeper into their head-to-head record and this year’s tournament, there looks to be some value in opposing an expected narrative.
It's been mentioned that Australia is playing faster than history suggests but I'm not convinced. To the naked eye, it doesn't look that way, backed up with the two best defenders in Novak Djokovic and Murray both at the business end of the tournament with relative ease. And the fact that there's only been five tie-breaks in 49 sets of tennis since the 4th Round (10%).
Which brings me nicely onto tomorrow's bet. I was surprised to see that in 16 sets of tennis played between these two, there has been just three tie-breaks – two of those on the quick courts of Tokyo – and 4/1 (Bet365) on there being none here looks too big.
Obviously Raonic is a huge server but his 1st serve % for the tournament is less than 66% (Isner was serving at 75%) and Sam Groth (who Murray dispatched 6-0 6-4 6-1) has served faster.
Andy has won the most break points (31), converting at an impressive 50% ratio. Even Milos has the 11th best, converting 18 break points.
These two are both also at the top end of the returning stats; Murray is 2nd in 1st serve receiving points won (123) and Raonic 4th (106). Same goes for 2nd serve return points won; Andy 4th with 116 with Milos 6th with 110.
Raonic has began 2016 under the guidance of Carlos Moya who has introduced a serve volley game, encouraging him to get to the net and Milos' return games have become more efficient which in-turn has led to winning sets more conventionally – he has played just two tie-breaks in 18 sets this tournament.
Murray has played just two as well in one set fewer and easily took apart another big server in Sam Groth. Indeed Andy's ability to pick off his opponents particularly at the net with his passing shots and lobs may be a problem Raonic can't solve.
This bet isn't a logical one on first view but on a medium-paced hard court, Raonic's serve/volley and improved return game and Murray's supreme defence and ability to break, this looks a great value bet.
Milos Raonic v Andy Murray – No tie-break in match (4/1 Bet365)
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