ATP World Tour Finals Betting: Murray and Nishikori to go long in nervy o2 opener

Can Murray continue his strong record against Nishikori on Sunday?
Can Murray continue his strong record against Nishikori on Sunday?

The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals gets under way on Sunday, with two matches from Group B kicking off the week at the o2 in London and Sean Calvert brings us his bets on day one...

"Nishikori has admitted that he will be nervous and his no-show in the US Open final when he also suffered with nerves is something to consider when having a bet in this one..."

Back three sets in Murray/Nishikori at 2.6213/8

Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori open proceedings at around 2pm UK time in what will be their fourth career meeting of a series that hasn't been kind to the Japanese star in the past.

Nishikori and Murray are meeting for the first time since the end of 2012 on Sunday, with Kei yet to win a set against the Scot - or even take a set past the 10 games mark.

We're likely to see a much more competitive affair on this occasion though, with Nishikori having had his best season on the tour and currently at a career high of five in the world rankings.

Murray in contrast has endured a tricky season following a back operation a year ago and only now seems to be coming into the right kind of form and fitness to challenge the world's best players.

He still seems a little short in price though at around 1.4640/85 bearing in mind he has a 2-8 record over top-five ranked players in 2014, with both of those wins coming against David Ferrer.

Both Murray and Nishikori were very much hampered by physical issues in their most recent matches on the tour, with Murray fading badly against Novak Djokovic and Nishikori struggling against the same opponent in Bercy.

Nishikori has admitted that he will be nervous and his no-show in the US Open final when he also suffered with nerves is something to consider when having a bet in this one.

Another factor is the playing conditions, with the courts here at the o2 being exactly the same (with the same balls) as were used at the Paris Masters and last year the players said despite that it was slower here than in Bercy.

That might also play into Murray's hands, with the Scot's excellent defensive game having nullified the more attacking Nishikori in the past.

The question for Murray backers at 1.4640/85 though centres on the level that he is able to produce at the moment and whether it is good enough to be rated a decent favourite against a ball striker like Nishikori.

I would consider it unlikely that either of these players will win this in two sets and I would prefer backing three sets at around 2.6213/8 than either player outright.

Nishikori's game has improved considerably since the then world number 19 faced world number three Murray last time, with the Japanese player's serve being more of a weapon and his ground strokes more attacking too.

It's hard to say that Murray is a better player now than he was at the start of 2013 - rather the opposite - and he'll do very well to win this in two sets.

Nishikori will have to play a high risk game to beat Murray in two, so for me a decider may be necessary in what is likely to be a nervy affair.


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Back three sets in Murray/Nishikori at 2.6213/8

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