Dubai Tennis Championships: Can Murray upset Djokovic bros?

Events RSS / / 27 February 2012 / Leave a Comment

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Can Andy prevail in Dubai?

Can Andy prevail in Dubai?

"Djokovic is the favourite to take a fourth straight Dubai title and he’s not an awful price at around [2.38], but it’s worth taking a chance with Murray this week at palatable [8.0]."

It's a family affair in Dubai this week for the world number one, but Sean Calvert fancies a wager on Andy Murray at more attractive odds...

We were unlucky with our bet on Milos Raonic in Memphis last week, but as the Canadian reached the final, he was available to lay at [1.33] from the initial [3.5].

The ATP Tour moves on to Dubai, Acapulco and Delray Beach this week, with the world's top stars drawn to the $1.7 million prize pot on offer at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Shamelessly, the tournament has given wildcards to three-time defending champion, Novak Djokovic's brother Marco and Victoria Azarenka's boyfriend Sergei Bubka.

For the record, Marco Djokovic is ranked 867 in the world and has been playing with little success in Futures events in Turkey lately, while Bubka is the world number 158 and has one Challenger title to his name from back in 2009.

So, instead of handing the valuable wild cards to deserving causes, the tournament has gone for the 'it's not what you know but who you know' option and given them to friends and family of the male and female world number ones.

The draw has paired Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Janko Tipsarevic and Tomas Berdych together in the top half, along with Nikolay Davydenko and Ivan Ljubicic.

The bottom half sees Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Mardy Fish, Juan Martin Del Potro, Richard Gasquet, and Alexandr Dolgopolov as the main contenders.

Unsurprisingly, Novak Djokovic is the favourite to take a fourth straight Dubai title and he's not an awful price at around [2.38], but it's worth taking a chance with Murray this week at more palatable [8.0].

The Scot normally indulges in his traditional post-Melbourne malaise at this time of the year, but with Ivan Lendl looking on, Murray is more likely to make a fist of this event than he has done in the last few years.

Two quarter-final exits have been Murray's best showings here, but he'll surely put in a better effort this time to show not just Lendl, but everyone else as well, that he's edging closer to the top three after his Melbourne performances.

He pushed Nole very close in their Australian Open semi and he leads the world number one 4-2 in matches on outdoor hard-courts over the best of three sets.

A concern for the Scot would be the likely match he faces against Tomas Berdych in the last eight here this week.

Murray hasn't beaten the Czech since 2005 and for my money, Berdych is a decent long shot this week at around the [29] mark.

The Berdman has been playing well so far in 2012 with a win in Montpelier and a semi-final in Rotterdam to add to his Australian Open effort. He reached the semi-finals here last year before retiring against Djokovic in what was a tight match and he could go close again this time.

The only other player with chances in the top half of the draw is Tipsarevic, who is priced up this week at around the [50.0] mark, but it's hard to see him beating Djokovic, Murray/Berdych and then probably Federer in consecutive matches.

Tipsy hasn't been in the best touch this year either and was thrashed by Gasquet in Melbourne and beaten in Marseille by Michael Llodra last week. In the bottom half, I expect Federer to be the man to reach the final, as he has a fairly straightforward looking quarter, with the inconsistent Fish perhaps an obstacle before a likely semi-final against either Del Potro or Tsonga.

Delpo will surely be a touch jaded after two finals in two weeks and I can't see him busting a gut here with Indian Wells just around the corner. In any case, Federer has his number at the moment.

Tsonga looks a better prospect for semi final material, but the big Frenchman hasn't kicked on from his fine end to 2011 and he has something to prove this week. To sum up then, Djokovic is the obvious choice, but at a bigger price I'll take a chance on Murray with a small saver on Berdych.

If you fancy a real outsiders shot this week, consider Ernests Gulbis, who is around [22.0] to win at Delray Beach. Ernie has no form whatsoever with a stack of first round losses to his name, but he came here in 2010 with similar form and won it.

On the basis that he might well enjoy this event more than most, and the fact that he has a very handy draw in the bottom half, he's worth thinking about this week.

Recommended Bet
Back Murray at around [8.0]

Long shot
Berdych at around [29.0]

Follow Sean on Twitter @seancalvert1

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