By Aidan Elder | Chief Sports Writer
- MURRAY PROGRESSES TO THE 4th ROUND
- AN INCREDIBLE 27 REFUNDS THANKS TO OUR 5th SET MONEY-BACK SPECIAL
- DJOKOVIC STRUGGLES PAST WAWRINKA
There was a lot of swearing, grumpy cries of anguish and looking forlornly to the heavens. Yes, it was pretty much business as usual for Andy Murray at the Australian Open as he brushed aside Ricardas Bernakis in straight sets to book his place in the last 16 at Melbourne.
Despite the seemingly straightforward progress, Murray (25) still spoke with all the enthusiasm of a death row inmate in his post-match press conference.
“Every player wants to hit the ball well every day if they can but the reality is it isn’t always going to happen. So I’m aware I’ll need to improve,” he told the media before going on the offensive to rightly point out “but you also don’t necessarily want to be playing your best tennis the first rounds of a grand slam or of any tournament.”
In truth, it’s all looking pretty good for the Scot. With Juan-Martin del Potro suffering a shock defeat at the hands of Jeremy Chardy, his side of the draw looks easier than it might have been. In the fourth round on Monday morning (5am-ish), he’ll face Gilles Simon, a player he has beaten nine times in their 10 meetings.
It’s all looking good for Paddy Power customers too. Thanks to our 5th Set Money-Back Special, they’ve benfitted from a whopping 27 REFUNDS – a figure so startling, it has to be expressed in capital letters with bolding.
The Money-Back Special runs all the way to the end of the tournament, so that number could swell even further over the next seven days.
Murray is still on course to face Roger Federer in the last four, but to do so the Fed Express needs to overcome rising star, Milos Raonic and then Tsonga/Gasquet – all matches likely to test the stamina many people aren’t certain he still has.
No Djok’ for the defending champ
In contrast, world number one, Novak Djokovic had to dig deep to emerge victorious from his epic encounter against Stanislas Wawrinka. Nole pulled through, but only after having to withstand immense pressure from the Swiss player. The likely tests from Thomas Berdych and then probably David Ferrer will feel a little tougher after such exertions. After starting the week as the Evens favourite, the Serbian star has drifted to 11/10 as he looks to move level with Andre Agassi and Roger Federer with four Aussie Open titles in the Open era.
Further adding to the rosiness of his garden, Murray has spent just five and half hours on court for his three matches so far, a paltry amount of time he may feel the benefit of towards the end of next week. Anything other than straight sets victories will raise an eyebrow in the early rounds of a Grand Slam, but not only has Murray yet to drop a set, he hasn’t yet been handed the mild inconvenience of being dragged into a tie-breaker.
Murray’s solid but unspectacular progress is reflected in the minimal price change for him to win back to back Slams. He started the week as the 11/4 second favourite and with three wins under his elasticated waistband, he has been trimmed to 9/4.