Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Friday 29th of January, 7:40pm, Channel Seven
ANDY Murray and Milos Raonic clash on Rod Laver Arena on Friday night to determine who will go through to the final of the Australian Open.
Andy Murray has been a model of consistency at the Australian Open without ever breaking through. The Scot has made four of the last five finals at Melbourne Park, but has failed to raise the trophy on any of those occasions.
Murray has been fabulous throughout the 2016 campaign, dropping just two sets for the entire tournament, but has had off-field concerns throughout. His father-in-law collapsed in the stands last weekend and his wife Kim is expecting their child at any moment.
Murray said his preparation has been less than ideal.
“Things have obviously happened with family at other stages,” Murray said.
“But not in the middle of a grand slam and with Kim obviously heavily pregnant, as well. I’ve never experienced anything like it before. The last few days were difficult, for sure.”
The world number two believes he has not handled himself on court in a manner which befits a man of his stature.
“I’m not particularly proud of the way I’ve handled myself on the court and I don’t think that my behaviour on the court has been impeccable.”
If he is to make a fifth Australian Open final Andy Murray will need to put aside these distractions.
Murray’s opponent, Milos Raonic has quietly gone about his business at Melbourne Park.
The stoic Canadian has been terrific throughout the tournament.
His crowning achievement was the victory over 2014 Australian Open champion, Stan Wawrinka, possibly the best match of his career.
This will be just the second time Raonic has visited the semi-final stage at a Grand Slam and the furthest he has ever progressed at the Australian Open.
The men have met six times prior to their scheduled Rod Laver Arena date – they have split the encounters at three apiece. The only time the pair have met at a Grand Slam was back in 2012 at the US Open where Andy Murray breezed past the Canadian in three sets.
Raonic believes facing Murray at this stage of a major tournament will be one of the biggest tests of his career.
“A great challenge ahead of me… a challenge I believe I have it within myself to find a solution to,” Raonic said.
“I sort of just want to change that story around and give myself another go with more experience and where I feel like I’m a better player than I was two years ago,”
The match looks to be the straight forward of the two semi-final matches with Andy Murray’s defensive game and all-round ability across the court a great neutraliser against Raonic’s fast serve and heavy hitting style.
Raonic may be able to take a set from the Scot, but Murray should be the man to progress through to the 2016 final.
Winner: Andy Murray – $1.36
Set betting: Andy Murray 3-1 – $3.50
Australian Open promotions
After launching their partnership with the Australian Open prior to the commencement of the tournament, WilliamHill have shown their Australian Open affiliation will give the punters a chance to get their hands on the cash.
The promotion that WilliamHill has been pushing the hardest is their ‘chase the ace’, which gives punters placing a bet on the outcome of a match the chance to make some cash, even if their selection loses.
Place a head-to-head bet of $20 or more on any Men’s or Women’s singles match and you will get a cash bonus of $1 for every ace your player serves.
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