The bookmakers’ odds on Andy Murray lifting the US Open title have been lengthened after the number three seed was drawn against the hugely talented Nick Kyrgios in the first round.
The Scot was previously priced at 4.25, but those odds have lengthened as far as 5.50 in some quarters after he drew the world number 37 Kyrgios, who has courted controversy recently for comments made on court about opponents’ girlfriends and refereeing decisions.
But there’s no doubting that the Aussie, who has beaten the likes of Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic this season already and has reached the quarter finals of two grand slam events, is a fine player, and one who represents a significant obstacle for Murray to overcome.
As such Roger Federer, who has been an easier draw against the Uruguayan Leonardo Mayer in the first round, has witnessed his outright odds tumble to 5.00 from 7.25.
And Novak Djokovic, who is gunning for his third major title of the season but his first at Flushing Meadows since 2011, can breathe a sigh of relief after drawing unheralded Brazilian Joao Souza.
In Awe of the Draw
In truth the Serbian world number one should enjoy an easy passage to the quarter-finals at least, with David Goffin – who was a break of serve up in the deciding set of their recent match at the Cincinnati Masters – the only major obstacle in the last 32.
The good news for Andy Murray is that his encounter with Kyrgios should set him up nicely for a last 32 match against the huge-serving South African Kevin Anderson, and if the Scot comes through that he could meet Stan Wawrinka in the quarters. The gods truly weren’t smiling on Murray with that draw.
Elsewhere, Roger Federer will have been pleased with his placing in the draw, with an early match against either John Isner or Ivo Karlovic the only cause for concern on these ultra-fast hard courts of Flushing Meadows.
And there’s added intrigue in that Rafael Nadal has been drawn in Djokovic’s half, which means that the pair could meet in the last 16 stage of the competition in a repeat of the 2010, 2011 and 2013 finals.
Keep an eye on last year’s beaten finalist Kei Nishikori too. He has reached the final of two hard court events in the past month, and has a favourable draw here. If he can overcome Djokovic in the quarter final – as he did last year – then the Japanese star’s price of 21.00 looks exceptional value.
by Craig Simpkin