Surely, this must be Murray’s moment. The not-yet great Scot looks to be in a prime position to snare his maiden grand slam at the US Open starting on Monday.
Like his coach Ivan Lendl, Andy Murray has lost his first four grand slam finals. There’s been question marks about a perceived fragile mental state and an ability to beat the Djokovic-Federer-Nadal clique when it matters most. But Murray is a supreme athlete, has the game to match the best in the world and now, most importantly, has the self confidence needed to go all the way. The last piece of the pie was delivered courtesy of a straight sets demolition of Federer at the London Olympics final. And on the hard courts of Flushing Meadows without a home crowd on his back there’ll be no better opportunity for Murray to break his duck. Take out the injured Nadal and his case is strengthened – though if the draw goes according to plan he’ll have to beat Djokovic and Federer to take it out.
That pair of course can’t be ruled out but Federer looks to be in better touch – taking out the last two clashes with the Serb. The men’s draw really looks like a race in three but your value could come from the third quarter of it where Spaniard David Ferrer ($41) is elevated to fourth seed in the absence of Nadal. Big serving John Isner ($41) looms there and has come in from early markets but has yet to even reach a grand slam semi-final. Of the Aussie men Lleyton Hewitt may get through his first two rounds before a likely showdown with Ferrer while the out of sorts Bernard Tomic may well face old stager Andy Roddick in round two.
It’s Serena Williams ($1.90) and a yawning gap to the rest of the field in the women’s. That price is built around her Wimbledon win and then an extraordinary Olympics campaign where she beat four world No.1s and didn’t lose more than five games in any match to take gold.
But Williams can crack on occasion and for her 14 slams – she’s won in New York just once in the last nine years. Lining up behind her are Victoria Azarenka ($6), Maria Sharapova ($6.25) and Petra Kvitova ($7.50). But for mine the one to watch here is Angelique Kerber ($19). The German has had an exceptional 2012, rising from 31 in the world at the start of the year to No.6. Her last tournament in Cincinnati saw her beat both Williams and Kvitova before going down to Li Na ($13) in the final.
And Sam Stosur ($34)? Following the defending champion is hard work at the best of times. And with the top three ranked players lined up in succession should the draw going according to seedings don’t expect to be uttering ‘play it again Sam’ deep into the second week.