Andy Murray to drop a set but win his first tournament of 2012

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Andy Murray is no stranger to starting the season with a flourish and for the sixth year running will compete in the final of his opening event after beating Bernard Tomic in straight sets in his Brisbane International semi-final.

A 6-3 6-2 success leaves Murray priced at 1/5 to claim his first silverware of 2012 and having reached the Australian Open Final in 2010 and 2011 and done the same in Doha for three years before that, winning twice, he has to be fancied.

Standing in the world number four’s way on Sunday morning will be Alexandr Dolgopolov, the talented Ukrainian who fared fairly well down last year, reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open before bumping into Murray.

The Scot has won both of their previous meetings, although he did drop a set in that latest one in Melbourne, and may encounter another tough test against a man who beat top-six seeds Radek Stepanek and Gilles Simon. Murray faced none.

It is 3/1 that the three-time Grand Slam finalist triumphs 2-1, a far more attractive price than the 4/7 on him delivering 2-0, especially as he gave away one in two of his first four matches in Brisbane.

On both occasions, against Mikhail Kukushkin and Gilles Muller, it was the opening set in which Murray flopped, before recovering well, so 5/2 on Dolgopolov taking the first, and in particular 11/2 on the favourite coming from behind, appeal.

The start of the Australian Open is little over a week away, and though there is no real correlation between victory in Brisbane and glory at the Rod Laver Arena, Murray’s recent showings at the year’s first major see him rated a contender.

Odds of 5/1 are offered on the Brit bouncing back from those straight-sets final losses to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic by landing the first Grand Slam trophy of his career this month.

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