Three reasons Murray looks set for an ATP Tour Finals bow

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Fresh from his triumph over David Ferrer in the final of the Vienna Open, Andy Murray looks increasingly likely to be heading to London at the end of the season.

In action against Jurgen Melzer at the Valencia Open this week, the Scot is on at 1/8 for victory, while a 2-0 straight sets win is offered at 2/5 with Ladbrokes and we think the 27-year-old is hitting form at the perfect moment – here are three reasons he is bound for the O2 in Greenwich.

Raonic’s rotten form

A couple of weeks ago the Canadian up-and-comer looked to be on course for a trip to the O2 Arena at the end of the year but some poor results in the last few weeks have seen the 23-year-old slip down the rankings – much to the benefit of Murray and the rest.

While a defeat to US Open finalist Kei Nishikori was understandable given the Japanese star’s recent efforts, an early retirement against Juan Monaco set alarm bells ringing.

The big-serving Canadian has cited a recent bout of illness, which left him bed-bound as the root cause of the decline, which reached a new nadir last time out in Moscow’s Kremlin Cup when Raonic lost 2-1 to Lithuanian qualifierRicardas Berankis. He’s next in action against Steve Johnson at the Basel Open, with the American available at 5/2 for the win.

Murray’s fighting spirit

If you ever needed a showcase of why Murray is a British tennis great, then look no further than the determined display that saw him overcome David Ferrer in Vienna over the weekend.

Going up against Ferrer, who had beaten Murray in their previous meeting the week before at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, the 2013 Wimbledon champion was keen to make amends but made a poor start after going down 4-2 in the first set.

He bounced back quickly to draw level before some poor forehand shots cost him the first set at 5-6 down. At that stage other less mentally strong players would have crumbled but Murray rallied, winning the second set 6-2 and saving two break points along the way.

Ferrer fought back in the final set however and soon found himself 4-2 up and on serve. But even at 5-3 down in the decider Murray would not be beaten and rallied back to win four straight games and the title. The Scot is 7/2 to beat Jurgen Melzer 2-1 at the Valencia Open this week.

Berdych’s Stockholm success

Murray must have been feeling more than a little uneasy as he reached the midway point of Sunday’s final meeting with Ferrer.

Not only was the Scot down a set to the Spaniard but results were hardly going in his favour elsewhere with Grigor Dimitrov – one of Murray’s rivals for the ATP Tour Finals and the man who ended his dream of a second successive Wimbledon title – up a set in the final of the Stockholm Open.

Thank goodness, then, that someone else decided to hit the comeback trail, namely, Tomas Berdych. After losing the first set 7-5 to the Bulgarian the 29-year-old fought back to win the next two 6-4, 6-4 in a result that may have ended Dimitrov’s faint hopes of reaching the end-of-year event.

Berdych looks certain of a place in London now, while his victory over Dimitrov means it’s a straight shoot-out between Murray and Ferrer. The Bulgarian can still be backed to come good in 2015 though with odds of 8/1 available on him winning Wimbledon.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.