Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray both get their bids for Australian Open glory underway on day two, while Richard Gasquet appears to be at risk of an upset…
Novak Djokovic to beat Paolo Lorenzi @ 1/750
The top seed is going to have difficulty living up to all his accomplishments in 2011, but as the odds suggest, he shouldn’t have any trouble in the first match of his Australian Open defence.
Lorenzi has never won at a major before and lost his one prior clash with Djokovic 3-0 at Queen’s in 2010. The Italian has won ten games or more in his other three Grand Slam encounters though, so consider 11/4 on Djokovic winning the opener 6-3.
Andy Murray to beat Ryan Harrison @ 1/25
Murray has a slightly tougher first-round test than Djokovic, however against someone who has never won a set at this event, which in recent years has proven the Scot’s best Grand Slam, he has to target a 3-0 victory at 1/3.
The world number four tends to begin the Australian Open ruthlessly, losing just one game against Alberto Martin in 2007 and four to Kevin Anderson in 2010. Similarly dominant displays in 2009 and 2010 were disrupted by opponents retiring.
Murray is a massive 20/1 to win the first set 6-0, and 11/2 to deliver 6-1 in it.
Andreas Seppi to beat Richard Gasquet @ 12/5
In addition to looking at the two strongest players in this half of the draw, it is worth highlighting a seed who could be vulnerable to an early exit, and number 17 Gasquet fits the bill rather nicely.
The Frenchman has gone out at the first hurdle in four of his eight previous visits to Melbourne, getting beyond the third round only once and never reaching the quarter-finals.
He has dropped at least a set in each of his last three meetings with Seppi, who has made a decent start to 2012, becoming the first player to take a set off of Roger Federer this season in Doha.