Andy Murray put the legions of fans packed-in on Murray Mound through the mangle before prevailing against Fernando Verdasco in a five-set thriller of a quarter final and it’s unlikely to be plain sailing against the big-serving Jerzy Janowicz in their semi-final encounter either.
For full-time Murray fan club members that nerve-shredding comeback will be nothing new, they’re used to seeing their man taken beyond the three-set point in Grand Slam semis.
Eight of the Scot’s last nine semis at the big four tournaments have gone to at least four sets, so it looks like another thrill ride may be in store. On this basis the 5/6 about there being over 38.5 games in the contest looks worth a look.
With the history books showing four of those matches won and five lost, Murray’s record highlights his fighting spirit and fallibility in equal measure.
Janowicz is no back number at this stage of the draw and the upcoming talent is ranked 20 in the world thanks to far more than just his bullet serve.
He overcame Murray in their last meeting at the Paris Masters indoors and whilst the number two seed spurned a match point in that match, his opponent closed out the deciding set 6-2.
How Murray deals with “that serve” will have a great bearing on who gets the golden ticket to the Sunday showpiece and its fearsomeness cannot be understated – Janowicz has sent down 30 aces in two of his last three matches and served 31 more than any other man in this year’s draw.
However, Murray has a strong record against other super-sized super-servers, with a combined record of 8-0 against tour big men Ivo Karlovic and John Isner.
The fearsome speed of Janowicz’ service means little margin for error and it’s little surprise to see him second in the championship’s double fault table. The 2/9 about him making more than his opponent looks a solid bet, given Murray has yet to make more than four in a match at this year’s tournament.
On many occasions over the last few days we have seen even experienced players can lose track of their game plan as they near the final, with Petra Kvitova and Sabine Lisicki both coming unstuck to varying degrees as they went for risky winners over pragmatism.
The fact that Janowicz won just 36 per cent of the points on his second serve against Lukasz Kubot in the quarters suggests his inexperience may allow him to fall prey to similar demons as the ante is upped once more here.
In Murray the 6’8” Pole will face one of the game’s finest returners and an avid chaser of lost causes, meaning there are likely to be fewer cheap points than in the latter’s matches en route to this stage.
Lest we forget he has deposed just one seed so far and beat the world number 130 in the last round and the Scot’s greater resistance should ensure the 4/9 about their being a tie-break in the match kops.
The last three rounds have seen Janowicz play his worst set in the opener, losing one and going to seven games in both the others. As a result Murray can take the opener on his way to victory – an eventuality which can be backed at 2/5.
If a correct score bet appeals, then on the basis of Murray’s ding-dong recent Grand Slam semis it could be the 9/4 on a 3-1 success for the Scot, with Janowicz’s serve fancied to hand him a set.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.