January 2,2014 Friday, 21:00
10/11 Rafael Nadal Odds to Win
Following a promising start to his 2015 season, where he was able to escape an early loss, Andy Murray will now set his sights on the returning Spaniard, Rafael Nadal. Of their 20 professional meetings on the tour, Nadal leads the Head to Head series 15-5 and has not lost to the Briton since the 2012 Miami Masters event. World No. 6 Andy Murray began his season as predicted: a three-set showing against Feliciano Lopez to maintain his undefeated record against the Spaniard. While this contest will not be added to his official head-to-head record against Lopez, it marks his 10th straight win against the No. 14. Murray made it clear that he had a fruitful off-season on the tour, where he was able to coordinate with his new team to prepare himself for the lofty expectations of the season ahead. This appeared clear during the match, as Murray remained fit, confident and certain of his shots while playing a determined Lopez. He eventually downed the Spaniard 7-6 (1), 5-7, 6-4, following a marathon final game. Following an injury-plagued conclusion to his 2014 season, where Nadal was diagnosed with appendicitis during the Shanghai Rolex Masters in September and underwent successful surgery to rectify the problem, Rafael Nadal hopes to return to form during the 2015 season. After two potential days of action in Abu Dhabi, Nadal’s first official tournament on the ATP World Tour will be the Qatar Exxon Mobil Open, which takes place between Jan. 4-11 at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex. It will be interesting to see if he remains fit enough to maintain that continuous start to his season ahead of the Australian Open. This marks the 21st time that Nadal and Murray cross paths on the professional tour, with Nadal leading the head-to-head series 15-5. Given Rafa’s dominance over Murray in the series, it would not be farfetched to assume that the Spaniard will have the edge once again. However, given his premature end to 2014, and his plague of injuries, an upset pick for Murray seems to be the correct call.