The Fed Effect

Am I the only one who was a bit surprised by the odds that were on offer for Andy Murray vs. Roger Federer in the Indian Wells semifinal?

On Saturday, the 21st of March, one bookmaker was offering 2.20 for Murray and 1.67 for Federer. Considering their history against each other I wonder how long it will be, if ever, before Murray is installed as the favourite for this match up. I say this because Murray had won the previous four encounters between the two, and had a 6-2 record against Federer leading up to this game.

I know I’m a bit cheeky writing this article after the game, which Murray won 6-3 4-6 6-1, to extend his winning streak to five, but the odds to seem to be a bit of an anomaly. Having played competitive tennis myself I know that every now and then you have people ranked below you that you consistently lose to, and people ranked above you that you can consistently beat. It just seems that bookmakers and punters are preoccupied with rankings (Murray is 4, Federer is 2).

I don’t see what has changed in the last six or so months to suggest that Murray’s winning trend against Federer will end. Yes, Federer will beat Murray in future matches, but the betting odds suggest Federer will win the majority of them, and I’m not convinced that’s the case.

I have placed bets on Murray for his last three matches against Federer and will continue to do so, so long as bookmakers continue to offer more than 2.00 for him.

Below is their match up history, courtesy of SportsBet.

Murray: 7 wins
Federer: 2 wins

Date Tournament Round Surface Winner   Score
21/3/2009   Indian Wells, USA   Semifinals   Hardcourt   Murray   6-3 4-6 6-1
9/1/2009   Doha, Qatar   Semifinals   Hardcourt   Murray   6-7 6-2 6-2
2/1/2009   Capitala Champs, Abu Dhabi   Semifinals   Hardcourt   Murray   4-6 6-2 7-6
14/11/2008   Shanghai Red Group, China   Quarterfinals   Hardcourt   Murray   4-6 7-6 7-5
18/10/2008   Madrid, Spain   Semifinals   Hardcourt   Murray   3-6 6-3 7-5
8/9/2008   US Open, New York, USA   Final   Hardcourt   Federer   2-6 5-7 2-6
3/3/2008   Dubai Tennis Champs, UAE   R32   Hardcourt   Murray   6-7 6-3 6-4
16/08/2006   ATP MS Cincinnati, USA   R32   Hardcourt   Murray   7-5 6-4
2/10/2005   Thailand Open   Final   Hardcourt   Federer   3-6 5-7

It’s interesting to note that both of Murray’s losses to Federer have occurred in finals. I watched Murray lose to Federer in the US Open final and thought Murray looked a little overawed by the occasion. If they go head to head again in a Grand Slam final and Murray doesn’t yet have a Grand Slam title under his belt, I might sit on the sidelines. Other than that, my money will be on Murray.

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