Djokovic favoured

By Tim Clement - Twitter: @SkyTimClement.   Last Updated: 12/02/13 11:32am

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Murray and Djokovic: Meeting for the 18th time in Sunday's final

Murray and Djokovic: Meeting for the 18th time in Sunday's final

Sky Bet

Andy Murray may head into Sunday's Australian Open final with a new-found confidence and respect, but it is Novak Djokovic who is still attracting the support from the betting industry.

Much has been made of the difference in the Scot's game since winning his maiden Grand Slam title and, with the shackles of so many near misses broken, what he can go on to achieve.

While Murray can take great confidence from his US Open triumph, no place reverberates with memories of his final-hurdle falls more than Melbourne Park, having lost back-to-back finals in the Rod Laver Arena in 2010 and 2011.

Djokovic's presence on the other side of the net also tends to bode badly for Murray Down Under, with the Serb halting his progress en route to winning the last two titles.

Sky Bet make the world number one 4/7 to become the first male in the Open Era to win three successive Australian Open titles.

Murray is considered the 6/4 outsider, with contrasting semi-final encounters clearly holding real significance.

Having crushed David Ferrer at the expense of just five games, Djokovic was able to enjoy an extra day's rest as Murray slugged out a five-set battle with Roger Federer.

How much we should read into that looks questionable, with the Serb's imperious display coming not long after a five-set epic clash with Stanislas Wawrinka.

Contrasting routes

Barry Cowan's tips

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Battle-hardened Murray hardly over exerted himself against Federer, with both players on the attack throughout, keeping the rallies short amid relatively cool conditions.

Djokovic would have probably preferred a day less rest after his performance against Ferrer, but it is certainly being seen as a real positive, with the majority of bets coming for another failure for Murray.

A look at the head-to-head record paints a similar picture to the odds, with Djokovic leading 10-7 having edged the Scot 5-4 in their meetings last year.

Sky Bet Tennis Odds Compiler Ned Brooker said: "There is very little between Djokovic and Murray now Murray has proven he can deliver the goods on the big stage, but punters are somewhat surprisingly siding with Serb.

"Djokovic's record at Melbourne Park plays a significant part in his status as favourite and justifies his support, having produced the best tennis of his career here in accumulating three titles.

"The court is also expected to play a bit slower with conditions cooler, which is considered favourable to the reigning champion, while his performance against Ferrer was of the highest quality."

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