Nikoloz Basilashvili vs. Andy Murray Australian Open First Round Betting Odds & Analysis
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images. Pictured: Andy Murray
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Nikoloz Basilashvili vs. Andy Murray
|Time||11 p.m. ET (subject to change)|
|Odds via DraftKings. For tips on watching tennis matches, click here.|
Nikoloz Basilashvili has yet to win a match in 2022, but his opponents — Diego Schwartzman, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andy Murray — were no joke. Now, with a bundle of money and ranking points on the line, the Georgian will take aim at sweet revenge against Murray.
“The Great Man,” as he’s called in his home country, came so incredibly close to his first ATP title since 2019 when he advanced to the final in Sydney last week. It was there he was taken out and overpowered by Aslan Karatsev in straight sets, and he’ll be hoping to avoid that same fate to make a run in Australia.
Basilashvili Needs to Display Mental Fortitude
If you’re unfamiliar with Basilashvili, he’s probably the most beautiful tennis player on tour. I mean, he does have luscious hair, but that’s not what I’m really referring to. Basilashvili plays tennis the way you’d construct your ideal tennis player to play. He has long, crisp groundstrokes that pack a real punch and paint the line. His serve flies in and helps him out of break points.
What’s held Basilashvili back, aside from his reluctance to play at the net, has been his head. The Georgian has the tendency to over-hit or lose focus during matches, and that’s why he’s always been a scary guy to bet on.
Against Murray last year at Wimbledon, Basilashvili showcased mental fortitude the likes of which we’ve never seen from him. Down two sets to love and 5-0 in the third set, he won seven consecutive games to take the match to a fourth. It’s a highly unlikely thing to begin with in the sport of tennis, but for a guy who’s been known for his lack of mental strength over his career to do it is incredibly improbable.
Basilashvili went on to lose that match in the fourth, and in his revenge match against Murray last week he’d lose in the maximum allowable three sets. He took the first in a tiebreaker before losing the second in a breaker and the third by one break. The match was about as even as you can get, filled with incredible shot-making and thrilling exchanges from the baseline.
That’s all well and good, but here comes the tough news — Basilashvili is on a five-match losing streak now. While the run to the final of Indian Wells wasn’t so long ago, it has still technically been almost three months since he last won.
Does Murray Still Have What it Takes?
Murray needs no introduction. What he may require is a little update on how he’s doing.
It took a long time for the 34-year-old to get his body and his game back going again after coming out of retirement, but after a full season in 2021 which had its fair share of highlights (and a winning record!) we can expect some good results and maybe even another title in 2022. After all, Murray did beat the likes of Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz last season.
This year has been good to Murray thus far. Though he did suffer a shocking defeat to Facundo Bagnis a couple of weeks ago, Sydney treated him much better. He won four matches — three of which came over Basilashvili, David Goffin and Reilly Opelka — on the way to the final, where he lost to Aslan Karatsev. The win over Goffin came via retirement, but throughout the run it seemed Murray’s body was finally doing what his mind told it to do.
It’s no secret, though, that Murray simply does not move the way he once did now that he has a surgically-repaired hip. His shot-making has returned, as has his serve, but there are plenty of times he can leave himself in compromising positions and get overpowered on the court by a good shot-maker. That’s what happened against Karatsev in the final, when he was simply assaulted with heavy groundstrokes on either side of the court and had to scramble the entire match.
Basilashvili vs. Murray Betting Analysis
Basilashvili, in some ways, profiles the same as Karatsev. He can hit a big, heavy ball and really make it impossible for Murray to win points. We saw this exhibited in their last match in Sydney, where the Georgian could have easily won. It was about as close as a match can be.
There’s no reason Basilashvili can’t win this, and I’d actually anticipate the progressive fatigue catching Murray the later we go in this one. I’m not ruling out a win for the Brit, but he’s not going to get this done inside of five sets if he does prevail. This bet means Basilashvili will need to win two sets, and I think it’s the right one to take given the very slim margins here.
Pick: Basilashvili +1.5 Sets (DraftKings)