Djokovic can keep crown as Murray faces tall task

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Wimbledon is under way and we bet 11/1 that Andy Murray can break his major championship hoodoo.

The British number 1 has reached the semi-finals in the last three years, but will do well to do it this time, given he has a very tough draw.

Novak Djokovic is 13/8 to retain his title and Rafa Nadal 5/2 to follow up his win in the French Open.

Roger Federer is 4/1 from 11/2 having looked magnificent on Monday in the first round, but he finds it difficult to compete with the big two these days, and the six-time champion is seeded to meet Djokovic in the semis and Nadal in the final.

It is Djokovic for me in the men’s tournament and Serena Williams to gain a fifth Wimbledon title in the women’s.

This time last year, I thought 2011 winner Petra Kvitova would go on to dominate the women’s game but she has been slightly disappointing of late and the preference is for Williams, despite the fact that she lost in the first round of the French Open.

England meet Australia tomorrow in the first of five one-day internationals at Lord’s and it should be a terrific series, with England in excellent form so far.

BetVictor bet 10/11 the pair in the series betting and the same price in tomorrow’s opener.

Ricky Ponting has retired from the one-day game but it is still a formidable Australian batting line-up, with openers David Warner and Shane Watson 3/1 favourites to be top run-scorers for their side in the series and the opening match.

James Anderson and Stuart Broad are a capable bowling unit at any time but particularly under English conditions, and I think it will be tough at the top of the innings and like the 5/1 for David Hussey to be top series bat for the tourists. Mr Cricket was in the runs at Chelmsford in midweek, and the Aussies look up for the battle.

England openers Ian Bell and Alistair Cook were in excellent form against the West Indies and they are 3/1 joint favourites to be leading run-scorers for the hosts in the series. The Aussies have genuine pace in their ranks and I think Jonathan Trott at 7/2 is best-equipped.

Germany will meet Italy in tonight’s second semi-final of Euro 2012 and there is no doubt that the best four teams in the competition made it through to the last four. England were unbeaten in four games and must be applauded for that, but I can honestly say that I would not back them at 16/1 for the World Cup in 2014.

Ahead of tonight’s second semi-final, bet 6/4 Germany and 6/1 Italy to lift the trophy in Kiev on Sunday night. Germany are a shade of odds on at 9/10 to beat the Azzurri (15/4) and I think there will be a shock despite the Italians playing 48 hours after Germany in the quarter finals.

Major golf winners Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell tee up at Royal Portrush in an Irish Open that has already become the first European event to sell out for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

McIlroy is the 6/1 favourite and is the most naturally gifted golfer on the planet but he is far too short in an excellent field and my two against the field are American Keegan Bradley at 33/1 and Padraig Harrington at 11/1.

Tiger Woods plays in the AT&T National in the States - his first event since his capitulation in the final round of the US Open. At 11/2 he is readily opposed and the nod goes to Hunter Mahan at 14s.

In the big race of the weekend, the Northumberland Plate, The Betchworth Kid can reward each-way support, at 16-1.