With Novak Djokovic out already, the tournament in Madrid now seems to have only one big favourite in Rafael Nadal. However, it would be wrong to discount some of the other challengers, including the world’s number three, Andy Murray, who will face Gilles Simon on Thursday.

Match: Gilles Simon vs Andy Murray

Andy Murray

Source: pk2004 @ Flickr

Selection: Gilles Simon

Best Odds: 5.77 @ Pinnacle

We all know how great Andy Murray can be, but the truth is that it would probably be wrong to say that he is a serious challenger for the title in Madrid this week. His problems on clay courts are well-documented and his start to this year’s European clay court swing does indeed suggest that there is still much work to be done in that regard.

To make things even more complicated, he had plenty of problems against Florian Mayer in his first match in Madrid, which is a fairly bad sign for his overall chances, as the German has not been playing that well in recent weeks. Thankfully for the Scot, Mayer made enough mistakes in the end and allowed him to progress.

Gilles Simon, however, should be a tougher nut to crack in many regards, as he is a guy that will stay in all the rallies and that will capitalize on Murray’s unforced errors, which seem to be troubling him quite often right now. The H2H record might be a grim reading for the Frenchman, but he will know that this will be a good opportunity for him to make a good impression and that Murray is indeed a guy that he can defeat right now.

The bottom line here is that the odds seem to be based purely on the H2H record here, which allows shrewd punters to back him at a huge price – and backing him at such odds is indeed the betting recommendation for today.