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Andy Murray will head into the Australian Open as the in-form guy after he successfully defended his Brisbane International crown on Sunday just a week before the first Grand Slam of the season begins.

Murray, who also won the title last season, bounced back from defeat in Abu Dhabi to claim his 24th tour singles title with a tricky 7-6 (7-0) 6-4 victory over Grigor Dimitrov. The win gives him the perfect stringboard into the Australian Open, where his Australian Open odds suggest punters are becoming increasingly optimistic about his chances of success.

Fans are indeed right to be hopeful for Murray in Melbourne, for the Scot showed his steely side to battle back against a resolute Dimitrov. Murray found himself 3-0 down in the first set after losing 11 of the first 12 points and had to battle hard to claw his way back into the match, while he was also broken early in the second before again springing into life.

These dips in concentration must be eradicated before Melbourne next week, for many betting writers expect Murray to progress at least to the semis this January and after this Brisbane victory may even hope for greater success.

Indeed, Murray could be a realistic favourite for the Grand Slam after his rivals – Rodger Federer and Novak Djokovic – expose unsteady form in the build-up to Melbourne. While Djokovic lost his Hopman Cup singles match to Bernard Tomic last week before Serbia lost to Spain in the final two days later, Federer is yet to play a competitive game this season.

This leaves Murray the in-form player and despite being seeded third for Melbourne he is likely to scalp either one of his two rivals before the final on 27 January.
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