Daniil Medvedev, the world’s number four, will be looking to clinch his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open on Sunday. But to secure victory, he will have to subdue the tournament’s most successful player, Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic, who’s the world’s number one, is chasing a record-extending ninth Australian Open title and 18th Grand Slam crown. He’s been champion in Melbourne in each of the last two editions and victory on Sunday will see the 33-year-old Serb lift the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup for the third consecutive year.
Djokovic took down the unheralded Aslan Karatsev 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in the semifinals on Thursday in under 2 hours. Karatsev, who’s ranked 113 in the world, had made a surprising run to the last four, taking down big hitters in Felix Auger-Aliassime and Grigor Dimitrov along the way. But Djokovic had no problems in swatting aside the Russian to reach his 28th Grand Slam final.
Medvedev, who’s 25, will be contesting his second Grand Slam final on Sunday after reaching the US Open final in 2019 (lost to Nadal in five sets).
The Russian is on a sensational run of form and has been impeccable this fortnight in Melbourne. He has dropped only two sets en route to the final. In Friday’s semis, he produced wave after wave of astounding shot-making to outclass Stefanos Tsitsipas – who had knocked out Nadal – 6-4, 6-2, 7-5. He’s now gone 20 matches without defeat – a run that includes victories against 12 top-ten players, including Nadal and Djokovic.
However, if he is to defeat Djokovic again, he will have to raise his level and raise it some more.
He defeated Djokovic 6-3, 6-3 in the pair’s most recent encounter at the ATP Finals but Djokovic leads their head-to-head 4-3. Medvedev has said he isn’t focused on the head-to-head and is only looking forward to playing the phenomenal Serb in a major final.
“I think it doesn’t matter that much unless it’s, let’s say 10-0, then for sure, it gets in the head. When it’s 4-3 (to Djokovic) I think every match is different,” the 25-year-old said. “He’s one of the greatest players in the history of tennis. So playing a final against him is superb. I’m really happy about it. Let’s see what happens on Sunday.”
Medvedev is in superb form and has won the Paris Masters, ATP Finals, and ATP Cup all in a row. He now has the chance to secure the biggest title of his career yet when he steps out on Sunday. But Sunday will be a different ball game.
Djokovic has never lost a final at Melbourne Park. The 17-time Grand Slam champion possesses both the physical strength and mental toughness to battle to any length.
Medvedev will have to be at his brilliant best, but against Djokovic, on Rod Laver, that may not be enough.
You can back Djokovic to prevail.