By News Team
19th February 2021
After two weeks and six rounds of ferocious tennis, we are down to the final two in this year’s Australian Open as Novak Djokovic takes on Daniil Medvedev on Sunday morning.
The Serb is targeting an 18th Grand Slam title and his ninth in Australia, while Medvedev seeks a first Grand Slam of his career, showing the difference in where these two are in their careers. As the odds suggest, though, this could be a classic and here’s our preview ahead of the finale of the first Grand Slam of the year.
Beware the injured player
It looked as if Djokovic’s quest for a record ninth Australian Open was in danger of being curtailed as an abdominal looked to force him to withdraw. However, the world number one has remarkably battled through the visible pain to make it to yet another Grand Slam final.
Perhaps most worryingly for Medvedev is that Djokovic seems to have got better with each match and although there are still clear signs he’s not 100 per cent, he knows how to get it done on the big stage. He didn’t have a long match against Aslan Karatsev in the semi-finals and he’s clearly the most likely winner.
Russian on track for first Grand Slam
While this year’s Australian Open has been anything but plain-sailing for Djokovic, the same for the most part can’t be said about Medvedev, who has continued his imperious form of the backend of 2020. The Russian’s win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-final was his 20th in a row, with 12 of those coming against players ranked in the top 10 in the world. In short, not only he’s beating the players he should beat, he’s beating the best and it’s a run of form that must give the 25-year-old huge amounts of confidence that he can take home a first Grand Slam title.
You’d have to think he’ll be more streetwise this time too after he lost to Rafael Nadal in last year’s US Open final – an experience Medvedev admits is a big reason for his current purple patch. The Russian is the even-money underdog here, while he’s 4/5 with a 1.5 game headstart.
Recent results suggest this might be Medvedev’s time
Although Djokovic leads the head-to-head between the two finalists 4-3, Medvedev has won three of their last four matches. The most recent of those came at the ATP Tour Finals in November, where the Russian was a convincing winner, allowing Djokovic just a solitary break point. That win showed that the underdog isn’t scared of Djokovic and with his serve working so well over the past two weeks, you can guarantee he’ll be getting plenty of free points.
Granted, his opponent has also served well, despite his injury, but if Medvedev can move him around as he’s been doing then you wonder how much energy the Serbian will have in the tank, especially if the stomach begins to cause him issues. No-one would be surprised if Djokovic won, but there isn’t a hotter man on the planet right now than the Russian and it could be his time to show the tennis world he’s very much a name to be reckoned with.