• Novak Djokovic has battled his way to the Australian Open as he bids for a record ninth title.
  • Daniil Medvedev makes his second Slam final – can he go one more step and win a maiden major?

 

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It all comes down to this as Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev will bring the curtain down on the 2021 Australian Open.

 

Head to Head

Novak Djokovic [1] Daniil Medvedev [4]
4 3

 

After what started as one way traffic for Djokovic in their head-to-head, Medvedev has been slowly catching up to him, and more importantly picked up a win against him on his way to the ATP Tour Finals title last year.

Advantage: Djokovic

 

Titles History

  Djokovic Medvedev
Titles (2021) 81 (0) 9 (0)
Slams 17 0

 

A lot of history is on the line for Djokovic as he goes for a record ninth Australian Open title, but more importantly is looking to close the gap on Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, on 20 titles each.

For Medvedev he is looking for his major title, and to be the third Russian man o win a Grand Slam title.

Advantage: Djokovic

 

Year to Date/Career W/L Record (Source: ITF Match Notes)

  Djokovic Medvedev
All surfaces W/L 8-0 / 942-192 10-0 / 170-86
Hard Court 8-0 / 612-114 10-0 / 142-56

 

Neither have been lost a match since the start of the season, but arguably there has been more drama on Djokovic than there has with Medvedev, who largely came through his draw under the radar with maybe the exception of being taken to five sets by Filip Krajinovic, and having his own coach leave the stands in that match.

Djokovic has had drama from the third round with the whole ‘has he/hasn’t he injured himself very badly’ but his performances since then have been solid enough – taken to four sets admittedly by Milos Raonic and Alexander Zverev, but proving strong enough to resume business as usual, before ending the fairy-tale run of Aslan Karatsev.

Deuce

 

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Match Stats 2021 (Source: Tennis Abstract)

  Djokovic Medvedev
Tie-Breaks 4-3 0-0
Deciding sets 2-0 2-0

 

Tie-breaks

Djokovic has looked the more likely to be taken to a tie-break while Medvedev has not had to face one this year.

Deciding Sets

Both have been stretched a couple of times this season.

Advantage: Medvedev

 

Tournament

Serve/Return

Medvedev has been fractionally more precise behind his first serve, but Djokovic has been better on his second serve, with Medvedev being sharper when it comes to receiving points won. Djokovic has played more sets, and interestingly despite having played less games, Medvedev tops Djokovic in terms of total points won.

Advantage: Medvedev

 

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What they had to say & Prediction

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You could argue that all the pressure is actually on Djokovic’s shoulders. He already holds he record of Australian Open titles, and no one is going to catch up to that in a long while now, so the ultimate prize for Djokovic is to catch, and in all probability will eventually surpass both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

He said: “It contributes to more confidence, you know, prior to coming into the finals knowing that I never lost in the finals or semi-finals just makes me feel more comfortable being on the court. But each year is different, although it does have a mental effect on me, maybe on my opponents, I don’t know, but on me it does definitely have a positive effect.

“Daniil Medvedev is the player to beat. He’s on a big winning streak. He ended out the season best possible fashion. I mean, winning quite comfortably, actually, against top players, against myself in straight sets in London, and he just has improved a lot. I mean, he has a big serve.

“For a tall guy, he moves extremely well. Forehand maybe was his weaker shot, but he has improved that, as well. Backhand is as good as it gets. He’s so solid. He doesn’t give you much. But he’s not afraid nowadays to attack and get to the net and take it to his opponents.

“He’s just so solid. Also, I heard Jim Courier calling him a master chess player because of the way he tactically positions himself on the court, and it’s true. You know, he’s definitely very smart tennis player.”

Medvedev made Nadal earn that US Open win, and pushed him to the limit, but felt like so much of an outsider at the time, but this time around it feels that it is right he should be knocking at the door this time.

Medvedev said, after is semi-final: “I think he’s the favourite because he didn’t lose. In eight occasions that he was here in the semis he won the tournament. Me, I’m, how you can call it, I don’t know how you call it in English, not an outsider, but I’m the challenger, the guy that challenge the guy who was eight times in the final and won eight times. And I’m happy about it.

“I like to play against Novak. We have, since the first one when I was ranked 60, we had always tough matches physically, mentally. And he’s one of the greatest tennis players in the history of tennis. So playing final against him is superb. I’m really happy about it. Let’s see what happens on Sunday.

“When I say no pressure, for sure when we get out there we both feel pressure. I want to win my first one. He wants to win No. 18. We don’t know for who the crowd is going to be. It’s all the small details. I think if we talk in general, well, I have nothing to lose, to be honest.”

Medvedev is certainly capable of starting well, and taking at least one set off Djokovic, if not pushing him the distance, but to beat Djokovic in his wheelhouse? This is a good stepping-stone to Slam greatness for the Russian, but maybe not tonight.

Prediction: Djokovic in five sets.

The Australian Open men’s singles final takes place on 21 February, at 7:30pm (8:30am GMT)

 

Who will win the Australian Open Men’s Singles Final

 

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