We have at last reached the final match at this year’s Australian Open. This tournament started over a month ago with qualifying, involved hard quarantines for dozens of players, and two full weeks of incredible tennis. Naomi Osaka and Jennifer Brady fight for the women’s trophy on Saturday (we also predict that match), while Sunday’s men’s final will display Novak Djokovic vs Daniil Medvedev. Can the Serbian win his 18th career Major title? Or will the Russian win his first? Our writers offer our thoughts on the match. Predicting this match are myself (Yesh Ginsburg), Fraser Learmonth, Harsh Bhoot, Jim Smith, and Damian Kust.
Australian Open Men’s Final Predictions
Novak Djokovic vs Daniil Medvedev
There is some suggestion that this has been a problematic matchup for Djokovic, and there is undeniably an element of truth in that. But the Serbian has still beaten Medvedev more often than Medvedev has beaten him. He has also managed to find a way, even when not at his very best, to win every Australian Open final he has played. This looks likely to be a long and grueling match, but expect the World #1 to be the man lifting the trophy at the end of it.
Prediction: Djokovic in 5
The final that many expected before the event and one between two competitors who performed at the highest level throughout the fortnight. Their rivalry is very even, with Djokovic carrying a slight head-to-head lead after many memorable matches. The Serbian’s abdominal injury is no longer an issue, and the semifinal against Aslan Karatsev was the best match he’s played all tournament. However, I don’t think his level is just as amazing as Daniil Medvedev’s. This is a second Grand Slam final for the Russian, whose game is now much more polished than two years ago at the US Open. He doesn’t look like he’s going to back off when given the chance to clinch that major title and seems very much ready for it. With 12 straight wins over top 10 opposition, Medvedev should add another one in the most important match he’s ever played.
Prediction: Medvedev in 5
Crazy as it sounds, Daniil Medvedev has been the better player so far this tournament. His game is clicking at an unbelievable level. Of course, Djokovic has been the epitome of “unbelievable” for a full decade now. The Serbian’s level hasn’t dropped, but we might finally have someone with the level and playing style to disrupt it. Djokovic’s usual aggressive defense-based style (yes, I made that term up, but it’s an accurate description) won’t work against the Russian. The World #1 will need to attack points much earlier to win. That takes him out of his comfort zone. As long as the occasion doesn’t weigh on Medvedev too much, he should be able to win.
Prediction: Medvedev in 4
The two best hard court tennis players in the world over the last year or so have booked their respective places in the Australian Open final. This is the matchup many tennis fans around the world hoped for when they saw the draw for the tournament and we got our wish. Medvedev was sublime in dismissing Tsitsipas in stragith sets in his semifinal. Similarly, Djokovic was his clinical self against the qualifier Karatsev and extended his unbeaten run in Australian OPen semifinals to 9. Both are playing some of their best tennis heading into this final and if that stays the case when they meet we are in for an instant classic.
The fact of the matter is this match is on Djokovic’s racket. If the Serbian plays at his best, he is as close to unbeatable as you can get on a hard court. That is particularly true on Rod Laver Arena. If Medvedev is to win, he must hope Djokovic is slightly off his game. It doesn’t need to be for a whole match either, which is a tribute to the level the Russian is playing at right now. If Djokovic dips even slightly and does so often enough, Medvedev has a real shot here. However, I find it hard to bet against the person who’s racket the match is on. Djokovic has looked at his best this tournament. That level has won him 17 Grand Slams and it will win him his 18th on Sunday. Medvedev looks destined to win a Major at some point, but it won’t be this one. At least not yet.
Prediction: Djokovic in 4
The final many expected is upon us. This title clash should be nothing short of spectacular. Both players dominated their semifinal matches, which makes this match an extremely close contest. Daniil Medvedev knows what it takes to beat Novak Djokovic, but hasn’t beaten him over best of five. Chances are that trend may be broken. Djokovic has been his usual self since the Fritz match, but Medvedev puts forth a very different matchup for the Serb. Djokovic will look to be the aggressor as any other way will see him lose. Any bet against Djokovic here in Melbourne will be wrong most of the times but it just feels like Medvedev is too comfortable with his tennis and can at times beat Djokovic at his own game.
Prediction: Medvedev in 5
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