Novak Djokovic can win his third straight Australian Open title on Sunday, but will have to contend with the red-hot Daniil Medvedev if he wants to pick up his 18th Grand Slam title.
Medvedev made short work of Stefanos Tsitsipas in his semifinal matchup, beating the No. 5 seed 6-4 6-2, 7-5 on Friday.
Medvedev: Pressure is on Djokovic in Final
The 25-year-old Russian now boasts a 20-match winning streak, which includes 12 wins over top 10 players.
Medvedev will now make his second Grand Slam finals appearance, having lost to Rafael Nadal in the 2019 US Open final. The No. 4 seed says he’s looking forward to the challenge of playing an all-time great, and says he has at least one advantage in the matchup.
“It’s him that has all the pressure, getting to Roger or Rafa in the Grand Slams,” Medvedev said after beating Tsitsipas. “So I just hope that I’m going to get out here, show my best tennis. As we see, I can win [against] some big names if I play good. That’s the main part. He has, for sure, more experience, but more things to lose than me.”
|Australian Open Odds – Men’s Final (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Novak Djokovic: -116||Daniil Medvedev: +100|
Djokovic also eased into the Australian Open final, beating Russian qualified Aslan Karatsev 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. That put an end to Karatsev’s magical run. He had never before made the main draw of a Grand Slam, then won five straight matches before falling to the No. 1 seed.
“It’s given me more confidence – I’ve started to believe more,” Karatsev said after the loss. “I can play with everyone.”
Karatsev will move into the top 50 in the world rankings after the Australian Open, meaning he’ll be able to directly enter any tournament he wants for the foreseeable future.
Oddsmakers See Tight Battle for Australian Open Title
Djokovic has struggled with an abdominal muscle injury he suffered in the third round. However, he said that he was feeling much better in the semifinal.
“I felt great,” Djokovic said. “I could swing through the ball. No pain. Best match so far. It came at the right time. I’m thrilled to feel this way.”
Djokovic enters the match as a favorite, but only barely. Between Medvedev’s hot streak and Djokovic’s injury issues, FanDuel Sportsbook has made the defending champion only a -116 pick, with Medvedev fetching +100 odds.
Medvedev, however, is happy to claim the role of underdog going into the Australian Open final.
“[Djokovic] is the favorite because…[in all] eight occasions that he was in the semifinals, he won the tournament,” Medvedev said. “I’m the challenger, the guy that challenges the guy who was eight times in the final and won eight times. I’m happy about it.”
Djokovic holds a 4-3 lifetime head-to-head advantage over Medvedev. However, the Russian won their last encounter, a 6-3, 6-3 victory at the Nitto ATP Finals last year.