It will be a battle of generations in the Australian Open Men’s Singles final with Daniil Medvedev taking on Rafael Nadal on Sunday evening. A somewhat unexpected 21 is on the cards for Nadal if he wins here, with many expecting 22 at Paris – especially with Novak Djokovic’s participation still in question. Meanwhile, Medvedev would be on his second with victory here showing that his US Open title was no fluke.
It was a favourable matchup for Nadal in the semis against Matteo Berrettini with the Spaniard winning in four sets. A sloppy service game late in the third was one of the few things to worry about for Nadal who had an impressive statline that included 28 winners to just 19 unforced errors. “It’s surprising for me to be able to play at the level that I am playing. Just competing and playing tennis at this high level again, facing the most important players of the world, it’s unbelievable.” he said afterwards.
Medvedev was far from flawless in his four set win over Stefanos Tsitsipas but he delivered at the key moments of the 7-6 4-6 6-4 6-1 win. The opening game of the third set is where the match turned on it’s head, with Tsitsipas failing to convert from 15-40 on the Medvedev serve. From then on, he didn’t get a look on return and Medvedev did the rest on return. He controlled the latter stages from the baseline to book his spot in the final for the second time in four years.
“I am going to play again against one of the greatest and against someone going for their 21st Grand Slam. Grand Slam finals are special and I can remember the final against Rafa at the  US Open. It was my first final and we played for about five hours. We have played a few matches since then and I am ready.” Medvedev said. It was that match which announced him as truly ready to compete with the elite players on the tour. While he lost in five sets, he did was close to one of the most improbable comebacks of all time in that match. Medvedev continues to improve and is a top two player on hard courts right now. It remains somewhat disappointing that he didn’t get the chance to face Novak Djokovic for the second slam running but Rafael Nadal is a suitable foe too. It should be an incredibly physical affair but the Russian should be up to the task and may even be in better shape should this one turn into a marathon.
Prediction – Daniil Medvedev in four sets