After a fantastic two weeks of Australian Open action, two of the greatest tennis players of all time will duke it out in the final match of the tournament to see who takes home the 2019 Men’s Singles crown. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will get the final underway from 7.30pm on Sunday night and we have a full preview and betting tips for the game below.
Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal
Sunday, 27th of January, 7.30pm AEDT
After an injury plagued 2017 that saw him reach the quarter final in just two of the four Grand Slams and advance no further, Novak Djokovic bounced back in the later parts of 2018 to win the final two Grand Slams on the tour, Wimbledon and the US Open, and return to the No.1 on the ATP rankings.
Djokovic picked up his fourth Wimbledon crown in 2018, however, the Australian Open remains his favourite tournament, having picked up six titles including five of the last eight. After back to back wins to Roger Federer, however, Djokovic hasn’t claimed a win in the Australian Open since 2016, and will be looking to hoist the trophy once more on Sunday night.
Considering he was the number one seed heading into the tournamnet, Djokovic has encountered a pretty tricky road to the final, which included a second-round matchup against former top five player in the world Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.
Djokovic Road to the Final:
Round 1: dft. Mitchell Krueger 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
Round 2: dft. Jo-Wilfred Tsonga 6-3, 7-5, 6-4
Round 3: dft. Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0
Round 4: dft. Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-7, 6-3, 6-3
QF: dft. Kei Nishikori 6-1, 4-1 ret.
SF: dft. Lucas Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 6-2
Djokovic has faced a top 20 caliber player in every round since the second, and made fairly light work of all of them. Daniil Medvedev arguably gave Djokovic the most issue with a strong serve and decent baseline game, however, the way the world No.1 dismantled Lucas Pouille in the semifinal was daunting.
Novak already has 14 Grand Slam titles to his name and can draw one closer to the greats of the generation in Roger Federer (20) and his opponent Rafael Nadal (17) with a win on Sunday night.
Inarguably the greatest clay court player of all time, Rafael Nadal has also made a fair living on the hard court as well, picking up four combined wins in the Austraian Open and US Open. His solitary Aus Open win came all the way back in 2009, when he defeated Roger Federer in an epic five set match.
Since that 2009 win, Nadal has made the quarter final or better in every Australian Open he has played in with the exception of the 2016 season, when injury got the better of him. In that time, he has also made it to the final of three separate Australian Open tournaments, losing to Djokovic, Stan Warwinka and Roger Federer in each.
Nadal’s road to the final probably hasn’t been as tough as his Serbian counterparts, however, you can only beat who they put in front of you, and Rafa has been doing so quite convincingly.
Nadal Road to the Final:
Round 1: dft. James Duckworth 6-4, 6-3, 7-5
Round 2: dft. Matthew Ebden 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
Round 3: dft. Alex de Minour 6-1, 6-2, 6-4
Round 4: dft. Tomas Berdych 6-0, 6-1, 7-6
QF: dft. Frances Tafou 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
SF: dft. Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4, 6-0
Nadal is yet to drop a set in the 2019 Australian Open, however, his run has been fairly straightforward. Nadal played the role of Aussie heartbreaker in the first week of play, dismantling three Australians in the first three rounds in Duckworth, Ebden and de Minour.
He got arguably his toughest test from Czech Tomas Berdych, who took him to a tiebreaker in one of their three sets, which is the closest any player has got to pinching a set of the Spaniard master in the tournament.
When on clay, Rafa can regularly get away with not playing his best tennis, however, his powerful top spinning forehand doesn’t always translate to the hardcourt if he is not hitting them at full capacity. Lucky for him, his forehand looks on song in 2019 so far, which should set up a hell of a contest on Sunday night.
Both of our pre-tournament tips, Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic, have made it through to the final of their respective draw, so we aren't going to stray away from them now.
Nadal has looked nearly unstoppable through the tournament so far but he hasn’t faced a returner anywhere close to Novak’s level. The Serb should be able to put more pressure on Rafa’s serve than anyone has at the Australian Open and on the other side of the ball, Novak’s serve has been a big weapon for him.
It’s a horses for courses set up here as you have arguably the best hard court player of all time facing off against the best clay court player of all time, unfortunately for Rafa, the Australian Open is played on the former.
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