Irresistible force vs immovable object: What you need to know as Medvedev eyes history against Djokovic in Australian Open final


The battle for the Australian Open title between Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev is almost upon us, with the Russian hoping to make history by beating the Serbian legend in Melbourne on Sunday.

Before the showdown at the Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park, here are some of the pertinent facts you need to know.

Medvedev, 25, is bidding to become the first player to defeat Djokovic in an Australian Open final, with the Serb enjoying a winning sequence that spans an incredible eight finals.  

Djokovic’s previous beaten opponents in finals in Melbourne include Rafael Nadal (twice), Andy Murray (four times), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (once) and, last time out, Dominic Thiem.

Djokovic, 33, is chasing an 18th Grand Slam title, which would move him to within two titles of the record hauls held by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.  

World number one Djokovic is top seed for the tournament, with Medvedev seeded fourth. 

In the pair’s head-to-head record, the Serbian star has the edge, winning four of his seven matches against Medvedev.

However, Medvedev’s three wins have come in the pair’s past four meetings. 

In their most recent encounter, the Russian beat Djokovic at the Nitto ATP Finals in London, where he claimed the title.

The 6ft 6in Medvedev will be appearing in his second Grand Slam final, having contested the 2019 US Open final, where he lost in five sets against Rafael Nadal.  

Heading into Sunday’s match, Medvedev is on an incredible 20-match winning streak which includes wins against every top-10 player except for Roger Federer, who hasn’t played for more than year due to an injury.

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Djokovic’s route to the final has included three four-set matches and one five-setter. In the semifinal, Djokovic beat Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev.   

  • First round: Jeremy Chardy (France) 6-3 6-1 6-2
  • Second round: Frances Tiafoe (US) 6-3 6-7(3) 7-6(2) 6-3
  • Third round: Taylor Fritz (US, 27th seed) 7-6(1) 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-2
  • Fourth round: Milos Raonic (Canada, 14) 7-6(4) 4-6 6-1 6-4
  • Quarter-finals: Alexander Zverev (Germany, 6) 6-7(6) 6-2 6-4 7-6(6)
  • Semi-finals: Aslan Karatsev (Russia) 6-3 6-4 6-2

Djokovic struggled with an abdominal injury earlier in the tournament, but said after his win against Karatsev that he was feeling “the best I’ve felt all tournament.”  

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Medvedev’s path to the final has involved less court time, with only one of his matches going beyond three sets.  

  • First round: Vasek Pospisil (Canada) 6-2 6-2 6-4
  • Second round: Roberto Carballes Baena (Spain) 6-2 7-5 6-1
  • Third round: Filip Krajinovic (Serbia, 28th seed) 6-3 6-3 4-6 3-6 6-0
  • Fourth round: Mackenzie McDonald (US) 6-4 6-2 6-3
  • Quarter-finals: Andrey Rublev (Russia, 7th seed) 7-5 6-3 6-2
  • Semi-finals: Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece, 5th seed) 6-4 6-2 7-5

After his semifinal win over Stefanos Tsitsipas, Medvedev joked that he doesn’t feel any pressure ahead of the final as it will be his first attempt at clinching the coveted title in Australia.

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Should Medvedev win on Sunday, he will rise to the world number two spot – becoming the first man outside of Djokovic, Nadal, Murray and Federer to be placed in the top pair of men’s tennis since July of 2005. 

In terms of career prize money, as you would expect, Djokovic is way ahead with $145.8 million, compared to $14.7 million for the Russian

In a premature move, Djokovic’s racket sponsors have congratulated the Serb on winning the title ahead of the final, making it clear who they consider the favorite.

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Medvedev, meanwhile, will have different ideas as the rest of us watch on with interest on Sunday, when play gets underway at 19:30 local time in Melbourne (08:30 GMT; 03:30 ET in the US). 

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