Daniil Medvedev denied Novak Djokovic’s quest to become the first men’s player to win 21 career Grand Slam titles at last year’s U.S. Open.
He’s favored to do the same to Rafael Nadal in the men’s final at the Australian Open on Sunday.
Both players survived four-set semifinals to reach the final. Nadal has one previous Australian Open title in 2009, while Medvedev lost in straight sets to Djokovic in last year’s final in Melbourne.
Medvedev is the -190 favorite at BetMGM, where the Russian has been backed by 49 percent of the money wagered on the men’s champion. However, Nadal is the clear sentimental choice with 66 percent of the bets supporting the Spaniard.
Nadal is currently tied with Djokovic and Roger Federer with 20 career Grand Slam titles each, and will be making his sixth appearance in an Australian Open final.
“For me, it’s all about the Australian Open more than anything else,” he said in his on-court interview after beating Italian Matteo Berrettini in the first semifinal. “It’s just an amazing event. … I have been a little bit unlucky during my career (here) with some injuries, and at times I played amazing finals with good chances against Novak in 2012, against Roger in 2017 (both five-set defeats).
“I was close a couple times. I feel very lucky that I won once (here) in my career, 2009. But I never thought about another chance in 2022.”
If Nadal prevails Sunday, he would join Djokovic, Roy Emerson and Rod Laver as the only male players to win each of the majors at least twice.
Nadal has won three of four head-to-head matches with Medvedev, including a five-setter in the 2019 U.S. Open final.
Medvedev, 25, reached his second straight Australian Open final with a 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 defeat of No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.
The action has been far more one-sided ahead of the women’s final.
Australia’s Ashleigh Barty is the -500 favorite to beat American Danielle Collins (375). The top-ranked Barty has Wimbledon and French Open titles on her resume, but is trying to win her first Grand Slam title in her home country.
She became the first Australian woman to reach the final of the home-country major since Wendy Turnbull in 1980, and is seeking to become the first Australian to win the title since Chris O’Neil in 1978.
“As an Aussie, we are spoiled that we are a Grand Slam nation,” Barty said after her semifinal. “And now we have a chance to play for a title.”
Barty has been backed by 58 percent of the bets and 82 percent of the money wagered on the women’s champion, compared to 42 and 18 percent for Collins.
In six matches in the tournament, Barty has lost just 21 games and been on the court a total of six hours and six minutes.
The 27th-seeded Collins will be playing in her first Grand Slam final and has won only one of four previous meetings against Barty.
No matter the outcome against Barty, Collins will reach the Top 10 of the rankings next week for the first time. And it’s particularly gratifying for her as she rebounds from serious health issues that impacted her last season.
“It feels amazing. It has been such a journey,” she said after beating Iga Swiatek. “It is so many years of hard work. Yesterday, I spoke about all the early mornings my dad would get up and practice with me before school. It is incredible to be on this stage, especially after all the health challenges. I couldn’t be happier.”
–Field Level Media