For the first time since 2005, the men’s Australian Open final will not feature one of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer, but it still promises to be an epic as two of the world’s finest in Jannik Sinner and Daniil Medvedev square off for the title.
Sinner will be featuring in his maiden Grand Slam final, but he is riding the crest of a wave after his four-set semi-final victory over world number one and defending champion Djokovic.
That match included the only set that the Italian fourth seed has dropped on his way to this Melbourne Park title decider and that formidability could spell trouble for Medvedev.
The Russian world number three has twice finished runner-up at the Australian Open - he lost to Djokovic in 2021 and was beaten by Nadal a year later - and he has had to dig deep to make his third major final Down Under.
Medvedev has spent over 20 hours on court, almost six hours longer than Sinner, and three of his six wins have come in a fifth and final set.
On two occasions, in round two against Emil Ruusuvuori and in his semi-final showdown with Alexander Zverev, the 27-year-old has had to claw himself back from two sets down and a similarly slow start against Sinner could be fatal.
The ease in which the Italian has made the final is why he is 1/3 to reign supreme, while Medvedev is 9/4 to claim his second Grand Slam title following his US Open victory in 2021.
Jannik Sinner -1.5 sets on handicap @ 4/6
Medvedev can draw upon the experience of his five past Grand Slam finals in this mouthwatering clash with Sinner, but there is no reason to believe that the Italian is going to blink just because of the size of the occasion.
Sinner had every right to show nerves in his semi-final showdown with Djokovic, a ten-time Australian Open champion who was on a 33-game winning streak at Melbourne Park.
But the Italian was anything but as he raced into a 6-1 6-2 lead, before seeing the contest out in four, holding his serve every time without even facing a break point.
If Djokovic, the greatest returner the game has ever seen, can’t create a break-point opportunity on the Sinner serve then what chance does Medvedev have?
The only set the Italian has dropped on his way to the final came in a third-set tiebreak against Djokovic and he will be buoyed by the fact that he has won his last three meetings with the Russian.
Two of those recent victories over Medvedev came in hardcourt finals at the back end of last season in Vienna and Beijing, highlighting that he can still deliver his best when the pressure is on.
There must also be some concern that fatigue will play its part as Medvedev has been embroiled in some hefty battles, winning only one of his six matches in straight sets and contesting three final-set deciders.
Not only is that physically demanding but it is mentally draining too and that should ensure Sinner can prevail by at least two sets and secure his maiden Grand Slam crown.
Jannik Sinner to win 3-1 @ 13/5
Bettors hoping to get some more bang for their buck can side with Sinner to win 3-1, just as he did in his semi-final against Djokovic.
Medvedev has got a set on the board in his last two defeats to Sinner and his never-say-die attitude is commendable, something which will be required in this title decider.
The Russian made it a physical test of strength with some lung-busting rallies against Zverev and he may look to utilise the same tactics against Sinner, a player with similar weapons to the German.
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