Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts after winning a point against Russia’s Aslan Karatsev during their match at the Australian Open Tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
- Novak Djokovic is looking for his ninth career Australian Open title
- Daniil Medvedev is in his second Grand Slam final
- The odds are close for the two; we look at who might win and why below
Novak Djokovic and Daniel Medvedev were the top two favorites to win the Australian Open before it began.
And they are the two left standing for Sunday night’s final.
And of all the other players in the draw, Medvedev may have the most legitimate shot at dethroning the eight-time champion.
Novak Djokovic vs Daniil Medvedev Odds
| Novak Djokovic (SRB0||-1.5 (+107)||-117||O 41.5 (-103)|
| Daniil Medvedev (RUS)||+1.5 (-127)||+100||U 41.5 (-115)|
Odds taken Feb. 19 at DraftKings
Medvedev vs Tsitsipas Routine, but Crowd went Wild
The crowds were back on Friday at the Australian Open. A COVID maximum of about 7,500 fans.
And when Stefanos Tsitsipas revived briefly in the third set, the fans were loud. And pretty rough on Medvedev.
On Sunday night, there’s a good chance the Russian will have the crowd with him rather than against him.
The Aussie fans love an underdog. And generally, they aren’t huge Novak Djokovic fans, which is quite a thing considering he’s won their tournament eight times.
But if the fans applaud Djokovic’s missed first serves or double faults (as they did for Medvedev Friday), it’s going to heat up out there.
Novak Djokovic vs Daniil Medvedev Head-to-Head
|33 (May 22, 1987)||Age||25 (Feb. 11, 1996)|
|Belgrade, Serbia||Birthplace||Moscow, Russia|
|81||Career ATP Singles Titles||9|
|No. 1 (July 4, 2011)||Career High Ranking||No. 4 (Sept. 9, 2019)|
|No. 1||Current Ranking||No. 4|
|$145,861,177||Career Prize Money||$14,707,309|
Djokovic admitted Friday that the next generations are talented. But he said he is going to make them work their (behinds) off to overtake him.
Djokovic’s Oblique Injury Sorting Itself
The world No. 1 has been dealing with what he called a tear of the oblique muscle.
The effects of that (in addition to the tape job) were visible at times during his matches leading up to the semifinal.
He would pull up short, or contort his body and change his posture in various ways to try to find a position that didn’t bother him.
A lot of treatment from his own staff and the ATP staff paid off. Djokovic looked more comfortable than he had through the fortnight during his straight-sets win over qualifier Aslan Karatsev.
An Extra Day’s Rest
Djokovic had the luxury of playing his semifinal Thursday night, while Medvedev defeated Tsitsipas on Friday night.
That gives Djokovic the extra day, which historically has been a bit of an advantage – although not a huge one.
1999 🇷🇺 Yevgeny Kafelnikov
2000 🇷🇺 Yevgeny Kafelnikov
2002 🇷🇺 Marat Safin
2004 🇷🇺 Marat Safin
2005 🇷🇺 Marat Safin
2021 🇷🇺 Daniil Medvedev@DaniilMedwed becomes the 3rd Russian man in history to reach the #AusOpen final.#AO2021 pic.twitter.com/sNaU8QAdDQ
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 19, 2021
Since 2000, the winner of the Thursday semifinal has won the Australian Open title 12 times; the winner of the Friday semi has won it nine times.
Novak Djokovic vs Daniil Medvedev: Match History
|2020 ATP Finals||RR||6-3, 6-3||Medvedev|
|2020 ATP Cup||SF||6-1, 5-7, 6-4||Djokovic|
|2019 Masters Cincinnati||SF||3-6, 6-3, 6-3||Medvedev|
|2019 Masters Monte Carlo||QF||6-3, 4-6, 6-2||Medvedev|
|2019 Australian Open||R16||6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-3||Djokovic|
|2017 Eastbourne||SF||6-4, 6-4||Djokovic|
|2017 Davis Cup||1R||3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 1-0 retd||Djokovic|
Rare Close Head-to-Head for Djokovic
It’s not often a player will have such a close head-to-head record against one of the “Big Three”.
Medvedev has beaten Djokovic three of the four times they have met since a fourth-round clash at the 2019 Australian Open won by Djokovic in four sets.
It wasn’t smooth sailing for the No. 1, though.
Medvedev knows Djokovic has a lot more experience in major finals.
But the 25-year-old Russian also believes that Djokovic has a lot more to lose.
The Serb has made the Australian Open final eight times. And he has won all eight times.
Meanwhile, Medvedev has won his last 20 matches going back to last year’s Paris Masters. And 12 of those victories have come against top-10 players (including Djokovic). He has beaten every active member of the top 10 during that span except Roger Federer, who was injured.
One streak is going to be over late Sunday night.
2021 Australian Open Odds Tracker
Human Wall vs Human Wall
Djokovic’s great quality is that it’s incredibly difficult to get the ball past him.
Medvedev has similar qualities. Despite his height, he appears to get to everything with relatively little effort. He also has a bigger serve.
The rallies will be long. The games will be long. But until Djokovic is dethroned, you always have to give him the champion’s edge – oblique permitting.
Since there’s not much in the winner, the value is in the side props.
Tiebreaks over 1.5 stands at +255. The total number of games gets into the positive odds at over 42.5. And that seems likely.
And the odds for the match to go five sets are at +215.
Best Bet: Djokovic in five sets (+510)
Stephanie gets the straight dope from the tennis insiders. On court, she has represented her country internationally. A BA in journalism led to years on the MLB beat and a decade covering tennis globally. She’s written for Postmedia, the Guardian, the New York Times and also publishes OpenCourt.ca.