Jannik Sinner and Daniil Medvedev reignite their enthralling rivalry to contest the first Grand Slam Final of the year. But who will lift the trophy come the early hours of Sunday morning?
The final of the Australian Open is set.
Jannik Sinner and Daniil Medvedev will battle it out to decide who will be crowned the first Grand Slam champion of the year.
The pair were involved in one of the most riveting rivalries of the 2023 season, facing each other five times with Sinner prevailing in their head-to-head 3-2.
Despite this, their match on Sunday morning will be the first time that the pair have met at Grand Slam level, but if their previous encounters are anything to go by, it will be an exceptional final.
This will be Daniil Medvedev’s third time in the Australian Open final, and his sixth appearance in a Grand Slam final. On the other hand, this will be Sinner’s first time in a Major final and he will be hoping for first time lucky when he clashes with a foe he knows all too well.
Medvedev and Sinner’s rivalry last year was one of the highlights of the 2023 tour, with their matches usually being entertaining and highly competitive.
With all the hype that has surrounded the rivalry between Djokovic and Alcaraz, Sinner and Medvedev have burst from the shadows of the aforementioned superstars to prove that there is indeed immense depth in men’s tennis.
The form Sinner displayed at the end of 2023 revealed to everyone that he was amongst one of the sport’s brightest shining lights. Now, following victory over Djokovic in the semi-finals, he seems to be ready to step up to the plate and consistently challenge for Grand Slams.
Sinner goes into the final as a marginal favourite, following a series of exceptional performances in Melbourne, of course most notably the one-sided dismantling of the ten-time Champion (despite being four sets). But Medvedev is not to be written off by any means.
Being a hard-court specialist, Medvedev has always seemed to enjoy his time on the Australian Open courts, but has struggled to convert this form into a title winning display. His defeat to Nadal in the 2022 final will have left a particularly big scar, as he had led by two sets, before falling to Nadal’s sheer will to win.
But Medvedev will still be hopeful against Sinner. ‘Doctor Octopus’, as he is fondly referred to, is one of the best returners in the sport, and will hope that he is able to counter Sinner’s new found power with sheer wall-like resistance.
That said, the title has looked to be Sinner’s from the start.
The 22-year-old hasn’t lost a match since the Tour Finals back in November, and has only dropped one set all tournament, also to Djokovic. Medvedev on the other hand, has only won one match in straight sets this year in Melbourne, and has just come off the back of two gruelling five-setters against Hurkacz and Zverev.
He will be considerably more fatigued than his young opponent.
For these reasons, I have to go with Sinner for the title. The tennis the Italian has produced this tournament has been a joy to watch and it would be fitting if he is the one to go all the way. Sinner plays with a brand of tennis that will endear him to tennis fans for years to come, with the power and style that makes him irresistible to watch.
This Australian Open feels as if it will be the first of many Grand Slam titles for Jannik Sinner.
For all the talk about Alcaraz, it seems that Sinner may well be at the very least his equal, if not potentially…
Only time will tell, but I envisage a statement victory for Sinner. Medvedev’s grit and determination may see him win a set, but Sinner will likely have too much and will claim his first Grand Slam title.
Sinner in four.