The US Open concludes on Sunday when for the second time in three years Daniil Medvedev takes on Novak Djokovic in the final of the tournament inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium with the last Grand Slam of the year on the line.
Medvedev won when they met in the final of this a couple of years ago but Djokovic has since reached 23 Grand Slams and will be looking for a third major title of the year and a record breaking 24th Slam.
I sense that Daniil Medvedev has had the bit between his teeth in this tournament. Nobody was talking about him in the run up to it but as the number three player in the world he will believe they should have been and proved that with an epic semi-final win over Carlos Alcaraz. He got in front early in that match and showed just why he is a force to be reckoned with not just in the game but particularly on a hard court.
We know from his win here a couple of years ago that Medvedev doesn’t fear the big occasion and with this being the third time he will compete in this final, the Russian knows what it is all about. He is going to bring a lot of power to the game and will probably be enhanced by this being a day match where for the early stages at least the ball should travel through the court a little easier. A repeat of his semi-final performance gives Medvedev every chance.
After being forced to miss this tournament last year and being beaten when the Calendar Slam was on the line in the final of it the year before, added to his default the year before that, it is fair to say that Novak Djokovic has unfinished business with this tournament. He has cruised through the draw to make it through to what will be a tenth New York final, but the fact he has only won three of the previous nine suggests it isn’t necessarily his favourite day of the year.
The pressure will be on Djokovic to win as the favourite in this final and make it clear in the GOAT race with a Slam number 24 but he fluffed his lines as a warm order against Carlos Alcaraz in the final at Wimbledon earlier in the year and that might be a concern. While this match is later in the afternoon in New York, Djokovic has struggled with the heat at different times and you wonder if that will be a factor the deeper this final goes.
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While Daniil Medvedev trails Novak Djokovic in their past meetings, he does have five wins in the 14 matches they have played so that isn’t too shabby a record. Djokovic holds an 8-4 lead on the hard courts but his advantage is only 2-1 when it comes to finals. This will be the second time they have met at the US Open with their previous match being the 2021 final which Medvedev won in straight sets. They are 1-1 in Grand Slam finals with Djokovic having got the better of Medvedev in the Australian Open final in 2021.
I think Daniil Medvedev is a live chance in this match. He hasn’t always beaten Novak Djokovic in their last six meetings but he has taken a set off of him in all of them and I do think the longer than Medvedev can take this final the more success he might have. Djokovic hasn’t really played anyone of note in this tournament so we can’t really judge his form but he looked a little shabby serving out the semi-final win over Ben Shelton when he was broken before eventually winning a tiebreak.
Medvedev looks to have gone through the gears as the tournament has gone on and what I like about the Russian is he is clearly prepared to go as deep as is needed to come out on top. He has a clear game plan which he utilises very effectively but he has the tennis nous to change up when the need arises too. Djokovic has only won a third of his US Open finals so he can be beaten in these showdown clashes and at a smidgeon under 2/1 I think the value is with the outsider here.
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