Sunday, January 27, 2019

2019 AUS OPEN: Men's Final Preview (and Semifinals Review)

Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] vs. Rafael Nadal (ESP) [2]

This is my prediction post for the 2019 Australian Open men's final. Last year I correctly predicted that Roger Federer would beat Marin Cilic in the 2018 Aussie Open men's final.  This year I have correctly predicted 3 of 4 women's quarterfinals4 of 4 men's quarterfinals2 of 2 men's semifinals and 2 of 2 women's semifinals. I also incorrectly predicted the winner of the 2019 Aussie Open women's final between Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova.


Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] d. Lucas Pouille (FRA) [28] 6-0 6-2 6-2. This match demonstrated that the World #1 is playing at a very high level. Pouille is a very good player who although previously had not had very much success in Melbourne in this years tournament he beat Borna Coric and Milos Raonic.

Rafael Nadal (ESP) [2] d. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRK) [14] 6-2 6-4 6-0. The 21-year-old Greek phenomenon who dispatched 2-time defending champion Roger Federer in four sets really thought that he had a good chance to win against Rafa Nadal and the legendary Spaniard gave the youngster a master class instead. It's pretty unusual to have 6-0 sets in major semifinals (since both players have made it through 5 rounds of play to make it to this level) so it is significant that both Djokovic and Nadal were able to do this to their opponents this year.


This is the record 53rd meeting between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, and their 8th meeting in a major fnal (Nadal  leads 4-3) while Djokovic leads their overall head-to-head 27-25. The two have played an Australian Open final before, in 2012, and Djokovic prevailed in a nearly 6-hour marathon that left both combatants doubled over in pain during the trophy presentation afterwards. Djokovic has won the Australian Open title 6 times and currently has 14 majors, just 3 behind Nadal's 17 majors (just 1 in Australia and 4 on hard courts). He has also won the last two majors contested (2018 US Open and 2018 Wimbledon) so is on a 20-match grand slam winning streak.  Many people say that Nadal has looked amazing all tournament, and he has not dropped a set reaching the final, but Djokovic has actually spent slightly less time on court (due to a disappointing second set retirement by Kei Nishikori in their quarterfinal match). It should be an amazing matchup, hopefully as high quality as their showdown in the Wimbledon semifinals was last year, where both players were at their best simultaneously. I feel like that if both players are playing their best tennis in Melbourne then Djokovic will come away the winner. MadProfessah's pick: Djokovic.

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