Old foes, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, renew their rivalry at the 2019 Australian Open final, when they face off, in what could be one of the most-awaited battles in recent times.
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Djokovic: Hitting Form In Time for a Seventh Final Appearance
World number one, Novak Djokovic, enters his seventh Australian Open final, looking for a historic seventh title, that would put him ahead of Roger Federer, and Roy Emerson, who he is tied with, at six titles.
After less convincing, yet successful early rounds, Djokovic was in pristine form in his semifinal, against Frenchman Lucas Pouille, defeating him 6-0, 6-4, 6-2 in straight sets. Djokovic’s form was near perfect, with him making only five unforced errors, all match long.
The Serb continues his spectacular return from injury, since the summer of 2018, which began with Wimbledon and US Open victories. Djokovic has played six Melbourne finals, winning all of them, and this is very well known territory for him. In his semi-final encounter, he hit the lines with supreme confidence, a reflection of the form he brings to the final.
With spectacular athleticism, court coverage, and a return of serve second to none, Djokovic will be looking to capitalize on all, as he faces old rival and world number two, Rafael Nadal; who also brings a strong fortnight into the final.
Can Nadal’s Explosive Form Continue?
World number two, Rafael Nadal, arrived in Melbourne, returning from injury lay-offs, that prevented him from playing competitive tennis since the 2018 US Open.
The Spaniard put all fitness concerns to rest, displaying explosive form throughout the tournament. Having dispatched all his opponets relatively easily, he is in some of the best hard-court form ever.
With a revamped serve and explosive forehand, Nadal has not been broken for 66 games now, and is yet to drop a set at the tournament. He has kept his points short, but is well aware, that will not be the case against Djokovic.
Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal Head to Head
The two players have met a record 52 times, with Djokovic narrowly leading 27-25, a head-to-head that favored Nadal earlier on.
With 31 grand slam titles between them, (17 for Nadal, 14 for Djokovic), they both remain viable contenders for Roger Federer’ record of 20 Grand Slam titles.
The pair has met once at Melbourne, in the 2012 Australian Open final, that lasted just under six hours, with Djokovic winning 7-5, in the fifth set.
Djokovic v Nadal Predictions & Tips – Who Will Win the Australian Open 2019 Final?
The rivalry is among the most storied, ever on the ATP circuit. It is a battle of two incredible athletes, with relentless energy, superior court coverage, and the ability to win points from all angles of a tennis court. Djokovic has been in prime form since Wimbledon of 2018, and has a very good record at the Australian Open.
In recent times, he has got the better of Nadal on all surfaces, including Nadal’s favorite surface, clay. If there was doubt about the Serbian’s current form, he has addressed that, with his semi-final performance against Pouille. Nadal on the other hand, has been in just as ominous form, and has the ability to match Djokovic, point by point.
It promises to be a great final for the first major of the season, with very little to choose between the finalists. Any prospects of a ‘Next Gen’ final appearance or slam victory have been put to rest by these two timeless athletes.
Given his ranking, and track record here, Djokovic will start as a slight favorite, but expect Nadal to aim to nullify that, from the beginning of the match.
Chapter 53 in the Nadal- Djokovic rivalry will be another one for the record books. Expect Nadal to become the first man to win all majors at least twice, and in turn win his 18th Grand slam, inching even closer to Federer’s 20.
You can watch & bet on Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal with bet365 here on Sunday, January 27.