Rafa Nadal is on the verge of winning his 21st Grand Slam title, but there’s a 25-year-old Russian Danill Medvedev who stands in the way. This is a final that isn’t much of a surprise. In the top half I thought Zverev was really the only player capable of taking Nadal out, but that match never eventuated.
For Medvedev this will be his fourth Slam final, so seeing him here, as the number two seed isn’t a surprise either. He will be vying for back-to-back Slams after winning the US Open last year, denying Djokovic the calendar Slam.
Why Rafa will win
Nadal is the heavy that the Mafia send around to pick up the protection money, he’s intimidating, he’ll huff and puff around and muscle opponents. He’s done it to perfection since his teenage years and he’ll try to do it again, big forehands, stellar defense and great shot selection. He leads the head to head 3-1 and unless this drags out to 4-5 hours and his aging body starts to break he’ll win. Rafa in full muscle mode will overwhelm Daniil.
Why Medvedev will win
It’s hard what to think of the Russian, he’ll go on a tirade with the umpire, he’ll get into with the crowd and he’ll give his players’ box looks that don’t marry up with what’s happening on the court. He’s the awkward lanky guy who looks like an accountant, not a world-class athlete, but somehow he makes it all work.
Just like Rafa he has this uncanny ability to play the right shot at exactly the right time, when the moment calls to defend he will, when it calls to attack he will.
He has a magnificent tennis brain. If the puts it all together and keeps the rallies brutal, which will end up in his favor, he’ll win.
The moment the court ruled for the government and Novak was deported was the moment Rafa saw Chum in the water, he smelt blood. This is my chance, I can reach 21 Slams and I don’t have to deal with a nine time Australian Open Champion.
Since then he has been on a feeding mission, chomping his way through the draw, Shapovalov pushed him to five but other than that he has essentially cruised, but Medvedev is tough to intimidate, he’s not mentally defeated in the locker room and as we’ve seen he’s got plenty of fire inside, you could say he’s a little unhinged.
He has a me vs the world Lleyton/Novak mentality, which in these finals means a lot. I can see this match dragging on and turning into a physical war, I imagine that will favor the Russian, who is ten years younger. I’m tipping Medvedev in 5 sets.