The dream Alcaraz/Novak final is no more. The quirky lanky Russian, Daniil Medvedev played a rip-roaring match yesterday to oust Alcaraz in 4 exciting sets. This will be the 5th Slam final for the 27-year-old and the 36th final for Djokovic, who is aiming to equal Margaret Court’s 24 Slams.
Why Medvedev will win
Scrambling, Scrambling, Scrambling. He is the best roadrunner in the business and did it to perfection against Alcaraz. There’s no doubt Novak will make him run but Medvedev’s anticipation is so good he’ll keep himself in the point over and over. The biggest issue is the serve which has gone walkabout the last few months but if he keeps the double faults to a minimum he’ll win.
Why Novak will win
The Serb knows time is running out as he stated in his press conference yesterday. “These finals could end at any time”. At 36 years old nothing is a given in the tennis world, not even Djokovic contesting Slam finals. It’s this sense of urgency that will sharpen Novak. The rallies will be long and I expect Novak to win enough of them to get over the line.
Novak leads the head-to-head 9-5, they are 1-1 this season. A key will be how much did the Medvedev semi take out of him? That was a level of intensity that’s hard to recover from. Watch for the court position of the Russian in the rallies, if he stands too far back Novak will exploit it with angles. If Medvedev adopts a more aggressive court position his chances of winning goes up.
So, prediction. The Wimbledon loss would have burned Novak and Alcaraz had to play the match of his life to do it. Medvedev doesn’t have that level. Djokovic to win in 4 sets.