4th seed Novak Djokovic squares off against 5th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the finals of the 2023 Australian Open on Sunday. Both players have been in stellar form in the tournament and have deservingly made it to the finals.
The 35-year-old has been steamrolling opponents since the latter stages of last year. He finished 2022 by winning the ATP Finals for the sixth time and began 2023 by bagging Adelaide International 1 title.
The former world No. 1 got off to a breezy start at the Australian Open as he made light work of Spain’s Roberto Carbales Baena in the first round. In the second round, Djokovic battled a left hamstring injury and defeated French qualifier Enzo Couacaud in four sets. Djokovic went on to defeat 27th seed, Grigor Dimitrov in the third round. The first set was tantalizing as Dimitrov gave a great account of himself. However, once Djokovic bagged the first set, it was one-way traffic in the next two sets. Djokovic won 7-6 (9-7), 6-3, 6-4. The Serbian veteran outplayed the talented Australian youngster, Alex de Minaur in the fourth round. The match ended 6-2, 6-1, 6-2.
The quarterfinals saw the 21-time Grand Slam champion annihilating 5th seed Andrey Rublev in yet another one-sided contest. Djokovic was the favorite going into the match but not many would have expected such domination from him against one of the better players on the ATP Tour. The semifinals saw Djokovic take on a first-time Grand Slam semifinalist in Tommy Paul. Djokovic took a 5-1 lead in the first set
The Greek sensation has reached the finals of a Grand Slam tournament for the second time in his career. The previous time he made it to the finals of a Grand Slam was in the 2021 French Open when he lost to Djokovic.
During his campaign in this year’s Australian Open, Tsitsipas has defeated a couple of seeded players and lost just three sets. In the first round, Tsitsipas picked up a relatively easy win against Quentin Halys in straight sets. In the second round, Tsitsipas picked up a comfortable win against Rinky Hijikata. The 24-year-old stopped the impressive winning streak of Tallon Griekspoor in the third round. The fourth-round clash against 15th seed Jannik Sinner turned out to be a classic. After winning the first two sets, Tsitsipas saw Sinner producing a great fightback. The talented Italian youngster took the match into the fifth set where Tsitsipas managed to hold his nerves to win 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3.
In the quarterfinals, Tsitsipas defeated Jiri Lehecka in straight sets 6-3, 7-6, (7-2), 6-4 to reach his second consecutive Australian Open semifinal. 18th seed Karen Khachanov was Tsitsipas’ opponent in the semis. The first set was a close affair that the world No. 4 went on to win. The second set was tight but Tsitsipas held his nerves to persevere. Khachanov took the third set by the barest of margins. The fourth set was dominated by Tsitsipas as he won 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-7 (6-8), 6-3. He has served quite well throughout the tournament. In the semis, he hit 18 aces and had a win percentage of 82 on the first serve.
Head-to-Head and Prediction
Novak Djokovic has had Stefanos Tsitsipas’ number as far as the head-to-head encounters are concerned. The Serbian legend has a comfortable 10-2 lead against Tsitsipas. What’s more alarming for Tsitsipas is the fact that Djokovic has beaten him in their last 9 encounters. Their last meeting was at the ATP Finals last year. The eventual champion Djokovic defeated Tsitsipas in straight sets 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).
Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win in four sets.
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