US Open Preview: Title 21 for Novak Djokovic or a first for Daniil Medvedev?
Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev face-off in what will be a history-making match no matter the result in New York City.
If Djokovic is successful in conquering the world number two, he will stand alone in the men’s game with 21 Slam titles.
He will also become the first male player since Rod Laver in 1969 to complete the Calendar Slam.
Medvedev will be looking to rain on the Djokovic parade, and to avenge his disappointing loss to the Serb in Melbourne in February.
Though Djokovic is vastly more experienced than Medvedev with regards to Slam finals, both men have been in this position before.
Djokovic is playing a record-equalling 31st Grand Slam final, and his ninth at the US Open. Medvedev is appearing in his third Major championship match and second in Flushing Meadows.
The pair have met eight times in the past, including at the Australian Open at the beginning of 2021.
Djokovic leads the head-to-head 5-3, including both their Slam meetings, at the 2019 and 2021 Australian Opens.
Road to the title bout
Djokovic has not had the smoothest route to the final. The world number one has completed just one of his six matches in straight sets, winning in four sets on four occasions and in five in the semi-finals against Alexander Zverev.
He also defeated Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini for the third time at a Slam in 2021 in the quarter-finals, recovering from losing the first set to win.
In order, Djokovic has come through Holger Rune, Tallon Griekspoor, Kei Nishikori, Jenson Brooksby, Matteo Berrettini and Alexander Zverev to earn his shot at the title.
Medvedev on the other hand has won all but one of his matches in straight sets, only dropping one set against qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp in the quarter-finals.
He dispatched veterans Richard Gasquet and Pablo Andujar in the first and third rounds respectively, ousted Dominik Koepfer in the second and Dan Evans in the fourth.
Felix Auger-Aliassime was no match in the semi-finals as the Russian reached the final in New York for a second time.
Fatigue could potentially be a differentiator, as Djokovic has spent nearly 18 hours on-court across the event compared to just a little over 12 hours for Medvedev
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