A blockbuster Australian Open final is on the cards as Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev are set to go head-to-head in the year’s first grand slam final. Nadal is chasing history, seeking to win an incredible, record-setting 21st grand slam title. Medvedev is eying up a second title after winning his maiden grand slam at the US Open last year.
According to the bookmakers at BetUS sportsbook, the World No.2 Medvedev is the player to beat in this final.
2022 Australian Open Final: Nadal vs Medvedev
Nadal beats Berrettini
Nadal was coming off a five-set marathon against Dennis Shapovalov in the quarterfinals. Nadal was on the verge of closing out the match in the third set when things suddenly took an unexpected turn. Nadal began experiencing stomach troubles and Shapovalov raised his level.
The two things conspired against Nadal and he went on to lose the next two sets. Things looked dire at that point as the Canadian seemed to have all the moment. However, in the final set, Nadal righted the ship, asserting himself over Shapovalov to win the match, 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 28, 2022
Even though Nadal went into the semis as the favorite, lingering questions about Nadal’s fitness after that laborious effort followed the Spaniard. But he quickly dispelled those as he took a commanding two-set lead over Berrettini, who looked himself to be out of sorts. Berrettini won the third set and made things interesting for a while, but Nadal came through in the fourth set to book his place in the final.
Daniil Medvedev’s campaign at the Australian Open is going to plan, falling in line with the tennis odds as the Russian came into the tournament as the player to beat. He earned the nod in Novak Djokovic’s absence, after the Serbian was deported by the Australian government for breaching their tough COVID-19 mandated rules.
Medvedev’s path to the final was strewn with stumbling blocks. He faced Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in the second round, needing four sets to dismiss the mercurial Aussie. He was taken to four sets by Maxime Cressy in the R16 and to five sets by Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime in the quarterfinals. Indeed, Medvedev nearly lost that match as he was forced to come from two sets down.
Arguably, though, Medvedev’s toughest test came in the semifinals from an in-form Stefanos Tsitsipas, who was enjoying a solid Australian Open run. Of the four semi-finalists, Tsitsipas was the freshest. He needed only three sets to dismiss Jannik Sinner in the quarterfinals.
One set all in #AusOpen semi-final and Daniil Medvedev has completely lost his head as he goes onto call the umpire a “small cat” 😂
He has a point though, this isn’t the first time Stefanos Tsitsipas has been accused of cheating by receiving coachingpic.twitter.com/Be0h2R7uCZ
— Alex ⚒ (@AlexSmith_123) January 28, 2022
Tsitsipas threw the kitchen sink at Medvedev, but the Russian persevered in four sets after the pair split the first two. There was a moment of tension in the match as Medvedev took umbrage with Tsitsipas Sr. allegedly talking his son through the match. Fortunately, Medvedev didn’t lose his head completely.
In winning, Medvedev reaches his second-straight Australian Open final and second-straight grand slam final. Last year, Medvedev lost to Djokovic in the Melbourne final in straight sets before beating the Serbian in straight sets in the US Open final.
Nadal vs. Medvedev Predictions
Medvedev took one step closer to fulfilling his odds as the favorite to win the Australian Open. By and large, he is the popular tennis pick to come through at the expense of Nadal.
Beating Nadal in the best-of-five sets in a grand slam final is the pinnacle of achievement in tennis. Nadal has lost 8 grand slam finals in 28 appearances.
Rafael Nadal's appearances in Grand Slam finals:
Roland Garros: 13
Australian Open: 6
US Open: 5
Wimbledon: 5 pic.twitter.com/p7bvzBFFDp
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) January 28, 2022
Only one player not named Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer has accomplished the feat; that was Stanislas Wawrinka in the 2014 Australian Open final – although there’s a caveat to that defeat. Nadal suffered an injury midway through the match that severely hindered his ability to serve or play his game effectively.
Medvedev is the best player right now in the game. He laid the groundwork for his case as the best hard court player when he beat Djokovic in the US Open final. Based on this, it’s easy to understand why he might be favored over Nadal to win. However, Nadal is a proven champion 20 times over. Is it really so hard to imagine that he could win this title?