No player since Rod Laver has won the calendar slam, but Sunday, Novak Djokovic would accomplish the feat if he beats Daniil Medvedev.
The Serbian is on track to become the greatest of all time, with his 21st major victory, but he has had to battle throughout the entire US Open tournament. He continues to drop the first set and is forced to fight back, but he’s a fighter.
Medvedev breezed past Felix Auger-Aliassime to reach the final, but online sports betting markets have Djokovic as the favorite to win his 21st major.
Medvedev Advances to Final
Medvedev was one of the top fancies to beat Novak Djokovic in pre-tournament markets, and he’s living up to the hype.
Medvedev gets his best chance to win a major at Flushing Meadows. He cruised past Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in the semifinal, and meets Djokovic with plenty of court time under his belt.
The Russian is on fresh legs compared to Djokovic, so he’s capable of causing the upset.
Despite the easy victory on Friday, the 25-year-old believes he could have played much better.
“It was a strange match because I didn’t feel like I played my best,” Medvedev told Sky Sports.
“Everybody thought it was going to be one set all but I managed to save the setpoints and the match turned around completely.”
He is looking to avenge his U.S. Open final loss to Rafael Nadal two years ago. It was a grueling five-set marathon.
“Last time was a crazy match,” Medvedev added. “If it’s going to be the same match on Sunday, I just hope I can win this time.”
Tennis odds have Medvedev as the outsider, which isn’t surprising against the world’s best player.
Djokovic Shooting for History
He hasn’t made it easy on himself, but Djokovic is in line to win the calendar slam.
He has dropped the first set in his last four matches against Kei Nishikori, Jenson Brooksby, Matteo Berrettini, and Alex Zverev. It’s a concerning statistic, especially when he can ill-afford to drop the opening set of a final.
Despite his troubles, Djokovic continues to fight and battle. It’s an attribute many top-level players don’t have, so bettors know they’ll get a fighting effort if he’s not at his best.
Our only concern for Djokovic is his court time and his record against Medvedev. He has spent almost 14 hours on court at the U.S. Open, which is considerably longer than he’s used to.
ONE. MORE. MATCH.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) September 11, 2021
He also has a 5-3 record against Medvedev, which might seem good, but it’s not comparable to other players.
Medvedev won back-to-back meetings in 2019 at Monte Carlo and Cincinnati. He also won at the ATP Finals before Djokovic got his revenge at the 2021 Australian Open final.
The straight-sets victory was a statement from Djokovic, and it should be fresh in the mind of his opponent. He also has the benefit of being 27-0 in majors this season, which is a tough statistic to overlook.
Medvedev’s inexperience at winning finals could again rear its ugly head, as Djokovic marches on to another victory.
Betting against Djokovic hasn’t been a sound strategy over the years, so we’re not going to change.
He is the better player, and despite needing to battle back throughout most of the tournament, that shouldn’t count against him.
The sportsbook has Djokovic as the favorite and we’re happy with the odds available. We thought he would be shorter to win, so lock in the odds before they firm.