Two of the best tennis players in history hit the Rod Laver Arena hardcourts on Sunday, Jan. 27 in the Australian Open Men’s Singles Tennis Finals. Novak Djokovic breezed by Lucas Pouille in straight sets to stamp his ticket to the first major tournament finals of 2019.
There, he’ll face one of his toughest rivals, Rafael Nadal. Nadal made quick work of Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first Australian Open Men’s Singles Semifinal. Will Nadal carry over his great play to take down Djokovic? Or, will the slight favorite beat Nadal?
2019 Australian Open Men’s Singles Finals Odds & Preview
Both men go into the #AusOpen final relatively refreshed.Djokovic time on court: 11 hours, 59 minutes Nadal time on court: 12 hours, 11 minutes pic.twitter.com/zxqXMCfT7l — #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 25, 2019
- When: Sunday, Jan. 27 at 3:35 am ET
- TV: ESPN/ESPN2
- 2019 Australian Open Odds: Djokovic -130 / Nadal +110
Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal
Djokovic versus Nadal is one of the great rivalries in tennis history. Djokovic has the edge in the head-to-head, 27-25. That by no means gives him a massive edge over Nadal on Sunday. But, Djoker did look great when taking down Pouille.
He beat Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 6-2. During the quarterfinals, Djokovic got some extra rest time in after Kei Nishikori left the court before the end of the second set. With Nishikori retiring, Djokovic got a chance to get a few more hours to rest.
That could give him a slight edge, but it’s only a slight edge. Rafael Nadal plays his best on clay. That doesn’t mean he can’t hit the ball almost as great on a hardcourt. Nadal beat Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4, 6-0. He absolutely battled the better opponent in the semifinals and should be more prepared in the finals than Djokovic, who got to walk through the overmatched Pouille after the extra hours of rest.
The real key to handicapping this match is to study what happened before the Australian Open Semis. Djokovic lost a 4-6 set to Denis Shapovalov in Round 3. In Round 4, he dropped a set 6-7 (5-7) to Daniil Medvedev. He looked great versus Nishikori, but even Nishikoi won a couple games against Djokovic and he was injured.
Nadal hasn’t lost a set during the entire Australian Open. He’s dominated in every match. The only player that’s come close to taking a set from Rafa is Tomas Berdych. Rafa rallied for a 7-6 (7-4) win.
Djokovic’s got the slight head-to-head advantage. Rafael Nadal’s playing slightly better tennis overall. Rafa gets the nod in Sunday’s Australian Open Finals.
2019 Australian Open Finals Pick: Rafael Nadal