Novak Djokovic wins Australian Open, two behind Federer, Nadal in overall Slam haul; highlights

Australian Open Tennis, Men's Final 2021: Novak Djokovic beat Daniil Medvedev to win his ninth title in Melbourne, taking his Grand Slam tally to 18, two short of Nadal and Federer's haul.

Novak Djokovic beat Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 to win his ninth Australian Open crown and 18th Grand Slam title. He is now two short of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's tally of 20 titles.   -  Getty Images

Welcome to the highlights of the Australian Open men's singles final between Serbia's Novak Djokovic and Russia's Daniil Medvedev.


Bringing you all the action from Melbourne Park has been fun! Until the next Grand Slam, it's goodbye from us at Sportstar. Live action is not done for the day. We have a doubleheader in the Indian Super League. Bengaluru FC is going up against FC Goa. Catch the live coverage of that game here:  ISL 2020-21, BFC vs FCG Live Football Score: Ashique starts for Bengaluru, Edu Bedia back in FC Goa starting XI

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DJOKOVIC vs MEDVEDEV MATCH CENTRE 7-5, 6-2, 6-2

Djokovic:
I would like to return nice words to Daniil. First of all class act. You're a great guy. We used to spend more time together, we used to practise in Monaco. You don't call me anymore. He's a great guy but on the court he's one of the toughest guys I've faced. It's only a matter of time before you hold a Grand Slam. If you dont mind waiting for a couple of years.  There are a lot of mixed feelings with tennis players coming to Australia. But at the end when you draw a line, I'd like to congratulate the organisers. They should be proud of themselves for what they've put together and for allowing us to come to Australia, like Daniil said. I'd like to thank this court, I'd like to thank the Rod Laver Arena. I love you each year more and more. The love affair keeps growing.



Medvedev:
Never easy to speak after you've lost a grand slam final. Novak, it's a great achievement - 18th Slam title, hopefully it's not your last. First I practised with Novak when I was 500 in the world in Monaco. He was world number 1 just after Wimvledon. I thought he's wouldn't talk to me. But he came over and he'd ask questions and talk to me. Everyone at some point would have been complaining about quarantine. But we would not be standing here with trophies in our hands without you guys (organisers) so thanks for making it happen. Thank you for inviting us. I wanted to make this match longer and more entertaining for you. But today was not the day. Thank you for supporting me.

Boos from the crowd as the presentation party mentions COVID vaccinations. Boos for the Victoria government too. However, a lovely aerial shot over the court shows us the staff working for the Slam. Lovely image to end two weeks of tennis with. Kudos to volunteers and staff for what they've pulled off here in Melbourne.
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18th Grand Slam title for Novak Djokovic. He is only two behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Can he do it this year?



NOVAK DJOKOVIC TAKES THE THIRD SET 6-2 AND WINS HIS NINTH AUSTRALIAN OPEN TITLE.

One game away from his ninth Australian Open title
and Novak begins with some lovely footwork by the baseline to take an early 30-0 lead.  Rally follows. Novak hits the net, his head goes down immediately. What a party pooper. 30-15, Medvedev allowed back. Medvedev says something which I honestly couldn't completely catch. By the time the camera catches up with him, we hear him look at the crowd and say "shut up". Novak extracts an error here from Medvedev. Championship point. OH BLINK AND MISS AND IT'S DONE.

5-2
Standing ovation for Novak as a volley from behind the service line misses Medvedev by a mile. What a player Novak is. Medvedev getting schooled here. Novak is well and truly in his head. Medvedev comes back with a powerful backhand to even things out 15-15. He manages another point as he goes down the middle of the court with Djokovic well behind the baseline. Medvedev knows that was good and signals the crowd to cheer louder. Novak will have none of it as he breaks the glimmer of hope with a clinical first serve. First glimpse of aggressive emotion from Djokovic here as he presses his finger against his head as he signals this is all in the mind. A stunning rally ends with Medvedev sending his return straight down the middle into the net.

4-2
Medvedev stays in the set with another game to his name, after Djokovic breaches the baseline.

Is Djoker meditating mid-set?


4-1 After Djoker takes a quick 30-0 lead, Medvedev pegs back by making Novak run across the court. His doublehanded cross court return is beautiful but isn't enough to get it above the net. A rally ensues right after with Medvedev giving it his all. He is trying to exhaust Novak, but there is a reason this man is such a feared competitor. That defence is spot on as he makes his way through this game to take a 4-1 lead in the third set.

3-1 Djokovic cruises to a quick 3-0 lead. It's all a battle of the mind now between these two and the Djoker plays to Medvedev's insecurities. What follows is a stunning exchange that brings both players close to the net. I am not sure how Djokovic skid there to reach that return but he just about manages to bounce the ball over the net. Pure skill. Medvedev's racquet was at the very end of his finger tips for him to manage to reach that one. Novak squanders as he attempts to return and immediately appreciates the passage of play with silent applause. Medvedev should be happy about that. Little mercies.

2-0
Medvedev is well and truly unsettled. He has lost his concentration completely. Novak is not trying to dictate terms here. He is going along with Medvedev's chaos and beating him at it, leaving the Russian even more frazzled. The net has not been his friend.

 

1-0 Medvedev is going down the middle nicely to his advantage. The Russian takes the first two points but Novak's service game is on point. Djokovic follows it up with two double faults this game to give Medvedev a lifeline, taking the game to break point at 40-15 to Medvedev. Novak forces his opponent to go wide down the court first for a second break point and does it again, with Medvedev losing direction of his return this time for a deuce. Djokovic quickly capitalises on the advantage to seal the game, leaving Medvedev dangerously swinging his second racquet of the day close to the ground. The crowd goes berserk - 'NOVAK, NOVAK, NOVAK'. Medvedev is now complaining after every serve. Medvedev is unravelling. This game is headed to a quick finish. Unless we see some composure from the Russian.

Two double faults, eight unforced errors against Medvedev's name in the second set.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC TAKES THE SECOND SET 6-2

 



6-2
Hopefully the broken racquet has helped him relieve a little of that pressure, Medvedev. But he quickly gives up the first point only to bring Novak close to the net. Novak's drop shot finds Medvedev who then sends it long to earn a point. Medvedev needs to stay calm if he wants to make his way back into this game. He is beginning to constantly chatter at his end and Novak sees this, using it to get to his second set point.

5-2 UNBEATABLE AT THE NET, DJOKOVIC.
After letting the first point go, Novak gives Medvedev a little masterclass on how to play close to the net down the centre of the court. Following it up with a lovely long shot down the court which Medvedev can't reach on time. Novak's second serve win % - 67. This is making all the difference in this final. However,  a backhand from the Serb makes its way to the net followed by a return that goes out of line, thereby allowing Medvedev back into the game with two gift points. Medvedev loses the plot a bit and sends the return back to the net. And deuce.Medvedev is seen complaining about the time Novak is taking to serve. The Serb is quite cheekily taking it down to the last few seconds. Break point converted. Medvedev smashes his racquet beyond repair right after.

Broadcaster:
"If you can't take Novak's racquet out of his hands, you might as well take the air out of his lungs."

4-2
That was easy and this is more on Djokovic than on Medvedev. He finds himself losing the baseline and Medvedev capitalises to peg one back.

4-1 After dropping his opening service game of this set, Djoker now leads the second set 4-1, winning four straight games here in Melbourne.

3-1 A screaming woman interrupts proceedings. Djokovic is not impressed. Commentators say she is being removed. Medvedev steals a pint and Djoker has the break point. He makes sure to ask the umpire to ask the crowd to settle a bit, signing with his finger to his lips. He closes the game soon enough. Relentless pressure here from Novak, despite the bursts of brilliance from Medvedev. I am surprised to see Novak asking the crowd to quieten down between points. This man is the master of converting chaos to combustible energy that powers him through a game. What have you done, COVID?

Both have run almost a kilometer, with Medvedev putting in double the amount of intensity and cross court moves. Ball is comfortably in Novak's court here.

2-1 Medvedev stretches Djokovic, as he has several times today with a forehand, following that with a backhand to lead 30-15. However. there go two points Medvedev has squandered close to the net. Djokovic is starting to employ his cross court forehand to inflict some damage here. However, in the very next point, after being made to run across the horizontal limits of his side of the court, Novak's return decides to embrace the net. Medvedev ends up being guilty of the same. He lunges just a little aerially and finds the net once more close to the middle of the court. Novak's got ridiculous pace. Medvedev is not far behind, matching the Serb every bit of the way. However, his placement as rallies progress are seeing inaccuracies creep in, handing Djoker the game. That's two tight games to Novak. This will give the Serb some confidence.

1-1 Cheeky movement from Medvedev. Novak loves his backhand drop shot from the baseline but this one isn't conventional. A return goes aerial but the momentum is gone and he can't reach for the ball to keep the rally going in time. The commentator calls Medvedev's technique ugly but lovable. Djokovic's returning game is flawless though as he sends Medvedev long along the umpire's side to take the break point.

0-1 First point of the second set goes to Medvedev but Novak pegs back, tricking Medvedev to one side of the court while he follows it with a return down the other. Medvedev has his head down and is doing the hard work. He gets a shrt ball down the middle but Novak is not at the right spot to do the honours. A backhand from Novak can't be dispatched within boundaries by Medvedev. He's not impressed, but he manages to find Djokovic out of line to give Medvedev a break point. A rally ensues and Djokovic is middling the ball well but a doublehanded effort goes straight into the net, with the Serb losing balance there by the baseline. 

BIG STAT: 72-1 Novak's Djokovic's win record when he wins the first set in Australia

NOVAK DJOKOVIC TAKES THE FIRST SET 7-5


7-5 FIRST SET TO NOVAK.
No contact whatsoever as Medvedev swings his racket in vain to make contact with a fiery return from Djokovic from across the court. Right after, Medvedev draws Novak closer into the court and forces a return from the Russian that goes wide. Medvedev then goes long down the court to hand Djoker another point. Aggression from Novak here, but Medvedev knows what's at stake here. He sends in the fastest serve of the night to help his case in this set but Novak is not to be slighted, not at Melbourne. He ups the pace and forces Medvedev to return his serve straight into the net in the set point.

Can Medvedev save this set?

6-5
The grunts are sounding a little tired from Novak, but he takes the lead in the game. Great anticipation from Novak as he draws out Medvedev to the net again sending the service long to leave his line exposed. He then quickly finishes up the game, with Medvedev going just too long down the court. There's a kid chanting 'Novak, Novak' in the stand and a few Serbia flags are fluttering here.

5-5 Medvedev is breathing down Novak's neck.
Djokovic goes beyond the baseline for two points in a row with Medvedev's forehand allowing him the next two to now draw even in the set. 5-5.

5-4
Classic Novak. After taking the first two points, Medvedev finds himself missing the line for the next two with Djoker smashing the next leaving Medvedev with barely any time to even move in response. Perfect points from Novak. An angled rally follows, with both players testing the other's dexterity. Novak draws Medvedev to the centre, almost tempting him to play by the net, not a strong point for Daniil tonight. Medvedev resists and controls the ball, but sends it into the net in return. Djoker leads again. 5-4 now.

Neck to neck here in Melbourne.

4-4 Deja vu, except the results are switched. A similar centre court breaks out with Medvedev now making Djokovic work to reach the ball. They don't call Novak Spider for nothing as he spreads across the court to return but Medvedev sends one long bang opposite Djokovic's side of the court. Medvedev is validated. What follows is a big serve from the Russian, using his 6ft-plus height to send the ball down, earning him the game. It's taken so long for Medvedev's serve to soften up and land right.

4-3
Renewed vigour from Djokovic as he realises the need to switch things up a little. He catches Medvedev goes out of line twice to lead the game. However, he find the net as he tries to up the pace in his return. He is clearly not impressed with that shot of his. The next rally has been delightful to watch with Djokovic punching his shots down the court. The tussle moves closer to the net and Novak smartly places the shot wide, way out of Medvedev's reach to regain a slender one-point lead.

3-3 Medvedev is back in the game.
The early advantage is gone and we're back to square one. The Russian is matching the Serb step to step now, especially in this last game.

Momentum has swung a little in Medvedev's way. The crowd loves it. He leads the game, 40-0.

3-2 COMEBACK MAN, MEDVEDEV.
Sensational from Medvedev. 28 shots in that rally and Novak loses this staring contest, sending one straight down the court into the top of the net. This repeats again in the breakpoint, with another rally. Medvedev loses his footing a little and sends the ball long and dangerously wide, still managing to say within the court. Novak returns, almost a little cockily from the right edge,  but finds the net again as he tries to smash across the court.

3-1
Novak has not broken a sweat yet. Despite being made to move more, Medvedev is not able to match Djoker's placement and composure. A small blip in that is this game, which Medvedev has taken, courtesy a few long returns from Djoker. The Serb is targeting the Russian's backhand and given how the latter has been a bit shaky on the front, it's a surprising strategy for Medvedev today.

3-0 In no time. What pressure, asks Novak as he cruises through the next game, ending with a little aerial display as he smashes beyond Medvedev's reach up front.


2-0 Smart thinking from Medvedev as he makes Djkovic work around his court. Sends one the wrong way and Djokovic is all the way at the other side to even look at the right time. Djokovic retaliates in the very next point, not to be bested, forcing Medvedev's pace and seeing the ball go out of line for the next two points. The Russian finds his return hitting the net in the next point but makes Djokovic scramble with a big forehand down the line with slides away from Novak. A rally follows with Medvedev going too long, giving Djoker a 2-0 lead in the first set.

1-0 Djokovic starts with his 101st ace. Quick conditions in Melbourne. Medvedev is still warming up and had to struggle to reach that return from Novak, only to lose direction in his response. The Serbian has settled very quickly and is setting the rhythm here at Melbourne Park. Medvedev pegs one back but ends up sending the next point comfortably outside the line. Easy start for Novak here. The crowd agrees.

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WHAT THEY SAID:

Novak: I know that to beat him, you need to just show your best tennis, be at your best physically, maybe four or five hours, and be at your best mentally, maybe for five hours.

Daniil: I would say to win a Slam, especially against somebody (like) Novak, is already a big motivation, and I don't think there is anything that can make it bigger.

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First thoughts: If Medvedev wants to win his first Grand Slam on Sunday, he must do what nobody has ever done- beat Djokovic at a Australian Open final. A win for Medvedev on Sunday would mean that he would join Dominic Thiem as the only player born in the 1990s to win a Slam.

The oracles in Melbourne (the butterflies) got their women's champion right. Is this a sign for Djoker?



Road to the final:

Novak Djokovic

Round 1: def Jérémy Chardy (6-3, 6-1, 6-2)

Round 2: def Frances Tiafoe (6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3)

Round 3: def Taylor Fritz (7-6, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-2)

Round 4: def Milos Raonic (7-4, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4)

Quarterfinal: def Alexander Zverev (6-7, 6-2, 6-4, 7-6)

Semifinal: def Aslan Karatsev (6-3, 6-4, 6-2)

 

Daniil Medvedev

Round 1: def Vasek Pospisil (6-2, 6-2, 6-4)

Round 2: def Roberto Carballés Baena (6-2, 7-5, 6-1)

Round 3: def Filip Krajinović (3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-0)

Round 4: def Mackenzie McDonald (6-4, 6-2, 6-2)

Quarterfinal: def Andrey Rublev (7-5, 6-3, 6-2)

Semifinal: def Stefanos Tsitsipas (6-4, 6-2, 7-5)


What's at stake:

If Djokovic wins:
If the Serbian clinches the title today, it will be a record-extending ninth crown at this venue for him. DOMINANCE.

If Medvedev wins: A victory for Medvedev would not only bring the 25-year-old Russian a first Grand Slam title but also make him the first man outside of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer or Andy Murray to be ranked in the top two since 2005.

Throwback to the last-time this duo clashed at the 2020 ATP Finals




HEAD TO HEAD - DJOKOVIC 4-3 MEDVEDEV

2020 ATP Finals, London, round-robin: Medvedev bt Djokovic 6-3, 6-3

2020 ATP Cup, Sydney, semifinal: Djokovic bt Medvedev 6-1, 5-7, 6-4

2019 Cincinnati, semifinal: Medvedev bt Djokovic 3-6, 6-3, 6-3

2019 Monaco, quarterfinal: Medvedev bt Djokovic 6-3, 4-6, 6-2

2019 Australian Open, round of 16: Djokovic bt Medvedev 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 6-3

2017 Eastbourne semifinal: Djokovic bt Medvedev 6-4, 6-4

2017 Davis Cup, World Group Round 1, Serbia: Djokovic bt Medvedev 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 1-0 ret
 

As we gear up for the men's final today, check out the highlights of the women's singles final where Naomi Osaka won her second Australian Open title, beating Jennifer Brady.

 

All you need to know

What time will the final start?

The men’s singles final will begin at 2.00 pm IST

Where will the final take place?

The final will happen at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.

Where to watch in India?

The final will be telecast on Sony Sports Network. The match will also be live-streamed on the Sony LIV and the Sony LIV website.

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