Fixture: (1) Novak Djokovic vs (6) Alexander Zverev
Date: 16 February 2021
Tournament: Australian Open 2021
Venue: Melbourne, Australia
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: AUD $80 million
Live telecast: USA - ESPN / Tennis Channel | India - Sony Six
Novak Djokovic vs Alexander Zverev preview
Novak Djokovic, the top seed at the 2021 Australian Open, claimed his 300th Grand Slam match win with his fourth-round triumph over Milos Raonic on Sunday. The Serb, who has a record eight titles in Melbourne, is now gunning for his 18th Major trophy.
Djokovic is the favorite for the title, but he has been struggling with a muscular injury since his third-round clash against Taylor Fritz. After his win over Raonic, the Serb said that he would've withdrawn from the tournament if it hadn't been a Grand Slam.
"Well, if it's any other tournament other than a Grand Slam, I would retire, withdraw from the event, that's for sure. But because it's a Grand Slam, I am going to give my best along with my team to try to recover and get on the court," he said.
Meanwhile Alexander Zverev, the sixth seed at the event, has had an excellent campaign in Melbourne so far. He lost the first set of the tournament in a tight tie-breaker, but since then he has won 12 sets in a row to reach the quarterfinals.
Zverev made it to the semifinals at the Rod Laver Arena last year, losing to Dominic Thiem in four sets. He was also the finalist at the US Open in 2020.
Novak Djokovic vs Alexander Zverev head-to-head
Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev have met seven times on tour so far, with the Serb leading the head-to-head 5-2. While Zverev initially led the rivalry 2-1, Djokovic won their next four matches to tilt it in his favor.
Zverev's first win over Djokovic came in their first match against each other - the final of the 2017 Rome Masters. He also has a hardcourt victory over the Serb, which came at the 2018 ATP Tour Finals.
Their latest meeting came at the ATP Cup last month, where Djokovic claimed a tight 6-7(3), 6-2, 7-5 victory.
Novak Djokovic vs Alexander Zverev prediction
While Novak Djokovic is one of the toughest opponents anyone can face at the Australian Open, the extent of his current injury is uncertain. But the 33-year-old is likely to push through the pain, since this tournament is important in his bid to try and catch up with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer's tally of 20 Majors.
That said, Alexander Zverev will be a tougher opponent than anyone that Djokovic has played so far. The German brings heaps of quality and power to the table, and it will take a Herculean effort from the Serb to come out on top.
Zverev could very well take the match to five sets, but Djokovic's experience might help him get over the line.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win in five sets.