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Japan Open 2019 Final: Novak Djokovic vs John Millman, preview and prediction

ANALYST
Preview
Modified 21 Dec 2019, 00:41 IST

Djokovic celebrates on day six at this year
Djokovic celebrates on day six at this year's Rakuten Open, where he beat Goffin in straight-sets

There's been no stopping Novak Djokovic as the world number one sent David Goffin packing with disdain and dominance during their semi-final clash in Tokyo. With his 6-3, 6-4 win over the Belgian in an hour and 30 minutes, the 16-time Grand Slam champion sealed his place in his 110th ATP Tour final - where he will face an upbeat opponent in the form of John Millman on Sunday.

The 30-year-old Australian, who had to make his way through two qualifying rounds too, has been nothing short of spectacular all week in Japan. This represents his first ever ATP Tour final, where he'll be eagerly anticipating a tough challenge but equally look to play his part with a stunning victory against Djokovic potentially on the cards.

While it is true the big-serving Aussie has yet to face a single seeded player en-route to the final, he has nonetheless been relentless and Djokovic will need a strong purposeful display if the Serb hopes to clinch his fourth title of the calendar year.

Novak Djokovic was victorious during both their previous head-to-head meetings last year
Novak Djokovic was victorious during both their previous head-to-head meetings last year

In their two previous meetings on the ATP Tour to date, Millman is yet to win a set against Djokovic - who cruised to straight-set wins in the US Open quarter-final and Round of 32 contest at Queen's Club last year.

Although Djokovic has claimed two Grand Slam victories in 2019, this year has been quite a frustrating one in parts for the 32-year-old, who is seeking some momentum here before heading out to compete at the upcoming Masters 1000 events in Shanghai and Paris.

Millman came through two qualifying rounds unscathed before reaching his first ATP Tour Final this week
Millman came through two qualifying rounds unscathed before reaching his first ATP Tour Final this week

Contrastingly, Millman has enjoyed a dream week in Tokyo and will be hoping he can do everything in his power to keep the world number one at bay on Sunday, which is easier said than done. His huge serving will prove his trump card for their encounter, but he finds himself in a tricky predicament against possibly the best returner of this generation and one who is truly impeccable defending behind the baseline.

Should he produce his absolute best tennis, Millman can weave his magic against Djokovic - but the Serb will equally be determined to deliver his unrelenting best to seal the deal and capture a 76th career title in style. Regardless of the final result, it'll be intriguing to see how the drama unfolds!

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Prediction: Djokovic to win in straight sets.

Published 05 Oct 2019, 23:39 IST
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