Fixture: (1) Novak Djokovic vs (2) Daniil Medvedev
Date: 12 September 2021
Tournament: 2021 US Open
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $40,560,000
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel & ESPN/ESPN 2 | UK - Amazon Prime Video | India - Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Novak Djokovic vs Daniil Medvedev preview
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic faces World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev in the final of the 2021 US Open on Sunday. The Serb is just one step away from becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to complete the Calendar Grand Slam.
Djokovic has been in the form of his life this year. The Serb won the Australian Open, Roland Garros, and Wimbledon, and his six victories in New York this past fortnight have extended his unbeaten run at Majors to 27 matches.
The 34-year-old has navigated a tricky draw at Flushing Meadows. He needed four sets to overcome each of Kei Nishikori, Jenson Brooksby, and Matteo Berrettini, and was then taken the distance by the in-form Alexander Zverev in the semifinals.
However, having successfully advanced to the final, Djokovic is just one win away from a 21st Major, which would move him past rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the Slam race.
Daniil Medvedev, meanwhile, has also had a solid year. The World No. 2 reached the final at the Australian Open and won titles at the Canada Masters, Marseille and Mallorca.
The Russian came into the tournament on the heels of a good run in the American hardcourt swing and was thus tipped to be one of the top contenders for the US Open title. Medvedev has certainly lived up to the billing, cruising through the first four rounds without dropping a set.
He dropped his first set of the tournament in the quarterfinals against Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp but still registered a rather comfortable win. He advanced to the final after breezing past 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 7-5, 6-2.
Novak Djokovic vs Daniil Medvedev head-to-head
The final in New York will be the ninth match between the two players, with Novak Djokovic leading the head-to-head 5-3.
Medvedev has won three of their last five meetings, but he has never beaten the Serb at a Grand Slam. Djokovic defeated the Russian in straight sets at the 2021 Australian Open final in their most recent clash.
Novak Djokovic vs Daniil Medvedev prediction
Novak Djokovic is undoubtedly the favorite on paper. However, in Daniil Medvedev, he faces one of the best hardcourters in the men's game.
The 25-year-old Russian has relied on his big serve to bail him out of nervy moments this past fortnight. He has smashed down 70 aces thus far, winning over 80% of the points on his first serve. His backhand has also been rock-solid throughout the tournament.
Djokovic, meanwhile, has managed to grind out wins despite not playing at a particularly high level. But the Serb is known to raise his level in the crunch moments and will undoubtedly find his best tennis in the final.
The 34-year-old's backhand and return are still among the best on tour, and will play a crucial role in neutralizing one of Medvedev's biggest strengths -- his serve. In Melbourne earlier this year, Djokovic was extremely aggressive on return from the get-go, a strategy that yielded rewards. He could employ the same once again on Sunday.
Djokovic will also look to use slices and dropshots to keep the Russian on his toes.
The two players have extremely similar playing styles, but Djokovic's forehand and return should give him the edge in this contest. If he can withstand the pressure of the Calendar Slam and play at a reasonably high level, Medvedev is unlikely to have any answers.
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Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win in four sets.