The first Grand Slam of the 2023 calendar went mostly according to form at least on the men’s side. Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas were arguably the 1-2 favorites going into the tournament and here they are, the last two standing.
Both have played really well the last few matches coming into the final. Despite his left hamstring, Djokovic has dropped one single set while Tsitsipas had to go five with Jannik Sinner and four against Karen Khachanov two nights ago.
We don’t really know of Djokovic’s hamstring status, but based on his recent play, I’ll say he’s healthy. So too is Tsitsipas.
So it shapes up as a classic final between two very in-form players looking to make history.
Djokovic will tie Rafael Nadal at 22 and return to #1. Tsitsipas will turn into an actual Greek God becoming the first player from his country to win a Grand Slam and ascend to No. 1. There’s a lot on the line tonight.
Novak Djokovic v Stefanos Tsitsipas
Tsitsipas will be the toughest test for Djokovic yet. He’s more of a complete player than Tommy Paul, Andre Rublev and Alex De Minaur. And other than a first-set blip against Paul, he absolutely destroyed all three.
Tsitsipas brings more variety, more power via his bigger frame and more belief. Tsitsipas was a set from the French Open a few years ago, so he’s close but there’s some scar tissue. That crushing loss is still there.
The problem is Djokovic is 100% locked into winning this title. After what happened last year, the hamstring, his father and now three sets from tying Rafa, there’s just too much fuel and fire and that’s what will push him over the top tonight. It’s almost a sense of inevitability and Djokovic will not be denied.
On paper, Tsitsipas could and maybe should win this. He’s 11 years younger, playing well, has the game and he’s motivated. He’ll also have a fair bit of the crowd and like Novak, this is his best event. And if this were a Paris or Indian Wells, maybe he would.
But in best-of-5, in a Grand Slam title match with so much at stake, against a legend, it’s hard to bet against the likes of Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in these situations.
Djokovic leads 10-2 having won their last nine meetings. That’s nine straight! He’s also won all five finals against Tsitsipas. They played four times last year with their Paris indoor semifinal going the distance. This will be their third Grand Slam meeting, first away from the French.
Tsitsipas has firepower that can hurt Djokovic. Tonight, he’ll have to serve well and pound the forehand. Something he has been doing. But it’s hard to see Djokovic having an off night and letting down. Not on this court, at this stage, which has never ever happened.
The Pick: Djokovic in 4
Match is on ESPN at 3:30am. Set your alarms!
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Djokovic a few games away from becoming undisputed GOAT (he already is)! Icing on the cake getting the number 1 back. Last 2 Slams he played he will wins, wasn’t able to play USO. Fully back and clear mesaage to the circuit.
He knows he needs to capitilize as much as he can this 2023 and 2024, as age eventually will catch up.
January 29th, 2023 at 7:15 am