Nobody is going to discover Daniil Medvedev at this point, much less Novak Djokovic. Two machines. Almost perfect in the case of the Serbian and equally sophisticated in the case of the Russian, although when it comes down to it the first has little room for error, while the second has to restart the software from time to time to recover optimal performance. At 36 years old, when surely the most logical thing would have been to have already asked for the settlement, Nole continues to battle and maintain his pulse in the beautiful dispute that he has established this year with Carlos Alcaraz, overwhelmed two nights ago by the one in Moscow. But be careful, because the latter does not wrinkle and claim space.
New York, then, is preparing for a final (10:00 p.m., Movistar) that promises strong emotions, as two strong strategists face each other. They will do it with the episode they both starred in two years ago as a background. Then, Medvedev pulverized on this same court Djokovic’s great dream, which was none other than to win his fourth major that season and thus add the Grand Slam clover to his endless list of records. There are, therefore, pending accounts. And the one from Moscow bursts in, also in a big way, after getting Carlos Alcaraz down and claiming himself as the most reliable alternative to the two best tennis players of the moment.
Beforehand, and given what has been seen in recent times, everything indicated that the Spanish would appear on the final poster, but he succumbed to the Russian’s magnificent proposal in the semifinals. Holed up on the baseline and repelling almost everything, Medvedev has a place in his own right in this Sunday’s outcome, which somehow has nostalgic airs for Djokovic. “At my age, every final could be the last,” says the one from Belgrade, who always has plenty of incentives when it comes to winning, but who contemplates an addition: taking revenge for what happened two years ago and, in parallel, equalizing the record of 24 majors held by Australian Margaret Court.
Djokovic and Medvedev hug at the end of the 2021 final. JUSTIN LANE (EFE)
“I am clear that I am facing a historic opportunity, but I don’t stop to think about it because I know what can happen, like two years ago,” he recalls. “I don’t want it to happen again,” Nole continues seriously, aware that Medvedev has already caused her several upsets and that she arrives at the appointment with a powerful inertia. “When he loses, Novak is never the same again, that’s why he has 23 majors, many Masters 1000s, as many weeks as number one… So he will be 10 times better than he was that day. If I want to beat him, I will have to be 10 times better than I was that day, ”the Muscovite demands, referring to the final that he resolved in 2021 with a 6-4 triple.
This year, Djokovic has conquered Australia and Roland Garros, having only performed on the big Alcaraz stages. The Wimbledon final was a historic turning point, but the Balkan refused to give in and on the summer tour he has returned to the fray, with the Cincinnati trophy as an appetizer and the finish line in New York pending. He won’t have it easy. Medvedev —27 years old, reaching the ideal point of maturity— sports the best annual record on hard courts (38 wins and five losses) and is the only contender who has managed to beat the Serbian and the Spanish in 2023. Relegated from the big stages since he incredibly lost the Australian final in 2022, he is vindicated.
Medvedev, on Friday against Alcaraz. JUSTIN LANE (EFE)
“I am playing in an incredible way. If I compare myself with the Daniil of two years ago, I would definitely say that I am not worse”, he indicates, wanting to make up for himself and, above all, to finally establish himself as a permanent threat in the majors and not come and go. This afternoon (4:00 p.m. local time) he will play his fifth grand final, the third in Flushing Meadows, for the 36 (tenth in the US Open) that Djokovic’s card offers.
The number one – he will recover it this Monday, to the detriment of Alcaraz – arrives at the appointment with the fairest deposit, since he has invested almost six more hours on the track (17:26-11:51). The Russian also assists with a higher percentage than the rest (83%-76%), more winning shots (211-180) and more aces; However, Nole, of course, prevails in the previous ones (9-5) and wins in precision – 144 unforced errors, compared to the opponent’s 211. From fronton to fronton and from back to back, the epilogue of the tournament aims to be an attractive debate, even if it is not the final that was assumed. The weather forecast announces a high probability of rain at game time and humidity above 80%. It will take place, therefore, under the sealed roof of the Arthur Ashe.
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