The Djokomonster Awakens.
By riding roughshod over young gun Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinal, Rafael Nadal confirmed he was the player to beat at the 2019 Australian Open. The idea that Novak Djokovic should be concerned was gaining momentum on Tennis Twitter.
Djokovic answered Nadal’s call
If Nadal has been sending an unequivocal message throughout the fortnight, Djokovic swiftly answered the call by taking Lucas Pouille to the woodshed 6-0 6-2 6-2 in just one hour and 23 minutes.
The Frenchman started off putting pressure on the first seed, reaching deuce on the first game. However, it was an oasis. The World No. 1 turned on his well-oiled machinery and barely let the 24-year-old upstart breathe all match long.
“This is definitely one of the best matches I’ve ever played,” Djokovic told Jim Courier in the post-match interview.
If the Spaniard won an absurd 62.7 percent of the points against Tsitsipas, the Belgrade native raised the bar versus Pouille to unprecedented heights (65.4%). Djokovic displayed flawless accuracy, firing 24 winners while only incurring in five unforced errors.
Rafole LIII Looming
Rafole LIII, curiously set to happen a week before Super Bowl LIII, is shaping up to be an epic clash between two world-beaters. Nadal will aim again to become the first male in the Open Era to complete the career Grand Slam twice. The 2009 winner boasts an unblemished 6-0 when reaching a Major final without dropping a set, per ATP Media Info. In turn, Djokovic, a six-time Australian Open champion, has never tasted the sour flavor of defeat on Championship Sunday at the Rod Laver Arena. One of these streaks shall end.
Djokovic leads their head to head by a slim 27-25 margin, including the legendary 2012 final Down Under. Almost seven years ago, he prevailed 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 7-5 in the longest Grand Slam final ever, which lasted a whopping five hours and 53 minutes. Based on this precedent and on how ruthlessly dominant Nadal and Djokovic remain, the hype is warranted.
“These guys are better now than they were (back in 2012),” Mats Wilander said on Game, Schett & Mats.
The Spanish southpaw is arguably playing the most efficient tennis of his illustrious career but the Serbian tyrant is up for the challenge.
Fasten your seat belts! There is absolutely no way we are witnessing a dud of a duel on Sunday.
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