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Djokovic VS Nadal: a classic never acknowledged

Novak Djokovic defeated Lucas Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 to set up a showdown clash with Rafael Nadal. The match is set to be a classic.

Last updated: 26.01.2019
Australian Open 2019 Men's final | Sports Social Blog

Novak Djokovic defeated Lucas Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 to set up a showdown clash with Rafael Nadal. The match has everything in it to be a classic!

When the draws of the Australian Open came into public, there were two matches that captured the minds of many fans. One of them was the very iconic and vintage Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer clash. And the other, guess what? Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal. The first one failed to materialise because Federer fell short in the fourth round itself. And the second? Well, that's your final on Sunday. This will be the eighth grand slam final meeting. They have 31 Grand Slams in total between them.

Over the past twelve days in Melbourne, the duo has been quite dominant and ruthless in their pursuit of the title. While Novak prefers the hard courts more than clay and grass, Rafa has perhaps been playing the best hard-court tennis of his career. And that’s what makes the contest all-the-more fascinating to a neutral point of view. If Djokovic wins, he will move clear of Roy Emerson and Roger Federer in terms of the number of Australian Open titles. And if Nadal wins, he will just be two shy of Federer's number. He will have a total of 18 grand slams. And with French Open coming up in a few months, this gap could further be closed. However, he could be the first-ever player to claim all the four grand slams at least twice in the open era.

With both the players playing at their level best, the winner will have to sweat it out there. In our build-up to the mega-final, here are some aspects to be considered going into this match:

  1. Head-to-head: They have played 52 matches between them and all have come in the final stages of tournaments. Although there is a little to choose from them. Yet Djokovic leads by 27-25. That's not a significant lead by any means. The last time that they met in the final in Melbourne was way back in 2012. That match is considered by many as the best match in the history of Australian Open. The match stretched up to 5 hours 53 minutes. That means nearly 6 hours of tennis at the highest level. The last time that they met in a grand slam was in Wimbledon 2018 where Novak edged past Nadal in a 5-set thriller. In the 7 grand slam finals between them, Nadal stood tall in 4 of them.

  1. The road to the final: Both Nadal and Djokovic have been in great shape and winning for fun. Nadal has been on the court for 12 hours 11 minutes while Djokovic has been there for 11 hours 59 minutes. But Novak's time was less because Kei Nishikori left the game midway because of injury. Djokovic has dropped two sets en route to the final. 4-6 to Denis Shapovalov in the third and 6-7 (5) to Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round. Nadal is the only player in the draw that has not lost a single set until now. Can he keep this record going on Sunday too? Djokovic has lost 54 games while Nadal has lost only 48 this year. Nadal's remodelled serve and the aggressive game put him in a different league altogether.

  1. Track record in the Australian Open: They have a total of seven Australian Open titles between them and Djokovic has won 6 of them. It's not very difficult to gauge which is favourite grand slam is? He has won the titles back in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016. Nadal's only victory came back in 2009. Australian Open is the first grand slam of the year and both of them will be looking to start on a positive note. Let's see who has the final laugh?

It's fair to say that the two of the best players of the tournament have qualified for the final. They have certainly rolled back a few years out of their pocket!

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