After failing to make it to even the semifinals in Melbourne for the last two years, Novak Djokovic is in the title clash of the Australian Open 2019 and is a favourite when he clashes with Rafael Nadal on Sunday.
Following a brilliant return to form last year, the World No. 1 won the last two Grand Slams and is favourite to win the season’s first major. Playing for his 15th Grand Slam title, Djokovic meets Nadal seven years after edging him in a five hour 53-minute marathon at Melbourne Park, the longest Slam final on record.
The Serb has enjoyed their most recent exchange too, having beaten Nadal in five sets in the Wimbledon semi-finals last year, and will look to wear down his biggest rival again.
ROAD TO FINAL:
Djokovic was pushed hard by qualifier Mitchell Krueger despite the straight sets scoreline of 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena. The Serbian struck 42 winners against his American opponent, but was agitated at times during the two-hours contest.
Djokovic eased into the Australian Open third round with a 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The match against Tsonga was a repeat of the 2008 final in Melbourne, which the Serb won in four sets to secure his first Grand Slam title.
Djokovic overcame a late fightback from Denis Shapovalov to book his spot in the Australian Open fourth round. He snapped after dropping the third set against Shapovalov, earning a code violation for swearing, before finishing in an angry flourish to win 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.
The Serb reached his 10th Australian Open quarter-finals after coming through in four sets against Daniil Medvedev 6-4 6-7 6-2 6-2.
Djokovic remained on course for his third straight grand slam final after reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open as a result of Kei Nishikori’s retirement due to injury.
A win for Djokovic would move him past Pete Sampras (14) to outright third on the list of Grand Slam title winners.