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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday September 9, 2023

Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev

And then there were two. It's Djokovic vs. Medvedev for the US Open title on Sunday in Flushing.

Photo Source: TTV

23-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic and 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev will square off for the fourteenth time on Sunday in Flushing Meadows, with the US Open title on the line.

Let’s have a look at the matchup!

Tennis Express

[2] Novak Djokovic v [3] Daniil Medvedev
Head-to-Head: Djokovic leads 9-5
Head-to-Head at Majors: Djokovic leads 2-1

Key Stat: Djokovic is bidding to become the oldest US champion in history and he seeks to tie Margaret Court on the all-time Grand Slam singles list.
Key Stat: Medvedev defeated Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the 2021 US Open final

Many have spoken about Novak Djokovic’s "relative" difficulties at the US Open over the course of his illustrious career. The Serbian legend holds an incredible ten titles on the hard courts of Melbourne Park, where the sports' other hard court major is hosted, but at the US Open he has only earned three, and lost two thirds of his finals played (3-6).

So what gives? Hard to pinpoint but Djokovic mentioned how difficult it is to maintain top shelf form this late into the season during his pre-tournament press conference at the US Open. It’s September and the players have logged myriad frequent flier miles as they have toiled across the globe for the last eight months. All that hard work exacts a toll, especially on special players like Djokovic, who vie for every title they play and log excessive court time on tour.

Djokovic, into his fourth major final of the season here in New York, and a record 36th major final overall, hopes that he has enough in the tank to finish the 2023 Grand Slam season with yet another crowning achievement. To do it he’ll have to find a way past a dangerous Daniil Medvedev, who is playing “11 out of 10” tennis and knows how to defeat Djokovic on this stage.

It was Medvedev who took down Djokovic in the 2021 US Open final when the Serbian legend was bidding to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to claim the coveted calendar year Grand Slam. Djokovic had his 27-match win streak at the Slams snapped and handled the difficult loss with nothing but grace.

Despite the heartbreak, the loss turned turned out to be one his most special moments with the New York fans, and many of those fans, no doubt, will be rooting for Djokovic to achieve history on Sunday in Flushing Meadows.

Every time Djokovic plays at a Grand Slam event (this is his 72nd) history is on the line, but this time around he plays for the chance to tie Margaret Court at the top of the all-time Grand Slam singles titles list. He says he’s not thinking about the record at all at the moment, but if he achieves the feat it will only strengthen Djokovic’s claims on the GOAT label.

As for Medvedev, he is riding high after knocking out Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals on Friday night. Very few saw a performance of this quality coming but Medvedev magic in New York City is most certainly a thing.

The Russian put forth one of the best performances of his career to take out the Spaniard in four as he patrolled the court to perfection, reading and reacting to Alcaraz’s every missive and returning to near perfection as he limited the Spaniard to zero aces and blanked the court thoroughly to reach his fifth major final.

Djokovic has won four out of his last five matches against Medvedev, but the pair have had plenty of scintillating tilts, trading big blows and clutch shotmaking all the while.

Djokovic will have to serve well and find ways to break Medvedev’s consistency to win the title on Sunday. He’ll also have to be careful: Medvedev played with an extremely aggressive mindset against Alcaraz on Friday and he’s proven to be excellent at doing that in New York, where he holds a 29-5 lifetime record.

It will behoove Djokovic to be the first to strike when the opportunity presents itself.

If it comes down to fitness, both have plenty left in the tank. Djokovic played a five-setter in the third round with Laslo Djere but hasn’t dropped a set in any other contest. He has logged just about 15 hours of court time, while Medvedev has spent 15:45 on court and dropped a single set in three of his four wins.

Both players should be ready to push through the stress and pain of the battle if it comes to that.

As far as meeting the moment, Djokovic believes he has learned from the difficulties he had when he last chased history in New York. On Friday after his win over Ben Shelton, he told reporters that he’s keeping his mind clear of externalities and focusing solely on winning the match.

“I understand I'm, you know, every time in a Grand Slam final it's another shot for history, you know, and I'm aware of it, and of course I'm very proud of it,” he said. “But again, I don't have much time nor do I allow myself to reflect on these things or think about the history too much in this sense, you know, because when I did that in the past, like, '21 finals here I was maybe overwhelmed with the occasion and the opportunity and I underperformed.

“So I don't want this to happen again, and I'll try to, you know, just focus on what needs to be done and tactically prepare myself for that match.”


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