Novak Djokovic cops crushing blow as Australian Open final set

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·Sports Editor
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Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev, pictured here at the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic is set to lose whichever way the Australian Open final goes. Image: Getty

Whichever way the Australian Open men's final goes on Sunday night, Novak Djokovic is set to lose.

If Rafael Nadal wins he will go one ahead of Djokovic and Roger Federer with a 21st grand slam title, taking the lead in the men's all-time race.

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But if Daniil Medvedev wins he will dethrone Djokovic as World No.1.

Because Djokovic won the Australian Open in 2021, he will lose a massive chunk of rankings points after he was deported from the country and unable to defend his title.

With the Serbian star not due back on court until the end of February in Dubai, he will likely lose his No.1 ranking if Medvedev wins in Melbourne.

Either way it will be a crushing blow for Djokovic, who has been forced to watch the Australian Open from back home in Serbia.

After beating Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday night to advance to the final, Medvedev made sure to take a cheeky dig at Djokovic.

Referencing his maiden grand slam triumph at last year's US Open in which he beat Djokovic in the final, Medvedev said: "This will be the second time in a row that I am playing someone in the final who is going for the 21st title.

"I'm sure Nadal was watching last time and Novak will probably be watching this one."

Daniil Medvedev and Rafa Nadal in Aus Open final

Medvedev enhanced his pantomime villain status on Friday night, surviving Tsitsipas' best and his own all-time dummy spit to book a date in the final with Nadal.

The second seed and tournament favourite won 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-4 6-1 in the latest chapter of their spicy four-year rivalry, with Medvedev furiously accusing his opponent of illegal in-match coaching.

Medvedev served two double faults to be broken late in a second set he lost, the Russian then launching a vicious tirade at chair umpire Jaume Campistol.

Adamant that Tsitsipas's coach and father Apostolos was illegally coaching in between points, he screamed at Campistol asking if he was "mad" and "stupid" and if "his father can talk every point?".

Daniil Medvedev and Rafa Nadal, pictured here at the Australian Open.
Daniil Medvedev and Rafa Nadal will meet in the Australian Open final. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Medvedev then arguably delivered the line of the tournament before leaving the court for a change of clothes after the heated third set.

"If you don't (issue a code violation) you are, how can I call it, a small cat," he said.

After the outburst, officials were planted under the Tsitsipas coaching box in an effort to catch them in the act and a warning was given early in the fourth set.

That code violation drew a laugh from Tsitsipas, who had the crowd in his pocket as Medvedev again dealt with the noise in between serves that he ignored against Nick Kyrgios in the second round.

But it was also a huge turning point, Medvedev winning every game that followed to run away with the victory in two-and-a-half hours.

"I don't think emotions like that help me too much ... many times I lose a match because of this," he said on-court after the win.

"You lose concentration, lose too much energy ... as soon as I done it, I was like 'that was a big mistake'.

"But I'm happy that I managed to reconcentrate for the beginning of the third set .. 15-40 I managed to pull out some serves that brought me back into the match.

"His energy went down and mine was going only up, think it would have gone even more if the match continued."

Nadal beat Medvedev over five sets in the 2019 US Open final, Medvedev then losing to Djokovic in the Australian Open final last year before dominating him in the 2021 decider at Flushing Meadows.

with AAP

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