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Australian Open Men's Final preview: Sinner ready to claim maiden Grand Slam

One of Jannik Sinner or Daniil Medvedev will claim their maiden Australian Open title at the iconic Rod Laver Arena on Sunday and the impressive Italian is expected to come out on top.

Medvedev has twice finished runner-up at the Australian Open, playing second fiddle to Novak Djokovic in 2021 before taking second prize against Rafael Nadal in 2022, but he does have a Grand Slam title to his name courtesy of the 2021 US Open.

Sinner is featuring in his first ever Grand Slam final, but has been the standout player of the tournament, dropping just one set on his way to the final in a run that saw him upset defending champion Djokovic in the last four.

Medvedev has had to work harder on his way to a third Melbourne Park title decider, coming through three five-set marathons, including against Alexander Zverev in what was a true semi-final epic.

Sinner is 4/11 to go on and secure his breakthrough win, while Medvedev is 9/4 to triumph at the third time of asking.

Impressive Italian difficult to oppose

Medvedev has experience on his side, having previously competed in five Grand Slam finals and getting a major win under his belt at the 2021 US Open.

However, both of his Australian Open final appearances have ended in defeat and another may follow at the hands of Sinner, who looks ready to make his Grand Slam breakthrough.

Nobody finished last season quite as strongly as Sinner, who won hard-court events in Vienna and Beijing to take his title tally on the ATP Tour to ten.

In both of those finals Sinner got the better of Medvedev, while he also finished runner-up to Djokovic at the ATP Tour Finals to suggest he could be set for a successful 2024.

And that is how things have panned out at Melbourne Park, where Sinner has carried on that good form to reach his first Grand Slam final.

Sinner has without doubt been the leading player throughout the tournament and he has dropped only one set during his six victories.

That feat is made even more remarkable when you consider his list of scalps include Russian seeded duo Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev, as well as defending champion Djokovic.

Sinner caught Djokovic by surprise by his quick start to their semi-final, with the big-serving Italian racing into a 6-1 6-2 lead before the Serb hit back in a third-set tiebreak.

The 22-year-old showed maturity beyond his years to then see out the contest by winning the fourth set 6-3, which was an incredible effort considering Djokovic is a ten-time Australian Open champion and was on a 33-match winning streak at Melbourne Park.

Sinner won 24 games to Djokovic’s 13, so he looks a strong handicap play against Medvedev, who has been made to toil on his journey to a third Australian Open final.

The best bet on offer could therefore be backing Sinner to cover a handicap start of -4.5 games at 5/6.

The Russian has been on court for 20 hours and 33 minutes, nearly six hours longer than Sinner, and three of his six wins have come in a deciding set.

Medvedev has shown great character and resilience, especially in round two against Emil Ruusuvuori and then again in his semi-final tussle with Zverev, as he found himself two sets down on both occasions.

The 27-year-old has lost his last three meetings with Sinner, but he has twice got a set on the board and that desire to win should ensure he stays competitive.

Medvedev turned it physical with some lung-busting rallies against Zverev and he may look to deploy the same tactic against Sinner, a similar player to the German.

But it is still likely to be in vain, with fatigue surely going to come into play at some point, meaning correct-score punters may want to side with a 3-1 victory for Sinner at 13/5.

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