Why are experts comparing the Medvedev Djokovic final with the Queen’s Gambit ?
Eyeballs will be stuck on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday when red-hot Daniil Medvedev will try to topple World No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the 2021 Australian Open men’s singles title.
Both players have had divergent runs to the final at Melbourne Park. Djokovic, an 8-time Australian Open champion, entered the contest as the man to defeat. But after appearing to damage an oblique muscle in the 3rd round against American Taylor Fritz, there were significant worries he would be able to remain on course towards a 18th major title.
Since then, Djokovic has relished easy wins over Milos Raonic, Alexander Zverev and Aslan Karatsev, and concerns about the enigmatic injury have diminished.
Meanwhile, Daniil Medvedev has carried on his stunning hardcourt form, dictating the outcome in his favour against everyone who has come in his path. The Russian is riding a twenty-match winning stretch on the surface, with eleven of those wins coming against top-10 ranked players. Medvedev is seeking his maiden major title, and if he secures it this weekend in Melbourne, he will soar to the ranking of world No. 2.
What is it going to be the experience factor or the Queen’s Gambit?
Novak Djokovic has the advantage of his experience, but the young Russian does have a Slam final appearance on his résumé.
McEnroe: I like how Djokovic tried to flip it around and put the burden on Medvedev by saying [Medvedev is] the player to defeat. Medvedev might have only competed in one Slam final, but it was a terrific match and he demonstrated incredible determination, guts and stamina to take it to five sets. His strategies were also mostly spot on. If Medvedev fails to win this match, the the only logical explanation would be that Djokovic took the game away from him. I don’t think it will be because of the lack of major final experience or any sort of stage fright.
Cahill: Experience matters for a lot, and I believe Medvedev spoke especially well about it after his final against Rafael Nadal at the US Open two years back. It wasn’t that he played the inappropriate shots, it was just he felt he was short of the experience of being there in that moment. He was down two sets to love and then bounced back with 2 amazing sets in his favour, before Nadal lifted again and won. But now that he has experienced that situation before, he’ll be able to reflect on that and gather a bit more insight, and not be frightened by the finish line, if he gets that chance. That bit of his rich experience will help him. On the other hand, Novak has been there on so many occasions and for him, it’s second nature. For Medvedev, he will still have to push himself through that.
Some experts are comparing the 2021 Australian Open men’s final with the “Queens’ Gambit” where a young star takes out the best and the most experienced in the field. Novak Djokovic has the advantage of his experience, but the young Russian does seem to have the Queen’s Gambit factor playing out!
We have to tune into our television sets or online devices to watch the 2021 Australian Open Final Live and find out (13:30 ET).
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