Australian Open: Djokovic to face Tsitsipas in final for 22nd Grand Slam title

Australian Open: Djokovic to face Tsitsipas in final for 22nd Grand Slam title


Novak Djokovic, 5th in the world, will face Stefanos Tsitsipas (4th) in the Australian Open final on Sunday, where he will aim for a 22nd Grand Slam title to equal Rafael Nadal's record. 

The winner of this final will dislodge another Spaniard, Carlos Alcaraz, from the place of world No.1.

“I won the last (final played against Tsitsipas, at Roland-Garros in 2021, Ed. ) so I keep positive! But I was down two sets to zero,” recalled the 35-year-old Serb.

“Since then, Stefanos has progressed. So, may the best win!” added Djokovic a few minutes after dominating Friday in the semi-finals, and despite a left thigh still largely bandaged, the American Tommy Paul (35th) 7-5, 6-1, 6-2.

“At the end of the first set, I managed to keep my composure (when Paul came back from 5-1 to 5-5, Editor's note) and that was key. Then I let go of my shots better,” analyzed Djokovic.

Without mentioning his thigh, he launched to be “110%” regarding his energy level. A joke quickly stale: “Obviously, I'm not as fresh as at the start, but I worked a lot on my physique in the off-season”, he underlined.

In addition, “I know what it's like to play in five sets, I have experience of it”, recalled the man with 21 Grand Slam titles who will aim for a 10th victory in Melbourne in as many finals on Sunday. .

On Friday, Djokovic escaped quickly in the first set by dominating widely and led 5-1. But he committed too many unforced errors (24 in the first set alone when he had committed 21 in his previous match against Andrey Rublev in the quarterfinals) and allowed Paul to recover to 5-5 before resume and win the next two games to close the set.

In the second set, at 2-0 and advantage on his serve for his opponent, he showed the first signs of discomfort in his thigh.

But, as in the first set, he managed a double break and, this time, he concluded on his first opportunity. With only six unforced errors in the set.

He continued his momentum in the next set: another double break allowed him to lead 4-0. Paul couldn't help it anymore.