Djokovic Opens Two-Set Lead Vs. Tsitsipas In Australian Open Final | ATP Tour
Novak Djokovic is close to claiming a record-extending 10th Australian Open title after opening a 6-3, 7-6(4) lead against Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s championship match in Melbourne.
Djokovic came into the match with a 9-0 record in Australian Open finals and has won his past nine tour-level meetings against the 24-year-old Tsitsipas. Should he go on to complete victory on Sunday and extend his ATP Head2Head record against the Greek to 11-2, the Serbian will draw level with Rafael Nadal’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles.
Whoever prevails in Sunday’s final will enjoy a double reward for their success in Melbourne. Both Djokovic and Tsitsipas know that victory at the first Grand Slam of the 2023 season guarantees them the No. 1 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
Djokovic v Tsitsipas: The Rivalry
It is the second meeting between Djokovic and Tsitsipas in a major final. At Roland Garros in 2021, Djokovic rallied from two-sets-to-love down to defeat the Greek and claim victory on the Paris clay, but he gave Tsitsipas few opportunities to establish a similar lead on Sunday in Melbourne.
Despite Tsitsipas scoring an early morale-booster in the first set by saving two break points from 15/40 to hold for 1-1, Djokovic’s typically consistent and accurate groundstrokes dominated the early stages. He frequently piled pressure onto the Tsitsipas backhand, and the Greek was unable to repeat the escape in the fourth game, when Djokovic clinched the only break of the set.
Needing to change the rhythm of the match, Tsitsipas’ booming serve and huge forehand belatedly began to fire. On several occasions in the second set, the Greek reacted to winning crucial points by rousing his supporters in the crowd, and the third seed fed off the febrile atmosphere to raise his level on Rod Laver Arena.
Yet despite Tsitsipas carving out the sole break point chance of the set (which doubled as a set point) at 4-5, 30/40, Djokovic found a way to pull through. He arrowed a sublime forehand winner to save the set point and held his nerve again to claim the tie-break despite having dropped three straight points to surrender a 4/1 lead.
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