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History could be in the making with Rafael Nadal (UTR Rating 16.17) one win away from capturing his record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title. Daniil Medvedev (16.21) is the only thing standing in his way, and the winner will be decided on Sunday (Saturday night in the U.S.).
The women's champion already has her name etched in the history books with Universal Tennis INSIGHTS tournament favorite Ashleigh Barty winning her third major and first Australian Open over Danielle Collins. Barty came back from 1-5 down in the second set to win 6-3, 7-6(2) and become the first Australian woman to win in Melbourne in 44 years.
Medvedev is looking to win his second major in a row after capturing the 2021 US Open while Nadal is hoping to snag his first Australian Open title since 2009 and 21st Grand Slam overall.
INSIGHTS has the inside take on what to expect from the men's final.
Nadal and Medvedev Prepare for a Tussle
While the women's odds heavily favored Barty to win, INSIGHTS is expecting a tight men's final with Medvedev having a 52% chance compared to Nadal's 48%. The two have traded the highest odds of winning the title between them, but Medvedev started the tournament with the highest chance of winning it.
Nadal has had to fight hard to get to this lofty position, not just against his opponents against his body, taking time to recover from a foot injury that derailed his career in 2021.
Rain plagued the men's semifinal lineup, but the roof was of no concern for the 35-year-old Spaniard.
"I knew before the match that the roof was going to be closed, but you know what?" Nadal said. "For a month-and-a-half, I did not know if I was going to be able to play tennis so it did not matter if it's outdoor or indoor."
Nadal's semifinal was a strong performance, winning 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in just under three hours.
"For me, it's all about the Australian Open more than anything else," Nadal said. "It's just an amazing event that, as I said a couple of days ago, I had been a little bit unlucky with some injuries. There were times I played amazing finals with good chances – against Novak
"I feel very lucky that I won it once in my career in 2009 but I never thought about another chance in 2022."
According to the INSIGHTS head-to-head tool, Medvedev has the higher overall and trending three-month UTR Rating and his win-loss record over the past 15 months is better mostly because he's played a lot more: he's 81-15 while Nadal is 43-8. Nadal has the advantage in wins over common opponents.
The two haven't played each other since 2020 when Medvedev won a semifinal bout at the ATP Finals. Nadal had won their previous three meetings, including in the final of the 2019 US Open.
Medvedev Takes Hard-Court Record into Final
For the second year in a row, Medvedev beat Tsitsipas in the Melbourne semifinals. The match went in his favor, 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 with a touch of drama along the way. The Russian complained that Tsitsipas was receiving coaching from his father in the stands (a common trend in the Tstisipas camp), and lost his cool with umpire Jaume Campistol.
He calmed down enough to finish the task at hand in 2 hours and 30 minutes.
The 25-year-old has put the drama behind him and is very much focused on the task ahead.
"I remember the match against Rafa at the US Open
He's taking an impressive stat into the final: He's 33-4 in his last 37 hard-court Grand Slam matches. The highly-anticipated final will happen on Sunday in Melbourne, so overnight on Saturday in the United States.
Come back tomorrow for a full recap of the 2022 Australian Open championships.
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•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 9 a.m. EST, Jan. 29, 2022.