US Open: Preview and prediction for Djokovic versus Medvedev

(Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images) /

We didn’t get the US Open 2023 men’s final that most of us expected. There will be no Novak Djokovic versus Carlos Alcaraz third act in a recent tournament final. Instead, we likely get an even better match: Djokovic versus Daniil Medvedev.

Medvedev might be playing better than anyone else at the tournament right now. Not that Djokovic isn’t playing well – he is – but Djoko struggled a bit in the third round (he lost the first two sets) and then had a bit of trouble with Ben Shelton in the third set of the semifinals. Mind you, when Djokovic is even hinting at possibly struggling he is still playing a level of tennis few others can reach.

Medvedev has had a tougher road to the US Open final than Djokovic. He had to defeat eight-seed Andrey Rublev in the quarterfinals and then top-seed Carlos Alcaraz in the semis. He lost only one set in those two matches and was the far better player against Carlos Alcaraz. That last bit alone is something many players will never be able to say.

Predicting who wins the US Open 2023 final between Djokovic and Medvedev

While Djokovic leads the head-to-head over Medvedev 9-5, the last 11 times the two have met Djokovic leads only 6-5. Plus, Medvedev’s one Grand Slam title so far came against Djokovic (in straight sets) in the final of the 2021 US Open. Medvedev not only knows he can win in New York, he knows he can beat Djokovic in the final.

This final could be a long one. Both players are excellent returners and both cover the court very well. Each will hit multiple shots that common folk can only dream of hitting once in their lives. But as neither player normally relies on the serve to win matches, we could be looking at a match with long rallies. This will be fun for tennis fans, but probably exhausting for the players. Who wins or loses might simply come down to which is more fit by the third set of the match.

Djokovic getting Grand Slam 24 would be special, and there seems to be less talk of that now than there was before the Wimbledon final, oddly enough. Djokovic’s path to winning the US Open final is to dictate play with his serve. But I think Medvedev’s excellence on hard courts and confidence he can beat Djokovic with fantastic returns gets him the win.

Prediction: Medvedev in four sets

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