2024 Australian Open: Preview and predictions for surprising semifinal matches

Men's tennis might be in the midst of a new Big 4 era except for one interloper.
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Men's tennis has a lot of very competitive players starting with Andrey Rublev and beyond. But the top four players appear to be clearly better than everyone else. While Rublev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and others can battle to win titles at ATP 500 tournaments, does anyone other than Daniil Medvedev, Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner, and Novak Djokovic seem dangerous enough to steal a Grand Slam?

Well, yes. Alexander Zverev clearly does. Zverev shockingly defeated Alcaraz in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and he will next face Medvedev, not Alcaraz.

As far as Jannik Sinner is concerned, though, he has not even reached a major final yet, but we know that is only a matter of time. Zverev also hasn't won a major, but he did reach the final of the 2020 US Open and he has won the ATP Finals twice. Medvedev has won one Grand Slam victory and has been to six finals, and Djokovic has 24 wins, but his number keeps going up so much that it is easy to lose track.

But Sinner defeated Djokovic twice in two weeks in November, so the 22-year-old Italian is clearly ascending. The likelihood is he will win a major this year. Maybe two. And he will probably defeat Alcaraz, Medvedev, or Djokovic in whatever major final he reaches unless Zverev continues to surprise people and stands in Sinner's way. Rafael Nadal seems to injured still and is aging, so he will likely continue to fade. Djokovic will eventually, but the other three won't for some time.

Predictions for the Australian Open men's semifinals

Novak Djokovic versus Jannik Sinner

Djokovic leads the head-to-head 4-2, but did lead 3-0 before November. Sinner beat Djokovic once in the round-robin stage of the ATP Finals and also at the Davis Cup the following week. Between those two matches, Djokovic destroyed Sinner in the ATP Finals final. That is important because the level of focus that Djokovic can reach is unlike any other player deep in tournaments.

Also, defeating Djokovic in Melbourne is a lot like beating Nadal at Roland Garros. Those two might be the most difficult things to do in the history of tennis. But Sinner also is not going to have any fear of playing Djokovic as he has a recent history of success against the Serb. Picking against Djokovic seems ridiculous at the Australian Open as he hasn't lost in the tournament since 2018, but I think Sinner's power keeps Djokovic off balance.

Prediction: Sinner wins in four sets

Alexander Zverev versus Daniil Medvedev

These two are no strangers to playing each other. They have faced off 18 times since 2016 with Medvedev leading the head-to-head 11-7. In 2023, Medvedev played Zverev a ridiculous six times. In other words, one player is not going to suddenly surprise the other player with some new technique.

The question in the semifinals is if Zverev can come anywhere close to how well he played in the first two sets against Alcaraz in the quarterfinals. If he can get a big lead on Medvedev, that should be enough for Zverev to make it through to the final. But Medvedev has won five of the last six meetings between the two players and hasn't lost a set in his last three victories over the German.

Prediction: Medvedev wins in four sets

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