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Australian Open: Jannik Sinner meets Daniil Medvedev in men's final in Melbourne

Jannik Sinner's clash with Daniil Medvedev is the first Australian Open final since 2005 not to feature one of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafa Nadal; we will bring you live commentary, scores, reports and analysis from the men's final from 8am Sunday in the UK

Jannik Sinner and Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open men's final
Image: Jannik Sinner and Daniil Medvedev meet in the Australian Open men's singles final on Sunday

Sprinter meets marathon man in the Australian Open men's singles final on Sunday as Jannik Sinner faces Daniil Medvedev, with both looking to take the title for the first time.

Sinner's path to a maiden Grand Slam final has been emphatic. The Italian 22-year-old has dropped only one set the entire tournament, against a certain 24-time slam champion in Novak Djokovic - who was amid a 33-match winning run at Melbourne Park before his semi-final defeat in four to the fourth seed.

Medvedev's route, meanwhile, has been rather different and considerably more fraught. The 27-year-old Russian has battled through three epic five-setters, with only one of his contests - against Felix Auger-Aliassime in the third round - wrapped up in three.

Daniil Medvedev of Russia wipes the sweat from his face during his quarterfinal match against Hubert Hurkacz of Poland at the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Image: Daniil Medvedev has been on court for a massive 20 hours and 33 minutes through this year's Australian Open

It has been a feat of endurance on an epic scale from the 2021 US Open champion and two-time former finalist in Melbourne, clocking up 20 hours and 33 minutes on court, compared to Sinner's speedy 14 hours 44. But he hopes it's something, along with his finals experience, can give him an edge on Sunday.

"I hope it gives (me an advantage)," Medvedev said. "Physical advantage, I probably don't have. Tennis advantage? Let's see.

"First final (for Sinner), I think it's always different for everyone. I'm sure some guys went out in their first final and felt so good that they just managed to win it. Some would find it tough mentally and they would lose.

"I have no idea how Jannik is going to be, but I have this experience. I will try my best. I will fight for my life and let's see who wins."

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Despite his inexperience on the biggest stage, Sinner will start the final as favourite - and not just on the basis of his form shown over the past fortnight at Melbourne Park.

His victory over Djokovic, for example, was his third in four meetings since November, confirming a red-hot run of form that has primed him for his first slam final.

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Jannik Sinner recorded his first career win over Novak Djokovic at the ATP Finals in Turin last November.

"After last year, especially the end of the year, it gave me confidence that I could potentially do some good results in the Grand Slams," Sinner said.

"But you still have to show it, no? There are people who talk a lot, but you have to show it."

Sinner's game has moved to another level since he began working with Darren Cahill in July 2022, the Australian coach believing the youngster has all the weapons to land one of the game's four big prizes.

"He's got the qualities I believe that a lot of the great champions in the game have, but you've got to start winning to let that come to fruition," Cahill said.

"So he's making little steps. He had a good finish to last year. He gained a lot of belief from what he was able to do."

Jannik Sinner of Italy celebrates after defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia in their semifinal at the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Jan. 26, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Image: Jannik Sinner has cruised to a first Grand Slam final in Melbourne, riding on the back of some blistering recent form

Sinner's ever-improving form in 2023 saw him also win his last three contests against the very man who he goes up against on Sunday, with Medvedev having previously won all of their first six encounters.

That included Medvedev emerging victorious in the pair's first two clashes in major finals, firstly in Rotterdam and then the Masters event in Miami last spring.

Sinner gained revenge in the next two, lifting the trophies in Beijing and Vienna, and then defeated Medvedev again in the semi-finals of the ATP Finals in their most recent meeting last November. Sunday will be their first ever match at a slam.

It will also be the first Australian Open final since 2005 not to feature at least one of the three players who have dominated men's tennis for two decades - Djokovic, Roger Federer or Rafa Nadal.

All of Medvedev's previous slam finals have pitted him against either Djokovic or Nadal. He beat the former in straight sets at Flushing Meadows in 2021, but lost to him there last year as well as in Melbourne in 2021.

Both of his finals against Nadal went the distance, recovering from two sets down in the 2019 US Open final before losing out in the decider, while he was two sets to the good against the Spaniard two years ago at Melbourne Park only to see the match slip away in five.

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Nick Kyrgios was on top form while commentating on Daniil Medvedev's Australian Open semi-final against Alexander Zverev.

Learning how to come through five-set epics is something Medvedev has certainly got a handle on during his run to this year's final though, the third seed coming from two sets down to beat Emil Ruusuvuori in the second round and Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals. He also overcame Hubert Hurkacz in five sets in the last eight.

"Mentally 100 per cent I'm stronger than I was before this tournament," Medvedev said. "I know that I'm capable of some things maybe I thought I'm not, because before I didn't do anything like this to get to the final."

Can marathon man Medvedev dig deep once more in Sunday's final or will Sinner explode out of the blocks to victory and a maiden slam title? Whatever the outcome, it's sure to be some race.

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