There’s been little question about who have been the two best players at the 2023 Men’s Australian Open.
Both Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas have played at a world-beating level during the fortnight Down Under and now will play for the trophy.
Djokovic is a -475 favorite as he searches for his 10th Australian Open title. This would be Tsitsipas’ first-ever Grand Slam trophy.
Does the Greek have a chance to upset the odds against Djokovic? The match is expected to begin at 3:30 a.m. ET on Sunday morning and broadcast live on ESPN.
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Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates victoryGetty Images
Australian Open prediction: Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Novak Djokovic (3:30 a.m. ET, ESPN)
On the surface, Djokovic’s victory over Tommy Paul looked pretty straightforward. The 35-year-old Serb won in straight sets, 7-5, 6-1, 6-2, but there is a little bit of context needed as Djokovic didn’t really find his A-game until after the first set. Luckily, Paul was not at the races. Had the American been playing his best tennis, Djokovic could have easily dropped the opener, and the conversation leading into this match could be pretty different.
As for Tsitsipas, he’s coming off an impressive victory against Karen Khachanov, who struggled to put Tsitsipas’ serve back in play all night. That allowed the Greek to win plenty of cheap points and keep the pressure on the Russian throughout the match.
Tsitsipas struggled a bit in the first set to get his first serve in play, but once he found his rhythm, he was able to control the tempo of the match. Although Tsitsipas was in control for basically the entire match and has been superb all tournament, he’ll likely need to find another level against Djokovic.
Ever since he landed in Australia ahead of the Adelaide warm-up tournament, it felt like Djokovic was not going to be stopped on his mission to claim a 10th Australian Open title. The Serb has only dropped one set throughout the event, and that came in Round 2 in a tie-breaker against Enzo Couacaud. It’s also worth noting that Djokovic has defeated Tsitsipas nine times on the spin and holds a 10-2 record against the 24-year-old. However, Tsitsipas has won two of their three meetings on outdoor hard courts.
Stefanos Tsitsipas of GreeceGetty Images
All of this is pointing to Djokovic and is also the reason why the price of Novak is a bit inflated. Sure, Djokovic deserves to be a heavy favorite, but there is a path to success for Tsitsipas in this matchup. He’s got an excellent serve, moves exceptionally well, and has the shot-making ability to put Novak on the ropes. Whether everything clicks or not remains to be seen.
But it isn’t just Tsitsipas who has been at his best in the final. Djokovic’s ability to defend is the stuff of legend, but he hasn’t faced a difficult path in Melbourne. If he doesn’t have his A-game, he can be put under some duress by Tsitsipas’ weapons.
In all likelihood, Djokovic wins this match, but the odds are too wide.
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Tsitsipas is playing at an elite level and should be able to at least push Djokovic a bit here. Tennis Abstract gives Tsitsipas around a 31% chance of upsetting Novak, but these odds imply the Greek wins about 21% of the time. The value is on the underdog in this Grand Slam finale.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Novak Djokovic pick
Tsitsipas +350 (BetMGM)