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Longtime rivals Djokovic & Nadal face off in Australian Open final as young pretenders made to wait

Longtime rivals Djokovic & Nadal face off in Australian Open final as young pretenders made to wait
Sunday sees the latest chapter in an ongoing clash of titans as Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal meet in the Australian Open men's final – in a match-up that stalls talk of a changing of the guard at the top of men’s tennis.

STILL DOMINANT

Both Djokovic and Nadal remain at the forefront of men's tennis, and the pair have dominated the Grand Slam tournaments over the last few years.

Since 2014 only five Grand Slam singles finals have failed to feature at least one of them, as they've won 11 out of the last 20 Grand Slam titles between them.

There may be a new crop of stars coming up the ranks, with the likes of Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas looking to challenge the established order at the head of the ATP rankings.

READ MORE: 'This kid is a future no. 1': World reacts to 'Greek God' Tsitsipas' win over Federer at Aus Open

But there's no disputing the golden triumvirate of Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer as the three players who stand head and shoulders above the rest.

REMATCH OF A CLASSIC

Djokovic and Nadal last met in Melbourne in the final back in 2012 in a match that wrote the two players' names into the record books.

Djokovic ran out the victor 5-7. 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5 after an incredible five hours, 53 minutes in the longest Grand Slam final of the Open era.

But don't expect the match to last as long this time around. The new rules in Melbourne mean that a "super tiebreak" will be played if the score reaches 6-6 in the final set, with the two players battling it out in a race to 10 points to secure the title.


FINAL REUNION

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Despite the pair of them dominating the world over the last few years, this is actually their first meeting in a Grand Slam final since the 2014 French Open on the famous red clay courts of Roland Garros.

Indeed, Nadal has had the advantage over Djokovic in the last three Grand Slam finals contested between the two and you'll have to look back as far as the aforementioned Australian Open of 2012 for the first Grand Slam final win for Djokovic over the Spanish star.

That win saw him complete a hat-trick of consecutive Grand Slam final wins over Nadal, having beaten him in at both the US Open and Wimbledon in 2011.

Nadal leads the overall head-to-head record between the pair in Grand Slam finals with four wins to Djokovic's three.

ROUTE TO THE FINAL: DJOKOVIC

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R1: Djokovic def Mitchell Krueger 6-3, 6-2, 6-2

R2: Djokovic def Jo-Wildried Tsonga 6-3, 7-5, 6-4

R3: Djokovic def Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0

R4: Djokovic def Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-3

QF: Djokovic def Kei Nishikori 6-1, 4-1 (Nishikori retired injured)

SF: Djokovic def Lucas Pouille 6-0, 6-2, 6-2

Also on rt.com Djokovic destroys Pouille to set up mouthwatering Australian Open final against Nadal


ROUTE TO THE FINAL: NADAL

R1: Nadal def James Duckworth 6-4, 6-3, 7-5

R2: Nadal def Matthew Ebden 6-3, 6-2, 6-2

R3: Nadal def Alex de Minaur 6-1, 6-2, 6-4

R4: Nadal def Tomas Berdych 6-0, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4)

QF: Nadal def Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-4, 6-2

SF: Nadal def Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4, 6-0

Also on rt.com ‘Playing like Zeus’: Nadal powers past Greek youngster Tsitsipas to reach Australian Open final


THE ODDS

World number 1 Djokovic is the narrow favorite heading into Sunday's final, with bookies pitching him as an 8/11 shot to win the title in Melbourne. Nadal is the slight outsider, at 11/10.

KEY INFO

Matchup: Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs Rafael Nadal (ESP)

Date: Sunday, January 27

Time: 8:30am GMT

Venue: Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

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