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If you listened to our own Pamela Maldonado heading into the tournament, you could be holding a Medvedev futures ticket.. luckily for you, she is back to preview the final match as well. Will Rafael Nadal come away with the most grand slam titles ever or will Daniil Medvedev be our new world #1?
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PAM MALDONADO: Welcome to the Yahoo! Sportsbook Daily. It is Friday, January 28. I'm Pam Maldonado, and I will be your gambling guide to preview the men's Australian Open final. This is a huge match-up between 20-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal, a +160 underdog, against world number two Daniil Medvedev, a -190 favorite.
Now, before I get into the match let's talk about what exactly is at stake. For one, if Nadal wins this match, he will break the all-time Grand Slam record, surpassing both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, the current world number one, for the most Grand Slam titles of 21. Even more, it would put Nadal in a prime position to extend that lead even further, because you know what the next major is? The French Open. And that is in May, and that is absolutely Nadal's best surface, where he has won 13 titles.
Now, we saw Federer go for 21 at Wimbledon. He did not get it. We saw Djokovic go for 21 at the US Open. He did not get it. Instead, we saw Medvedev put a stop to both title 21 and the calendar slam, defeating Djoker in straight sets. And now we get to see Nadal go for 21.
For two, the next big thing that we will see is if Medvedev wins, then he will surpass Djokovic to overtake the title of world number one. Now this is a huge deal because Djokovic has been world number one for a men's record, I'ma say this slow, for a record of 357 weeks across his career. That is nearly seven years. Either way history will be made.
So now let's get back to the match-up. This will be Nadal's sixth Australian Open final. The only Australian Open title a 35-year-old Nadal has won was back in 2009. The last time that these two players have faced, Medvedev and Nadal, the Spaniard won his 18th and last hard court major at the 2019 US Open, beating Medvedev in a five-set thriller. Medvedev has certainly improved as a player now, because he's world number two.
Medvedev has now made back-to-back Australian Open finals and each of the last three major finals on hard court. To get here, Medvedev defeated the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in 2 and 1/2 hours, which definitely matters and comes into play because he was coming off a five-hour match against Canadian Felix Auger Aliassime. And now about to face a toro in Nadal. Right now, it is fair to say that Medvedev is not only in the best form of his career, but also the best hard court player on tour right now.
Nadal is a fantastic comeback story, reaching this point back from injury. But this is Medvedev's wheelhouse, playing the long, grueling, baseline game and wear your opponent down. Nadal looked absolutely so dominant against Matteo Berrettini in the semi-final, but that is because Nadal's lefty forehand is perfectly suited to attack Berrettini's weak backhand. Rafa will not have the same success against a 6 foot 6 Medvedev.
Medvedev should win his second Grand Slam title on Sunday. -190 is a heavy juice though, and I understand. If you watched my Australian Open preview pre-tournament, or if you listen to the Yahoo! Sportsbook podcast preview, then you are sitting nice holding a Medvedev +165 or +150 features on Medvedev to win. Now, if you're not, my best bet officially would be pair a Medvedev moneyline with the Chiefs moneyline to win the AFC Championship at -105 odds.
Backing Medvedev on the sets spread, minus 1 and 1/2 sets, a.k.a. Medvedev to win in four sets or better, and -115 is pretty enticing, but you absolutely cannot count out Nadal to make this a fight, the absolute bull that he is. Medvedev minus 1 and 1/2 set spread at -115 is a high risk. Medvedev on the money line is the safer but more expensive option. So instead, Medvedev moneyline plus the Chiefs moneyline is pretty yummy.
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