Everything you need to know: Jake’s Medvedev vs. Sinner Preview

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When tennis pundits sat down and looked at this year’s Australian Open draw, the majority of them would have thought Novak Djokovic would be playing for his 25th major slam on Sunday.

The Serbian powerhouse has been stupidly dominant in this building, so it’s only natural to predict him to do similar things.

But, not only did he fall short of that historic milestone, he was wiped off the court by Sunday’s finalist and favourite, Jannik Sinner.

If you don’t follow the tour week in, week out, you might not know much about the hard-hitting Italian, but if you’ve got a finger on the ATP pulse throughout the season, his accomplishments are all too familiar.

Sinner won his first title in 2020 and has been circling the world’s top 5 ever since, claiming signature victories on all surfaces at all levels.

He entered the first major of 2024 as third favourite to win it, so if you were surprised to see him in the semi-finals against Djokovic, well that’s probably your fault.

The 22-year-old is arguably the hardest hitter on the tour and it was that power, paired with composure beyond his years, that saw him pass the finish line against Djokovic despite dropping the third-set tiebreaker.

He’s now listed as a $1.40 betting favourite against Daniil Medvedev in his maiden grand-slam final, a quota that I wouldn’t have imagined, but one that makes sense in context.

Sinner has lost one match in four months, and it was against Djokovic at the World Tour Finals.

Since the start of November, the Italian is 13-1 with a hold percentage of 95, and a break clip of of 27.5… if you don’t know what that means… well, he’s playing at an incredible level.

He’s serving like prime Ivo Karlovic and returning like Novak Djokovic.

Rune, Tsitsipas, Medvedev, Djokovic, Rublev, Zverev, De Minaur… all of these men have lost to him.

So again, if you didn’t know who Sinner was before this tournament started, that’s on you.

While the 13-1 run is something to behold, we must understand that maintaining serve at a 95% clip isn’t sustainable.

Sinner has a big serve, but it’s not as good as that figure indicates.

Throughout this competition, he’s saved 26/28 break points, and over the last 52 weeks, Sinner leads the tour in break points saved at 69.5%.

He’s running hot at Melbourne but over the last year he’s generally been white hot.

Another crucial factor that’s well built into the betting market is time spent on court over the last fortnight.

Medvedev’s run to the final has been dramatic, and gruelling. Sinner’s, not so much.

The total time Sinner has spent on the court so far is 884 minutes or 14.7 hours.

Medvedev has spent 1173 minutes on court, good for 19.5 hours.

The discrepancy probably isn’t as dramatic as some are suggesting it is, but Medvedev didn’t finish his five-set thriller against Zverev until after midnight, whereas Sinner had knocked off Novak before dinner time.

I do generally think that fatigue factors are overestimated in finals as the moment is so big and so significant, the best version of a player will usually turn up.

Plus, unlike smaller competitions, players always have a full day to rest.

Having said that, I do believe the lack of time Sinner’s spent playing this week is very substantial as his achilles heel in the last 12 months – and beyond – is related to fitness and his inability to reach this peak level we’ve seen at Melbourne.

For some context, Sinner has retired during a match or withdrawn from a tournament four times in the last year… that’s not nothing.

Medvedev has retired once in the last eight years.

Another thing the data sheet won’t tell you is that he’s had some very iffy outings as well as there always seems to be some sort of physical issue throughout tournaments.

Take the quarter-finals match against Andrey Rublev for example.

Everything was going smoothly until Sinner reached at his mid section in the second set, and when he was down 1-5 in a tiebreaker in that same stanza, he was a $2.01 outsider on BetFair for a fleeting moment.

Think about that… He was up a set and as pre-match $1.20 favourite, and was an UNDERDOG.

That is an indication at what the market knows about Sinner’s propensity to brutally drop off during a match.

Australian fans have been treated to the best version of Sinner, but there is a sluggish and underwhelming version there too, it’s just not reared its head for a while.

Let’s jump to the other side of the net and talk about the charismatic Daniil Medvedev.

The Russian is a five-time grand slam finalist and 2022 US Open champion, and has a hard court pedigree as good as anyone on the tour.

He is extremely unorthodox and almost looks uncoordinated at times, but his defensives abilities are truly world class and his wing span is deadly.

Despite being almost two metres tall, his lateral movement and overall footwork is tremendous, and can often times rally like a Djokovic or Nadal, even though he’s much heavier than them.

His best shot is the two-handed backhand as it can be unbreakable when he is focused.

I don’t think Medvedev played his best tennis up until the semi-final against Zverev, but in the final two sets, he was truly marvellous.

Medvedev has won 67 matches in the last 52 weeks and in his career, has claimed 21 tour-level titles… he’s a machine.

Now, I want to talk about something I haven’t address yet: the history between these two gentleman.

This is also very important from a betting perspective as I’m going to touch on something a little technical in the SP (starting price) profile.

Medvedev leads the H2H 6-3, although Sinner’s claimed the last three, all in razor close fashion.

The most significant thing about these meetings is this: Medvedev has only been an underdog once.

Here are the prices Medvedev has started against the younger Italian:

2020, Marseille, Hard Court: $1.24
2021, Marseille, Hard Court: $1.36
2021, Turin, Hard Court: $1.32
2022, Vienna, Hard Court: $1.53
2023, Rotterdam, Hard Court: $1.57
2023, Miami, Hard Court: $1.78
2023, Beijing, Hard Court: $1.74
2023, Vienna, Hard Court: $1.66
2023, Turin, Hard Court, $2.36

In four meetings throughout 2023, Medvedev’s average starting price was $1.88.

Now, just two months after their most recent meeting, a contest Sinner won in three sets, Medvedev is $3.30 BetFair, in best-of-five format. Is this justified?

Has enough happened throughout a very short time window to justify a plummet in price like this for the Italian? I’m not sure.

Remember, we bet numbers, not players.

It is likely Sinner will win… anyone who can analyse odds versus probability will tell you that.

But, if there’s a valuable discrepancy between probability and price, you have a betting opportunity: I think there’s one with Medvedev.

Based on short, medium and long form data, paired with injury history, mutual meetings and overall grand slam credentials, I can’t have the Russian as big as he is, price wise.

Back in 2019, I won by biggest ever futures wager at the time, betting $1,000 on Medvedev to win Shanghai @ $10, and I was also on him to win his maiden grand slam in 2022 at $5… I’ve been in Medvedev’s corner most of the way.

I have enormous amounts of respect for Sinner and I am terrified of his brutal ball-hitting ability, but Medvedev has the fitness, court craft, and raw defensive ability to wear Sinner down, something he’s done before.

The outdoor hard element certainly favours the Russian as he’s won a tonne of titles without a roof over his head, whereas Sinner is far less accomplished.

I can see Sinner looking better off in the early exchanges, and with fresh legs and lactic acid-free muscles, he might have the advantage, but as they say:

‘Only when the tides goes out can you see who’s been swimming naked.’

Medvedev has been here before. He’s won over five sets at the grand slam level. He’s dragged some of the best in the world into gruelling battles and he knows how to beat Sinner.

I think he can do it for a seventh time on his way to a second major championship.

Suggested Bet:

1 unit Daniil Medvedev to WIN @ 3.5 with BetFair

Over 18s Only (21+ in some jurisdictions). 1 unit = 1% of bankroll. Please enjoy your betting responsibly. Never bet more than you can afford to lose, and do not chase a loss.