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2022 Australian Open
(Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

2022 Australian Open Finals Preview

2022 Australian Open
(Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

2022 Australian Open Finals Preview

The 2022 Australian Open has finally reached the final after three weeks’ worth of action. First, on Saturday, January 29, in the women’s final Australian hero and number one seed Ashleigh Barty is going against the 27th seeded player Danielle Collins. Barty looks to be the first Australian to win the Australian Open in over 40 years while Collins has the chance to win the first major of her career. On Sunday, January 30, the men’s final will take place with the number two seed Daniil Medvedev going against the six seed Rafael Nadal. Medvedev will be attempting to improve on his second-place finish in last year’s Australian Open, while Nadal enters one win away from history. 

Women’s Singles Final: (1) Ashleigh Barty vs (27) Danielle Collins

There has not been a better player in the 2022 Australian Open than the women’s number one seed Ashleigh Barty. Barty has stormed through the tournament without losing a single set and only having lost 21 total games in her six matches so far. Most recently beating American, Madison Keys 6-1, 6-3.

This is the third career Grand Slam singles final for Barty. She had success in both of her previous appearances winning the French Open title in 2019 and winning the Wimbledon title in 2021. Prior to the 2022 Australian Open, the farthest Barty had gone in her home tournament was the semifinals where she lost in straight sets 7-6 (8-6), 7-5 to eventual 2020 winner Sofia Kenin. Barty was the number one ranked player that year as well.

Standing across the net from her will by Florida native Danielle Collins. Collins has had a slightly more difficult path to the final having to fight back from one set down twice. First, in the third round, Collins lost the first set to Clara Tauson 6-4 before winning the following two sets 6-4 and 7-5. Then in the fourth round, Collins went down one set to the number 19 seed Elise Mertens before rallying back to win the next two. Collins’s most comfortable win came in her semifinal match with seventh-ranked Iga Świątek, who she beat 6-4, 6-1.

When she steps on the court Saturday it will be the first time she has ever played in a Grand Slam final, bettering her lone semifinal appearance at the 2019 Australian Open. In that semifinal, she lost to the eighth seed and eventual runner-up Petra Kvitová. A win against Barty would make Collins the second American lady to win the Australian Open in the last three years.

For Barty, this is the fourth straight match in which she has faced an American player having easily disposed of Amanda Anisimova in the fourth round, 21st seed Jessica Pegula in the quarterfinals, and Keys in the semifinals. This is also the fifth time Barty and Collins will play each other with Barty having a 3-1 record. However, the last time the two met Collins came out victorious with a straight-sets victory in another tournament in Australia in February of 2021.

Another interesting storyline for Barty in this match is that with a win she will become the first Australian man or woman to win the Australian Open since Chris O’Neil won the women’s singles title in 1978. Similar to Barty, O’Neil played against an American, Betsy Nagelsen, in the final and beat her in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 (7-3). A win for Barty would end a 44-year slump for Australians playing down under.

The 2022 Australian Open Women’s Singles final is taking place at Rod Laver Arena Saturday, January 29th, at 3:30 AM ET on ESPN.

Prediction

Barty seems destined to win the 2022 Australian Open Women’s Singles title and will continue to roll to that, beating Collins in straight sets.

Men’s Singles Final (6) Rafael Nadal vs (2) Daniil Medvedev

Rafael Nadal currently sits with 20 Grand Slam titles next to his name, tying him with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the most Grand Slam titles of all time. A win against Russian Daniil Medvedev in the 2022 Australian Open Men’s Singles Final would give Nadal sole possession of first place with 21 titles.

The 35-year-old Spaniard has turned back the clock this year. This comes as a surprise since he missed Wimbledon, the Olympics, and the U.S. Open last year due to a foot injury. Nadal’s return to play has been nothing but shocking. This is in part to how convincingly Nadal has seemed to storm right through the field with wins over three ranked opponents, including the number seven seed, Matteo Berrettini, in the semifinals. But Nadal did come into the 2022 Australian Open with some momentum after he won a warm-up tournament in Melbourne, Australia without dropping a single set. 

This is Nadal’s sixth appearance in the Australian Open final. However, he only has one win to his name while having lost his previous four Australian Open finals appearances. The Australian Open has been Nadal’s least successful Grand Slam and the only one he has only won once. His only win in Melbourne came in 2009 when he beat Roger Federer in a five-set thriller.

Opposing him for the fifth time and only second in a major tournament is Daniil Medvedev. Medvedev is leading the new generation in men’s tennis as Federer (40), Nadal (35), and Djokovic (34) are all approaching the end of their careers. The 25-year-old Russian came just short of winning his first Grand Slam title a year ago when he lost to Djokovic in straight sets 7-5, 6-2, 6-2. 

Djokovic was not competing in this year’s Australian Open as the three-time defending champion had ongoing issues related to his vaccination and visa status. By being unable to compete, Djokovic has opened up the chance of a title in an event he has dominated, winning eight of the last eleven titles, to the field. Leading the way is Medvedev who was the favorite to win the 2022 Australian Open coming in and is still a slight betting favorite to win on Sunday.

Medvedev’s path to the final has been anything but smooth sailing. First, he came up against fan-favorite Australian, Nick Kyrgios, in the second round and needed a fourth set to win. Then, in the quarterfinals, Medvedev went down two sets to love against ninth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime. In that match, Medvedev even fended off a match point and clawed back to win 6-7 (4-7), 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-5, 6-4 in what might have been the match of the tournament. In the semifinal, Medvedev drew another one of tennis’s next generation of champions fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in a rematch of the 2021 Australian Open semifinal.

A win over Nadal would give Medvedev his second straight Grand Slam title following a win at the 2021 U.S. Open where he finally knocked off Djokovic in straight sets. With a victory, Medvedev will also become the first Russian to win the Australian Open since Marat Safin did it in 2005.

For Nadal, a win would give him his first major title since the French Open in 2020, the second-longest drought of his storied career.

The 2022 Australian Open Men’s Singles final is happening at 3:30 AM ET Sunday, January 30th from Rod Laver Arena and will be shown live on ESPN.

Prediction

This is going to be a banger with two guys looking very near unbeatable, but one will have to lose and that is going to be Daniil Medvedev. Nadal has been incredible so far in 2022 and will extend his winning streak to 11 to start the year. This is one match not to miss and should go at least four sets, but could very easily go to a fifth.

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