Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal preview, viewing info and more

1088260928.jpg.0 - Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal preview, viewing info and more

Djokovic and Nadal will battle once again in the final of a Grand Slam tournament, as they shoot for the 2019 Australian Open title.

One of the greatest rivalries in tennis history will get another chapter added to it on Sunday, when Novak Djokovic faces Rafael Nadal in the final of the 2019 Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year. The final will be broadcast on ESPN beginning at 3:30 a.m. ET (live streaming via WatchESPN).

The match will be played on Sunday evening in Melbourne, but it will be the early morning in the United States, as the eastern time zone is 16 hours behind where the matches are being played. It’s one of their less-familiar meeting places as they’ve only faced each other at the Australian Open once before, with Djokovic winning.

But the rivalry goes so much deeper than that. It’s one of the most active rivalries all time, with the two having faced each other a total of 52 times. Djokovic leads the series, 27-25, including an 18-7 mark on hard courts (which is the surface of the Australian Open), compated to Nadal’s 16-7 mark on clay courts (the two are tied on grass courts at 2-2).

They played each other twice in 2018, with Djokovic winning in the Wimbledon semifinal in five sets, while Nadal took their semifinal match at the Rome Masters, a clay court. In their history, there was a period where Djokovic won 11 of 12 matches, from 2013 to 2016.

Djokovic is the top seed, while Nadal is the second seed. Djokovic is coming off a dominant straight-sets victory over Lucas Pouille in the semifinal, 6-0, 6-2, 6-2. Nadal is coming off an even more impressive win over the surging Stefanos Tsitsipas in his semifinal, 6-2, 6-4, 6-0.

Below, you can see each player’s route to the final.

Djokovic’s route to the final:

def. Mitchell Krueger, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
def. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4
def. Denis Shapovalov, 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0
def. Daniil Medvedev, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3
def. Kei Nishikori, (6-1, 4-1, ret.)
def. Lucas Pouille, 6-0, 6-2, 6-2

Interestingly, the only players to push Djokovic to four sets are Shapovalov, 22, and Medvedev, 19. They’re both among the top up-and-coming tennis players in the world, and both pushed Djokovic to some extent. However, the Serb handled them, and Pouille stood no chance in the semifinals. Djokovic is in top form.

Nadal’s route to the final:

def. James Duckworth, 6-3, 6-3, 7-5
def. Matthew Ebden, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
def. Alex de Minaur, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4
def. Tomas Berdych, 6-0, 6-1, 7-6(4)
def. Frances Tiafoe, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
def. Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-2, 6-4, 6-0

Nadal was not pushed to four sets at all in this tournament, but he also had a slightly easier draw until he came to Tsitsipas in the semifinal. When greeted with that tall task, he responded just as dominantly as Djokovic did against Pouille. Nadal may never be fully 100 percent healthy again, but he sure has looked good.

Djokovic, 31, has six Australian Open titles, his last coming in 2016. He’s also won the French Open once, Wimbledon four times and the US Open three times, the latter two of which he won last year.

Nadal, 32, has won the Australian Open just once, in 2009, while he has taken the French Open 11 times, including last year. He’s won Wimbledon twice and the US Open three times.

Below is all the viewing information to follow the action on Sunday.

Time, TV, and streaming info

  • Date: Sunday, Jan. 27
  • Time: 3:30 am. ET
  • Location: Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia
  • TV: ESPN
  • Streaming: WatchESPN

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