Photo: Australian Open

Novak Djokovic dismantles Daniil Medvedev, claims ninth Australian Open crown

Utterly dominant. That’s the only way to describe Novak Djokovic’s game in the 2021 Australian Open final. Sure, the Serbian hasn’t had it all his own way in Melbourne with injury issues and other setbacks – but now, in hindsight, they only serve to underscore the incredible achievement of clinching a ninth title at Rod Laver Arena.

With this win, the four-time National Bank Open presented by Rogers champion’s tally of 18 Grand Slam titles means he’s now just two behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s 20. Who’s to say that gap won’t close even further over the course of 2021?

And all this coming against an on-fire Daniil Medvedev, hot on the heels of a 20-match winning streak including victories over fellow Top 10 players Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.

In the final itself, in front of an eager Melbourne crowd, Djokovic’s dismantling of Medvedev began with a 7-5 win in the first set before back-to-back 6-2 victories in the second and third sealed the championship. Medvedev’s total of 30 unforced errors was nearly double that of Novak’s (17), and even though he crafted more winners than the Serb (24 to 20) it just wasn’t to be the Russian’s day.

To be fair, it hasn’t been anyone’s day against Djokovic on the Australian Open’s hard courts. In fact, the 33-year-old is a stunning 18-0 in semi-finals and finals in Melbourne. This title ensures he will remain World No. 1 until at least March 8.

Naomi Osaka maintains perfect record in Slam finals, captures title at Australian Open

Four for four. Naomi Osaka captured her fourth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open this past weekend. And while that is impressive on its own, she also became only the third player in more than a half century to win the title in each of her first four Grand Slam final matches.

“She’s breaking away from the pack,” said Chris Evert from the ESPN broadcast booth. “Something’s changing. Something is shifting now. It’s all about Naomi.”

She was right, it was all about Osaka in the women’s final on Saturday. Up against a very confident Jennifer Brady, who had put on strong performances throughout the tournament, Osaka needed just over an hour to capture the crown with a 6-4, 6-3 victory.

And although she fully enjoyed the moment, the 23-year-old recognized that this was a tournament like no other.

“Just to have this energy, it really means a lot,” stated Osaka after her win. “Thank you so much for coming. I feel like playing a Grand Slam right now is a super privilege. And it’s something that I won’t take for granted.”

In fact, there were many highs and lows during the course of the first Grand Slam of 2021. From quarantines to positive tests and emergency lockdowns, they experienced it all.

And while there is much uncertainty around how the rest of the season will unfold, one thing is certain… Osaka has established herself as the one to beat.