This article is part of our Tennis Picks series.
The Australian Open men's singles final will be played Sunday, with viewers on the American east coast unfortunately having to wake up at -- or stay up until -- 3:30 a.m. to tune in live. Novak Djokovic has looked nigh unstoppable as he marches towards a historic 22nd Grand Slam men's singles title, which would tie Rafael Nadal for the most all time. Stefanos Tsitsipas has pushed Djokovic to the limit in a Grand Slam final before, though, as Tsitsipas had a two-set lead when these two met in the championship match of the 2021 French Open. As if this match needed any additional stakes, the winner will also take over the world No. 1 ranking.
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Men's matches at Grand Slams are best of five sets, requiring greater physical stamina and mental fortitude than typical ATP Tour matches. Djokovic has been especially tough to beat in best-of-five matches over the years, especially at this tournament, but both players have thrived in the conditions of the 2023 Australian Open. A mix of previous hard court results, recent form and stylistic matchups can help predict which of these two finalists will take home the 2023 Australian Open men's singles title.
Novak Djokovic (-475) vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (+350)
Outside of losing a second-set tiebreak to Enzo Couacaud while dealing with a hamstring injury that seems to have become much less of an issue, Djokovic has been razor sharp in this tournament. Couacaud won only three games in the rest of that match, yet his 10 games are still the second-most anybody has managed to take off Djokovic here, behind the 13 Grigor Dimitrov managed to win in a 7-6 (7), 6-3, 6-4 third-round loss. Over the last three matches, when the going is supposed to get tougher, Djokovic has dropped a combined 20 games. If he plays up to his capabilities, it's hard to see any result other than Djokovic capturing his 10th Australian Open title.
Tsitsipas has two wins over Djokovic and both of them have come on outdoor hard courts, so he's beaten this opponent before. Unfortunately for the 24-year-old Athenian, he has lost nine consecutive matches against Djokovic to fall behind 10-2 in their head-to-head. Both of their best-of-five meetings have gone the distance, with Djokovic emerging triumphant in the 2020 French Open semifinal and again at Roland Garros in the 2021 championship match. Tsitsipas is an exquisite mover at 6-foot-4 and will want to take control of points with his forehand. He'll also need a terrific serving performance to have a chance, especially in big moments. Tsitsipas saved 43 of 49 break points in his first five matches with clutch serving, but Karen Khachanov broke him three times on four attempts in the semifinals.
Prediction: Djokovic def. Tsitsipas 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5