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Novak Djokovic is aiming for another Australian title on Sunday
  1. Tennis
  2. Australian Open

Australian Open: The journey to the Men's final

The men's singles competition at this year's Australian Open reaches its climax on Sunday as veteran Novak Djokovic locks horns with Stefanos Tsitsipas, who goes in search of his first Grand Slam title.

Both players have played some brilliant tennis throughout the tournament but how did they both reach the final?

Here is a look at their respective routes through the men's draw at this year's Australian Open.

WhatStefanos Tsitsipas v Novak Djokovic
WhereMelbourne Park, Melbourne
When19:30, Sunday 29th January 2023
How to watchNine Network
OddsStefanos Tsitsipas 19/5, Novak Djokovic 1/5

Injury threatened to hold Djokovic back

Djokovic missed the 2021 Australian Open but enjoyed decent preparations for this year's iteration of the Grand Slam, having won the Adelaide International earlier this month.

That set up the Serbian well and he started his pursuit of a record-extending 10th Australian Open title with a 6-3 6-4 6-0 win over Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena in the first round.

But coming into the major, one of the biggest talking points was surrounding the condition of Djokovic's left leg and subsequently his overall fitness.

This proved to be a problem for Djokovic in the second and third rounds of this year's Australian Open as he required medical timeouts in matches with Enzo Couacaud and big-hitting Grigor Dimitrov.

Djokovic came under criticism for that with some even accusing the 35-year-old of faking injury at points throughout the tournament, but he did his best to shut out the noise and won both of those matches, although he dropped his first set against unseeded Frenchman Couacaud.

De Minaur thrashing proved a turning point for nine-time champion

Having had his thigh strapped in practice in the earlier rounds of the Australian Open, there were at one stage concerns that Djokovic may fail to make it through the tournament.

But those doubts were swiftly swept aside in the next two rounds.

In the fourth round, Djokovic made light work of home talent and 22nd seed Alex De Minaur, losing only five games in a 6-2 6-1 6-2 dismantling.

And, as Djokovic aimed to spend as little time on court as possible to help his recovery, he also made fifth seed Andrey Rublev look amateurish in the quarter-finals, romping to a 6-1 6-2 6-4 win.

Few anticipated many issues for Djokovic in his semi-final encounter with Tommy Paul, who had defied expectations to reach the last four.

And while it proved to be an easy enough win for Djokovic in the end, he showed vulnerability in the opening set.

Djokovic had led the first set 5-1 but took another half an hour to close it out with his focus having taken a hit after a dispute with umpire Damien Dumusois regarding when he was starting the 25-second shot clock.

Paul pushed Djokovic in that first set but then capitulated and Djokovic won 7-5 6-1 6-2 in the end to make the final.

Tsitsipas looked flawless in early rounds

Tsitsipas did not feature in warm-up events such as the Adelaide International in the build-up to this year's Australian Open but he did play a part for Greece in the inaugural edition of the United Cup Down Under.

And there were no signs of rustiness from the Greek in the opening matches of this year's Australian Open either as he fired 17 aces in a 6-4 6-4 7-6 defeat of Quentin Halys in the first round.

He then lost only five games in a 6-3 6-0 6-2 undoing of Australian Rinky Hijikata in the second round, before the third seed recorded yet another straight-sets win over tricky Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor in the third round.

Tsitsipas won the affection of the Melbourne crowds after that Griekspoor triumph, teasing at a move to the Australian city in the near future in his post-match interview.

Sinner thriller was key in Tsitsipas gaining confidence

Things got a little tougher for Tsitsipas in the fourth round, though, as 15th seed Jannik Sinner, who has reached the quarter-finals of all four Grand Slams in his career, took him to five sets.

It was particularly frustrating for Tsitsipas given he had a 2-0 lead in the match at one stage but he had to dig deep to pull off a 6-4 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-3 win in the end, snapping his streak of straight-set wins ahead of the quarter-finals.

Another potential banana skin awaited the Greek in the last eight in the form of Jiri Lehecka, who had already dumped out Cameron Norrie and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

It promised to be a tough match but Tsitsipas once again held his nerve to win 3-0.

Tsitsipas had reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in three of the previous four seasons coming into this year's tournament but had never made the final.

But that all changed on Friday as he got the better of 18th seed Karen Khachanov in four sets to book his place in only his second ever Grand Slam final.

Tsitsipas is 19/5 in the To Win Match market, while punters can back Djokovic at 1/5.

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