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Australian Open 2020 Men's singles preview, prediction: Will the Big Three dominate again?

With the start of a new decade, will the story remain the same or will 2020 witness a new grand slam winner at Melbourne Park?

Aratrick Mondal Aratrick Mondal
New Delhi Published on: January 18, 2020 8:42 IST
Will the Big Three dominate again?
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES

Will the Big Three dominate again?

The story has been the same for every grand slam that has come across over the last 15 years. The Big Three tend to dominate with either of Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer winning the title which includes winning the last 12 majors since 2016. But with the start of a new decade, will the story remain the same or will 2020 witness a new grand slam winner at Melbourne Park?

FIRST QUARTER:

Nadal stands as the strongest possibility of emerging as the semifinalist from the first quarter having capped off a sensational 2019. He was also the runners-up in Melbourne last year before losing to Djokovic in one of their most lopsided rivalry clash in a majors clash. Nadal heads into the contest on the back of a Davis Cup win for Spain before leading his country into the inaugural final of the ATP Cup. But he incurred two defeats en route - against David Goffin and Djokovic - although it is unlikely to hurt his campaign in the year's first grand slam. He will begin his campaign against Bolivia's Hugo Dellien and has the possibility of only two defining matches - against Russia's Karen Khachanov in the round of 16 and against Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals. 

Others to watch out for: Nick Kyrgios has been in good touch from what was witnessed at the ATP Cup, while Khachanov is another player to watch out for. Gael Monfils, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Taylor Fritz are the remaining notable mentions. 

Semifinalist: Nadal.

SECOND QUARTER:

The second quarter offers the opportunity for the likes of Gen Next to rise up and challenge the Big Three. The quarter comprises likes of Daniil Medvedev, Goffin, Andrey Rublev and Alexandre Zverev. But Medvedev seems the strongest option of the lot, especially after his impressive American summer in 2019 and showed glimpses of his ability in the ATP Cup as well. He, in fact, will have to go through a tough road to make his way to the semis. The lanky Russian will begin his campaign against Frances Tiafoe, who had reached the quarterfinal last year and has the possibility of facing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round, former grand slam winner Stan Wawrinka in the round of 16 and Zverev in the quarters. 

Others to watch out for: Zverev, of course, along with Goffin, who had defeated Nadal recently. Rublev is also a good possibility. 

Semifinalist: Medvedev. 

THIRD QUARTER: 

Over the last few majors, there has been a question that has been slowly taking shape - Can Federer add another grand slam to his tally of 20? He last won a title in 2018 Australian Open by defeating Marin Cilic in the final. Since then, he reached a grand slam final only once - in Wimbledon 2019 - where he lost to Djokovic in a five-set thriller. Despite the results, the possibility of Federer not being a semifinalist or even a potential winner in Melbourne cannot be ruled out. He will begin his campaign against Steve Johnson and may run into Matteo Berrettini in quarters.

Others to watch out for: Berrettini and Denis Shapovalov, who has a possible Federer clash lined up for the round of 16. 

Semifinalist: Federer.

FOURTH QUARTER:

Djokovic, with any doubt. He has the most number of trophies at the Melbourne Park (seven) with a 68-8 record in Australian Open. The Serb made an impressive start to 2020 having led his country to a title victory in the inaugural ATP Cup with a 7-0 record in the singles matches which includes a straight-set win against Nadal. Djokovic looks set for extending his grand slam tally forward with an unprecedented eighth in Australian Open and 17th major overall. He will begin his campaign against Jan-Lennard Struff and might face Diego Schwartzman in the round of 16 and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarters. 

Others to watch out for: Tsitsipas, who capped of 2019 with the ATP Tour title. Roberto Bautista Agut is also a player to watch out for who won all the seven matches he played in ATP Cup 2020. 

Semifinalist: Djokovic.

SEMIFINAL RESULTS:

Nadal is most likely to set up another blockbuster grand slam match with Medvedev, but the Spaniard is expected to emerge victorious again. But the match to watch out for in the round will be the clash between Djokovic and Federer, their first since the Wimbledon final. The Serb is expected to win the match. 

WINNER PREDICTION:

Djokovic beats Nadal

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