Novak Djokovic vs John Millman - Japan Open - Finals - Preview and Prediction
After a week of awesome action involving a couple of upsets and edge of the seat thrillers, we are all set for the finals of the ATP 500, Japan Open.
World number 1, Novak Djokovic takes on World number 80, John Millman in an interesting match-up today afternoon.
The top seed, Novak has shown tremendous physical power and mental strength after his surprise loss in the US Open this year. Every tennis fan knows about the Serb's comeback spirit but very few would have expected him to reach his peak level so soon after a serious shoulder injury.
World number 15, David Goffin who said that he would challenge Djokovic in the semifinals put up a below-par show as he lost 6-3 6-4. Consistency in ball-striking helped 'Nole' as he had an 87% win percentage of the first serve and no double faults throughout the match.
On the other hand, John Millman has been the marathon man of this tournament. It is inspiring that he has reached the finals of the Japan Open in such a competitive draw after playing 2 qualifying matches.
Millman saved three match points to beat American, Bradley Klahn in the first round of qualifying. The Australian, beat homeboy, Tatsuma Uto in straight sets in the second round of qualifying to enter the main draw of the tournament.
He faced a stiff challenge in the round of 32 against the in-form Adrian Mannarino who had finished as runner-up in the Zhuhai Open. Millman came out on top as he edged past the Frenchman 4-6 6-3 6-4.
The challenge of the two Next-Gen players, South Africa's Lloyd Harris, and Japan's Taro Daniel were quelled by Millman as he conceded just nine games to storm into the semifinals.
The big-serving Reilly Opelka had hit 51 aces in his straight-set wins over Taylor Fritz, Gilles Simon, and Yasutama Uchiyama. But, the American found it tough right from the start as Millman won 6-3 7-6.
“Moments like these, battling your way and getting through to the final of an ATP 500, they’re moments that you’ll remember and they’re the ones that people ask you about when you’re away from tennis and for me, that’s why you work hard, “From the very start you’re just a little kid that has a dream to play tennis in the biggest cities in the world. I’m lucky to have done that, but I’m not done yet and hopefully, I can create a few more moments at the back end of my career.”, said Millman relishing the big moments and special opportunities in his professional tennis career.
Novak is really tough. He’s obviously one of the greatest players to have played this sport, in my opinion, in the history of the game. He’s racked up so many titles, so many victories, and he’s just an incredibly tough player,”. “But I’m in the final, I’ve had to go through qualifies, I’ve had to play many matches to get here. I really do feel as if I’m deserving of my spot. I hope to bring my best tennis, a physical brand of tennis, and really just give it all just for one more match.”, opined Millman as he promised to give his best against Djokovic in the finals.
Millman would have to take some inspiration from his stunning four-set win against Roger Federer in the US Open 2018 if he wants to give a good challenge to Novak.
Five Key Insights for the match
- Djokovic will be going for his 76th ATP-tour title while Millman would look to clinch his maiden title
- Djokovic leads the head to head 2-0 against Millman
- Djokovic has not lost a set yet in the tournament
- Millman has played six matches and 14 sets in the last eight days
- The number 10, is critical for Djokovic as well as for Millman. The Serb will look to win a title on a debut tournament for the 10th time. Whereas, the Australian will be looking to become the lowest-ranked player to win an ATP 500 tournament in 10 years.
Djokovic will look to continue his excellent work as he tries to reduce the gap with his greatest rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Millman would look to create history as he plays one of the most important matches of his career.
A physical battle with brilliant baseline exchanges await the fans.
Prediction - Novak Djokovic to win in three sets
Cover Image Credits - Getty Images