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The Pick: Daniil Medvedev v. Vasek Pospisil, Australian Open Round 1
The Russian is in the midst of a 14-match win streak dating back to the Paris Masters, but expect Pospisil to keep this one close.
Published Feb 08, 2021
Daniil Medvedev is currently riding a 14-match win streak dating back to his triumph at the Paris Masters last November. Of his 14 wins, nine have come against opponents ranked inside the Top 10. It appears, like Bianca Andreescu in 2019, that he’s forgotten how to lose.
But no matter his form or confidence level, he was not pleased to see Vasek Pospisil waiting for him in the first round.
Since transitioning to hard courts after an unsuccessful clay season, Medvedev has only lost to Reilly Opelka and Kevin Anderson. Both these players, much like Pospisil, cover the net extraordinarily well and can render opponents helpless on a great serving day. They've played three times, with Medvedev winning twice.
Medvedev defeated Pospisil 7-6 (7), 7-5 at the 2019 Shanghai Masters, but was so frustrated he destroyed a racquet during the match. Pospisil defeated him in their next encounter last year in Rotterdam 6-4, 6-3, and very nearly beat him again in Vienna, ultimately falling 6-4, 3-6, 2-6.
Medvedev loves inviting opponents into net, but few players cover the net and volley as crisply as Pospisil.
It’d be in the Russian’s best interest to maintain some level of point control. In Vienna, he realized that his best defense is good offense, and kept Pospisil on the move. Below, Pospisil was visibly exhausted after a lengthy exchange.
Pospisil matches up with Medvedev as well as anyone can hope to. Look for him to chip his backhand short and crosscourt when under pressure on his backhand side. This play not only forces Medvedev to move forward, but will open up the court to his slightly weaker forehand wing.
According to the oddsmakers, Medvedev is a massive -2500 favorite and projected to win by at least nine total games. Medvedev should find a way to win, but on the extremely quick courts at Melbourne Park, predicting a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, victory seems a tad disrespectful towards the Canadian.
Expect Medvedev to prevail, but not by a nine-game margin. Pospisil has covered the spread in all three of their prior meetings and should do the same today.
The Pick: Daniil Medvedev to win, Vasek Pospisil +9 games