Novak Djokovic has compiled an unmatched record of achievement at the Australian Open, at age 36 he’s two wins away from lifting back to back titles in Melbourne Park, standing in his way is Italy’s Jannik Sinner, a 22 year old who remains on the cusp of his first ever Grand Slam final but has yet to breakthrough. Will this be the moment for Sinner to dethrone the champion? Our panelists offer their predictions.

Novak Djokovic vs Jannik Sinner

Jordan Reynolds: Some feel this is Sinner’s time to breakthrough and win a Grand Slam. This is his chance to prove it. Defeating Djokovic at the Australian Open has been the most difficult challenge in tennis in recent years. Yet, I am backing the Italian to get the biggest win of his career. He has been flawless so far, and mentally, I think he is ready now to stand up to the challenge of a big occasion like this. It is likely to be close, and a Djokovic win is obviously possible. But I am backing Sinner’s powerful game to do it. Sinner in 4

Jack Edward: Sinner’s improvements are substantial. The way he’s hitting the ball, his run to the semifinals without dropping a set doesn’t even feel too surprising. This is the real test though—a best of five, in Australia against Novak Djokovic. For all the improvements, this is a different beast. He’s up against an abundance of experience that won’t give him any breathing room. It’ll be competitive but there’s no way Djokovic lets this opportunity slip. Djokovic in 4

Steen Kirby: In Grand Slams, Djokovic has dispatched the upstart Sinner twice, both were matchups at Wimbledon, Sinner leads the last 3 meetings 2-1 though and they all took place at the end of last season. Djokovic has had, by his lofty standards, a relatively pedestrian tournament so far, rather than dominating he’s dropped sets in three of five matches, even if he wasn’t at serious risk of defeat. Sinner has yet to drop a set and punctured the chances of Andrey Rublev in the quarterfinals with relative ease. Djokovic is the greatest player that men’s tennis has ever seen, but at age 36, even the greatest typically begin to slow down and have cracks in their armor, Sinner has the ability to win this match, the question will be his mental fortitude as he has knocked on the door in situations like this before but has yet to reach a slam final. I expect Sinner to push Djokovic to his limits given the arsenal he brings to the court, but ultimately the Serbian superstar still has more titles ahead. Djokovic in 5

Yesh Ginsburg: Jannik Sinner looks like one of the few who can challenge Novak Djokovic. He has the game and the power to keep Djokovic off the baseline, and he’s had success against the World #1 in the past. But can he do it, consistently, for over four hours on the biggest of stages? I’m not sure. Djokovic in 4

Main Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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