Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will have a competitive, physical Australian Open final. No one would be shocked if Nadal wins the day. He is a 10-time Grand Slam titlist and arguably the best tennis player alive (yes, I know many of you love Roger Federer, but Nadal is 18-9 against him lifetime and beat him again this week, so that is definitely a debate worth having).
But there is no doubting that Djokovic looks like the better bet right now. He has played a nearly flawless tournament, his only sign of trouble was being down two sets to one against Andy Murray. By contrast, Nadal has struggled through his matches and, while he has won all six, has not looked dominant in any of them.
Djokovic also looks healthier. Nadal is always fit and, healthy or not, he will put up a fight. But he is struggling with several nagging injuries and, as the match drags on, they may rear their ugly heads.
Most important, Djokovic has dominated Nadal recently and is the better hard-court player. Although Nadal holds a 16-13 edge in their rivalry, Djokovic has beaten him six consecutive times stretching back to 2010. He also holds a 10-5 edge on hard courts and the Australian Open is his favorite Grand Slam tournament.
Rafael Nadal will eventually break his losing streak against Djokovic. It just will not be in the Australian Open final.