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Nadal v Medvedev: a tale of two groundstrokes

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Rafael Nadal has powered into the AO final thanks to taking charge of a high percentage of points with his forehand.
Daniil Medvedev, his final opponent, has fired a men's tournament-high 65 backhand winners this fortnight in Melbourne.
Those weapons will come up against one another in Sunday night's decider at AO 2022, where Nadal is targeting a men's record 21st major singles title while Medvedev aims to become the first male in the Open Era to win his second Slam at the very next major following his first.

Nadal has made a career out of hooking his viciously top-spun forehand into right-handed opponents' backhands – especially those with a single-handed stroke.
Against Medvedev, that tactic may prove less effective, given how confident the Russian is on that wing, and the success he has enjoyed with that double-handed stroke throughout six wins so far.

Still, Nadal's forehand still could prove a decisive factor in Sunday night's final, given how aggressive he has been with it.

Rafael Nadal

That has been helped by bigger serving; Nadal is powering both first and second serves into the box, on average, approximately 10km/h faster than he was at AO 2021.
And behind his serve, on the very next shot in rallies, Nadal is hitting a forehand more than 80 per cent of the time – an incredibly high ratio from his dominant wing.
Medvedev is adopting this tactic – serve plus forehand – only 47 per cent of the time.

Daniil Medvedev

Their forehands are different creatures. Not only is Nadal generating more average speed on his – 122.2km/h, compared with 120.8km/h – but he is also imparting nearly 1000 revolutions per minute (RPMs) on the ball more than the world No.2, whose stroke is much flatter.
Bigger serving and forehand dominance are a sign of Nadal's increased commitment to aggression at AO 2022, in stark contrast to Medvedev.

You can also see it on the return: Medvedev is dropping back more than two metres behind the baseline to receive almost all first- and second-serve returns.

Nadal, by contrast, is doing that slightly less on the first serve (85 per cent of the time) and only half the time on second serves as he pushes closer to the baseline to receive.
Medvedev is willing to cede plenty of court to his opponents and, as a result, has registered 126 sprints throughout AO 2022 – more than any other male player.
As he happily extends contests while Nadal seeks to shorten them, this could make for the most fascinating of Grand Slam final battles.