It is the irresistible force versus the immovable object as Daniil Medvedev tries to end Novak Djokovic’s utter domination of Melbourne Park.
Medvedev is riding a 20-match winning streak stretching back to October, while Djokovic is unbeaten in his past 26 outings in Australia and has reigned supreme in all eight of his previous Australian Open finals.
But something has to give in Sunday’s grand-slam showdown that even the bookmakers can barely split.
Despite owning 17 major titles to Medvedev’s none, Djokovic is only a slight favourite and knows he faces an almighty test against the rampaging Russian.
In sweeping to titles in Paris, the World Tour Finals and helping Russia to the ATP Cup, Medvedev has taken down every member of the top 10 except for the sidelined Roger Federer.
“You have to expect that you’re going to play the finals against one of the best players in the world,” Djokovic said.
“To win one of the greatest titles in the world, you’ve got to be the best. I will make sure I’m ready for that.
“Daniil Medvedev is the player to beat. He’s on a big winning streak. He ended out the season in the best possible fashion.
“I mean, winning quite comfortably actually against top players, against myself in straight sets in London, and he just has improved a lot.”
Djokovic himself has won 11 straight matches against top-10 rivals, but the super Serb can no longer find fault in Medvedev’s supreme all-court game.
“He has a big serve. For a tall guy, he moves extremely well,” the world No.1 said.
“Forehand maybe was his weaker shot, but he has improved that as well. Backhand is as good as it gets.
“He’s so solid. He doesn’t give you much. But he’s not afraid nowadays to attack and get to the net and take it to his opponents.
“He’s just so solid. I heard Jim Courier calling him a master chess player because of the way he tactically positions himself on the court, and it’s true.
“He’s definitely a very smart tennis player.”
At 25 years and 10 days old, Medvedev is the youngest Australian Open men’s singles finalist since Djokovic himself in 2012, and is bidding to become the youngest men’s major winner since the Serb claimed his third title in Melbourne that year.
The world No.4 is up for the challenge.
“I like to play against Novak. We have, since the first one when I was ranked 60, we had always tough matches physically, mentally,” said Medvedev, who trails Djokovic 4-3 head-to-head.
“He’s one of the greatest tennis players in the history of tennis, so playing the final against him is superb. I’m really happy about it. Let’s see what happens on Sunday.
“He’s the favourite because he didn’t lose. In eight occasions that he was here in the semis, he won the tournament.
“Me? I’m not an outsider, but I’m the challenger, the guy that challenge the guy who was eight times in the final and won eight times. And I’m happy about it.
“When I say no pressure, for sure when we get out there we both feel pressure. I want to win my first one. He wants to win No.18.
“But, if we talk in general, well, I have nothing to lose to be honest.”