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The Big 3’s reign continues

MELBOURNE (Axios): Novak Djokovic beat Daniil Medvedev, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2, to keep his Australian Open dominance intact — nine finals, nine championships.

Why it matters: Djokovic now has 18 Grand Slam singles titles, two away from the men’s record held by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Only Nadal has won a single Slam more often (13x at Roland-Garros).

The big picture: The Big 3 have won 58 of the last 70 Grand Slams — and 15 of the last 16. Since Federer’s first Slam in 2003, they’ve lost back-to-back titles just once (2016 Wimbledon and U.S. Open).

Looking ahead: Djokovic, 33, has spent his career in the shadow of Federer, 39, and Nadal, 34, as the de facto bronze medalist on the all-time podium.

And yet, considering he’s the youngest and currently the most dominant (5-0 in his last five Australian Opens and Wimbledons), he seems destined to win the most Grand Slams of the three.

The bottom line: The Big 3 are a gift from the sports gods. How often do we get to watch a G.O.A.T. debate play out in real-time like this?

Naomi Osaka cruised past Jennifer Brady to win her fourth Grand Slam, adding to the 2018 and 2020 U.S. Opens, plus her 2019 Australia title. The 23-year-old sensation has yet to lose a major final.

“We talk about the depth of women’s tennis … But something is shifting now, and it’s all about Naomi. … She’s breaking away from the pack.”

— Chris Evert