WHAT Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal might try to replicate on Sunday at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne was their epic clash in 2012.

That time of times, Djokovic defeated Nadal, prevailing after 5 hours and 53 minutes in a lung-busting five setter to win the Australian Open a sixth time.

Djokovic’s win came after bucking a first-set loss in a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 triumph, making it the longest Grand Slam title match in history.

The Sunday rematch has all the trappings of another classic as both are almost dead-even on win-loss records against each other.

Djokovic enjoys a mere 27-25 lead over Nadal, almost ensuring a Sunday Suspense Theater in the Australian Open final.

Indeed, it is a dream match as the No. 1 seed Djokovic, the Serbian sensation, is seeking a record 7th Aussie Open crown against No. 2 Nadal, the Spanish Armada, who almost missed the season’s opening major on health issues.

Both are desire-driven, madly motivated in their chase of Roger Federer’s record 20 majors.

Presently, Djokovic has 14 Slams and a win would make Nadal stuck at 17 majors.

I’m not really too sure on who to pick, although by my humble reckoning, Nadal could be up, slightly, in this their eighth battle in a Grand Slam final. Nadal must be aching to avenge his 2012 loss to Djokovic.

If I am wrong, Djokovic also deserves it. He won the last Slams in Wimbledon last July and the U.S. Open in September. Just awesome.

ICON. Pangasinan journalism and the national media as well lost a pillar on Friday with the passing of Jun Velasco after a heart attack at 73. He was a correspondent of national dailies for Northern Luzon, including the pre-martial Manila Times, and the Manila Bulletin. He edited many Pangansinan newspapers, including our very own SunStar-Dagupan City. He was the publisher-editor of Capitol News at the time of his death. We lost a good man in Jun, who was also a poet of note and a genuine nationalist thrown in jail by the unlamented Marcos Martial Law era. You will be missed, Jun.