Sinner Surges past Djokovic, Reaches His Maiden Major Final at the Australian Open
Jannik Sinner serves to secure his place in the Australian Open final at Melbourne Park. January 26, 2024. Photo Courtesy: Australian Open.

Fourth seed Jannik Sinner became the first Italian player in tennis history to advance to the Australian Open championship match - his maiden final at a major - ending World No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s title defense on Friday in Melbourne.

Italian Jannik Sinner has taken the first tennis major of the season by storm, making a flawless run to the semifinals at Melbourne Park, where he met 10-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, notching a place in the final on Friday.

The 22-year-old, who reached the last four without dropping a set, knocked out the defending champion 6-1, 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-3 after three hours and 22 minutes at Rod Laver Arena to secure his spot at the Grand Slam championship match, the first of his young career.

Assessing the contest, the Miami Open runner-up outlined: “It was a very, very tough match. I started really well. He missed two sets. I felt like he wasn’t feeling that great on court, so I just tried to keep pushing, and then in the third set, I had match point, and I missed the forehand, but you know, this is tennis. I just tried to be ready for the next set.”

Throughout his run to the last four, Sinner showcased world-class tennis to halt Djokovic’s staggering 33-match winning streak at the AO.

This is one of the worst Grand Slam matches I’ve ever played,” stated the Serbian after an erratic display against his top opponent.

Adding: “The whole tournament I haven’t really played close to my best.

The top seed only won two of his six contests at the major in straight sets, rallying against qualifier Dino Prizmic to open proceedings.

In the second round, he went four to beat home hope Alexei Popyrin, a story that would repeat itself in the quarterfinals to see off American Taylor Fritz and then in the last four, leaving empty-handed.

Semifinals Duty on Friday

The 36-year-old return game was remarkably lacking against Sinner as he failed to force a single break point.

Moreover, he fired 32 winners, committing 54 unforced errors to his rival’s 31 and just 28, respectively.

Congratulations to him, he just played a flawless match,” asserted the 24-time Grand Slam winner.

Sinner’s improvement reflects on the court for everyone to see; his game has evolved, and he is physically stronger, technically wiser, and mentally focused.

He continues to build on an outstanding 2023 season in which the Italian thrived, earning 57 wins, a run of form Italy’s number one racquet has carried to set off 2024 in a league of his own.

And if the player is alone on the court, in the box, a top team, led by Darren Cahill and Simone Vagnozzi, voted Coach of the Year in the 2023 ATP Awards, helps him reach his dreams.

Together, they captured four titles last year, including Sinner’s maiden Masters 1000 trophy in Toronto.

In addition, the San Candido native wrapped up last season on a high in Malaga, Spain, helping his country claim a second Davis Cup Championship over the Netherlands, the first after a forty-seven-year hiatus.

The highest-ranked Italian man of all time at World No. 4 (tied with legendary Adriano Panatta) became the first player to topple Djokovic twice in the same season since Daniil Medvedev in 2019 during the competition, beating Serbia at the team’s event.

On Sunday, he will face off against third seed Medvedev, who fought back from two sets down, earning two tiebreaks in the process to take down Alexander Zverev with a memorable 5-7, 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(5), 6-3 win in a four-hour, 18-minute marathon clash.

The 26-year-old relentless showing allowed him to recover through a pivotal fourth set. After missing a breakpoint opportunity in the eighth game, Medvedev held his nerve to force a dramatic tiebreaker.

The 20-time tour-level titlist double-faulted to handle the German a 5-4 advantage, but then he set level at 5-5, winning the last two points to force a decider.

Moreover, he sentenced an epic comeback, breaking twice en route to seal victory in the fifth set.

I was a little bit lost, but then in the third set, I kept saying to myself, ‘If I lose this match, then I want to be proud of myself’,” he stressed post-match.

In the third set, I felt like I was tired physically. I knew I couldn’t run for 40 shots like in the first set, so I said, ‘Let’s get more aggressive’.

I started to serve better, and then at five-all in the (fourth-set) tiebreak, I got a little lucky - the slice was intentional, but the drop shot (return) with backspin into the wind… was not. Sometimes you get lucky, and today was my day.”

The former US Open champion has spent over 20 hours playing on the Australian hard courts ahead of the championship match, his third appearance at the AO final in the last four years.

Medvedev leads Sinner 6-3 in their series, with the Italian player prevailing in their last three matchups.

A new men’s singles champion will earn the Australian Open crown on Sunday.

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and journalist, passionate about motorsport and tennis.Her articles are published in newspapers and international online publications.

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