Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Friday, January 26, 2024


Jannik Sinner stunned 10-time AO champion Novak Djokovic 6-1, 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-3 snapping the Serbian's 33-match AO win streak to reach his maiden major final.

Photo credit: Darrian Traynor/Getty

No champion shines as brightly as Novak Djokovic in Melbourne.

Today, Jannik Sinner shoved Djokovic into the shadows of obscurity on Rod Laver Arena then pulled the plug on the world No. 1’s electric Australian Open run with calm command.

More: Richard Evans Q&A

Playing with relaxed intensity, Sinner shredded Djokovic 6-1, 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-3 dethroning the defending AO champion to charge into his maiden major final at the Australian Open.

“It was very, very tough match,” Sinner told Hall of Famer Jim Courier afterward. “I started off really well. For two sets I felt he was not feeling that great on court. So I just tried to keep pushing.

“Then in the third set I had match point and I missed the forehand, but this is tennis. I just tried to be ready for the next set which Is started off really well and obviously the atmosphere was so so great to play here. I was looking forward for this match it’s always nice to have this kind of player where you can learn from. I lost last year in the semis at Wimbledon [to Djokovic] so I think I learned a lot from that.

"It’s all part of the process. I’m really happy to share this here with you guys and also with my team.”

The 22-year-old Sinner, who has won nine of his last 10 matches against Top 5-ranked players, will face Daniil Medvedev in Sunday's final.

The third-seeded Medvedev rallied from two sets down to defeat Olympic gold medal champion Alexander Zverev 5-7, 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(5), 6-3 to reach his third Australian Open final.

The lanky Sinner lasered drives turning Happy Slam into horror show for the 10-time champion basically beating Djokovic at his own game.

Stinging drives with menacing intent, Sinner denied the Serbian superstar his shot at a record 25th career Grand Slam crown while making history as the first Italian—man or woman—to advance to an Australian Open singles final.

Sinner stands alone as the only man to ever defeat 24-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic in an Australian Open semifinal.

"[Feels] awesome,” said Sinner, who improved to 26-2 since the 2023 US Open. “I don’t know what to say, really. I came here, I started off in Kooyong with a couple of exhibition matches and trying to come here as prepared as possible.

"The confidence from the end of last year has for sure kept the belief that I can play against the best players in the world. I’m really happy I can play Sunday my first final and let’s see how it goes. I’m really happy, I come here with a smile and try my best.”

The biggest shock of this semifinal stunner wasn’t that Sinner won, it’s how effortless his execution was, how listless Djokovic looked for two sets and the fact the greatest returner of the Open Era could not get a sniff of a break point on Sinner’s serve.

It's the first time in Djokovic's storied 415-match Grand Slam career he did not earn a break point in a completed major match.

"First of all, he was serving, he was serving very accurately precise, he was backing his serve very well," Djokovic told the media in Melbourne. "There's a lot of negative things that I've done on the court today in terms of my game that I'm not really pleased with in return or, you know, movement or forehand, backhand. Everything, you know, was just subpar.

"So, yeah, he was very dominant. Dominant on his service games. Obviously if you serve well and if you don't face a breakpoint, you know, it plays with the mind of your opponent, meaning you can put more pressure on his service games, my service games in this case, and you kind of swing freely. Yeah, I mean, congrats to him. He just played a flawless match."

Facing the game's greatest returner and almost invincible AO champion, Sinner was inspired. The lanky Italian drilled nine aces against one double fault, won 69 percent of second-serve points and did not face a break point in a stirring three hour, 22-minute triumph.
Playing clean combinations, Sinner snapped Djokovic’s 33-match Australian Open winning streak handing the defending champion his first AO loss since he fell to Hyeon Chung in the 2018 round of 16.

It was Sinner’s third victory in his last four meetings with Djokovic and comes nearly two months to the day after a defiant Sinner saved three match points sparking a three-game surge shocking Djokovic 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 to level Italy with Serbia, 1-1, in the best-of-three-match Davis Cup semifinals.

In recent months, Sinner has played streak buster to Djokovic. The 22-year-old Sinner ended Djokovic’s 21-match Davis Cup winning streak in November, 11 days after he snapped the Serbian’s 19-match winning streak at the ATP Finals in Turin.

The top seed was 14-0 vs. Top 10 opponents at the Australian Open since 2014, but Sinner made the statement start in this semifinal.

Tennis Express

The confident semifinal debutant won 12 of the first 16 points—smacking a sweeping forehand drive volley to break in Djokovic’s first service game—surging to a 3-0 lead.

A listless Djokovic struggled to find his rhythm, range and emotional energy.

Twenty-one minutes into the match Djokovic held, after erasing a break point, to get on the board.

Unsettled by the depth of Sinner’s drives, Djokovic was littering errors and losing points he’d normally control. Hitting a high forehand volley, Djokovic was surprised Sinner’s backhand came back and bumped a volley wide to face break point in the sixth game. Sailing an approach, Djokovic gifted the double-break 5-1 lead.

The Italian Davis Cup hero drilled a forehand in the corner wrapping up a dominant 35-minute opener in handing the defending champion his most lopsided set loss at the AO since he dropped a 2-6 set to Stan Wawrinka in the 2014 quarterfinals.

The Djokovic two-handed backhand is one of the best in the sport, but Sinner matched the champion off that wing and was doing more damage with his forehand.

Controlling the center of the court, Sinner blasted big returns right back through the middle of the court rattling out a pair of backhand errors. When Djokovic jerked his two-hander wide, Sinner seized his third break for a 2-1 second-set lead.

Showing little emotion beneath his vanilla baseball cap, Sinner reeled off 12 of 14 points moving out to a 3-1 lead.

Staring down a break point in the seventh game, Djokovic responded with his most dynamic point of the match, blasting forehands down opposite sidelines. That sequence saved break point and incited some fans to chant “Nole! Nole!” trying to rouse the champion.

Sinner muted the uprising. Attacking net, the Italian watched the Serbian’s lob land long for another break point. Punishing forehands, Sinner drew a 27th unforced error to again seize a double break lead at 5-2.

Pasting another forehand into net, the world No. 1 paced beneath the baseline staring blankly at the blue court beneath his feet.

On his second set point, Sinner ripped a forehand down the line for a commanding two-set lead after just 73 minutes. Through two sets, Sinner won 23 of 27 first-serve points and did not face a break point against the game’s premier returner.

The three games Djokovic managed through two sets were his fewest total through two sets since his 2005 AO debut when he lost to Marat Safin 6-0, 6-2, 6-1.

The 10-time champion needed to test the Italian and did it in the fourth game taking a love-30 lead. Undaunted, Sinner charged through four points in a row to silence the threat and hold to level the third set after four games.

The 24-time Grand Slam champion was serving at 5-all, deuce when a fan in the upper deck apparently fell ill prompting a pause in play as staff attended to the fan.

When play resumed, Djokovic dabbed an ace down the middle and got a favorable bounce off a net-cord shot to hold for 6-5.

Serving sharper, Djokovic jumped out to a 4-2 tiebreaker lead only to see Sinner win four of the next five points to earn a match point with a serve winner down the T.

One point from the final, Sinner tightened and put a forehand into net as Djokovic leveled 6-all.

Asserting his aggression, Djokovic drew two backhand errors to survive turbulence with a clenched fist to force a fourth set as supporters chanted “Nole! Nole!”

Though he did not face a break point, Sinner lost a set for the first time in the tournament.

The US Open champion seemed to have momentum, but he sailed a routine rally forehand to face double break point in his first serve game of the fourth set. Djokovic fired a big forehand and slammed an ace to deny both break points then save a third holding for 1-1.

Squandering a 40-love lead, Djokovic slapped his fourth double fault to face an 11th break point. On the stretch, Sinner played a deep slice backhand and Djokovic overhit his backhand down the line as the Italian broke for 3-1.

Tested in a 10-point game, Sinner refused to flinch. Derailing Djokovic’s pressure, Sinner stood firm, confirming the break for 4-1.

Embed from Getty Images

Seeing the Serbian drift back on return, Sinner shrewdly deployed the serve-and-volley winner wrapping a love hold for 5-2.

Serving for the final, Sinner put a backhand into net to open then hit his first double fault to fall behind 15-30.

An unwavering Sinner slashed an ace then hit a strong serve out wide to earn match point No. 2 nearly one hour after his first match point in the tiebreaker.

Fighting off a deep return, Sinner flicked a forehand from his ankles, reset then fired one final forehand winner wrapping his biggest career win with one last big bang.

Savoring his maiden major final appearance, Sinner was looking forward to kicking back and enjoying his Friday night as a tennis fan watching Medvedev and Zverev go at it.

"I will watch it for sure," Sinner said. "I’m a huge tennis fan so it’s good to watch for me. I’m a bit more relaxed now, but they are such incredible players.

"They have met already so many times it’s gonna be really interesting. Sasha he is playing back at 100 percent, he’s playing great and also Daniil. Hopefully, it’s gonna be a great match and then we see what’s coming on Sunday."


Latest News