Superb Jannik Sinner ends Novak Djokovic's Australian Open dominance

Italian hands Serb his first Melbourne Park defeat in six years and will face Daniil Medvedev in Sunday's final

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Jannik Sinner claimed a huge statement win to announce himself as a Grand Slam force and become the first player in six years to beat Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open.

Sinner had emerged as the most likely threat to Djokovic ahead of the tournament after beating him twice in as many weeks at the end of last season at the ATP Finals and Davis Cup.

But the one-sided nature of this result took everyone by surprise. The 22-year-old Italian absolutely hammered the Serb, who won a paltry total of three games as he fell two sets behind.

Djokovic rallied to save a match point in the third-set tie-break to give himself a sliver of hope but there was no dramatic comeback, with Sinner regrouping impressively and going on to clinch a dominant 6-1, 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 victory after three hours and 22 minutes.

"I started off really well. He missed in the first two sets. I felt like he was not feeling that great on court so I just tried to keep pushing," said Sinner.

"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 I started off really well."

Sinner, 22, said he felt he had learned from defeat to Djokovic in last year's Wimbledon semi-finals – the furthest he had previously gone at a Grand Slam – and had been looking forward to the match.

"I think we play really similar, you have to return as many balls as possible, he's such an incredible server," he said. "So I was just trying to push him around a little bit – I'm not going to tell you the tactics."

Djokovic, who had not lost in Australia since a fourth-round defeat by Hyeon Chung amid elbow problems in 2018, had been seeking a record-extending 11th title at Melbourne Park and a 25th career major to put him clear of Margaret Court.

"He outplayed me completely today," said Djokovic, who racked up 54 unforced errors and failed to create a single break point. "I was shocked with my level in a bad way. Not much that I was doing right. This is one of the worst Grand Slam matches I have played, that I can remember.

"At the same time, credit to him for doing everything better than me in every aspect of the game."

Sinner will face Daniil Medvedev in Sunday's final after the Russian fought back from the brink to beat Alexander Zverev 5-7, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-3.

Having suffered heartbreak at Melbourne Park in back-to-back final defeats by Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal in 2021 and 2022, former US Open champion Medvedev will hope to get third time lucky.

"Very impressive," third seed Medvedev said of Sinner. "I need to recover well and be 100 per cent on Sunday.

"We have a saying 'third time lucky'. Let's see, I can say from experience that it's not always like this but hopefully here it'll work. It would mean a lot. This court is not my best court in terms of my performance and my self-esteem."

Updated: January 26, 2024, 1:53 PM