Jannik Sinner ended Novak Djokovic’s bid for a record 25th Grand Slam title on January 26, snapping the Serb’s astonishing 33-match winning run at Melbourne Park to reach his first major final.
The Italian fourth seed was unfazed by dropping his first set of the tournament against the king of Rod Laver Arena, winning the semi-final 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3.
He will face either Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev or German sixth seed Alexander Zverev in Sunday’s title match, meaning there will be a new name on the trophy.
Ten-time champion Djokovic fought off a match point in the third-set tie-break but racked up 54 unforced errors and failed to create a single break point in an sub-par display by his stellar standards.
“It was a very tough match,” said Sinner. “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.
“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 admitted he was “outplayed” by a man 14 years his junior.
“I was, in a way, shocked with my level, you know, in a bad way,” he said. “There was not much I was doing right in the first two sets.
“I guess this is one of the worst Grand Slam matches I’ve ever played, at least that I remember.”
But the 36-year-old insisted it was not the “beginning of the end” and vowed to return for another shot at the title next year.
Djokovic record bid
Djokovic, who had not tasted defeat at the Australian Open since 2018, lacked his usual metronomic consistency as the super-cool Sinner raced into a 3-0 lead.
The Italian broke again in the sixth game and seized the first set when Djokovic went long with a forehand.
The decibel count on centre…