Mumbai: World number four Jannik Sinner defeated world number one Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open 2024 semi-finals on Friday. Djokovic has lost a match at the Australian Open after 2,195 days. Sinner won the match with a scoreline of 6-1, 6-2, 6-7(6-8), 6-3 and became the first Italian to reach the Australian Open singles final in history.
Djokovic saved a match chance in the third-set tie-break but was eventually unable to respond to his opponent’s challenge on a fairly off-color afternoon. The Serbian committed 54 unforced errors and did not create a breakpoint as Sinner stuck to a methodical game style that appeared to challenge Djokovic to beat him in rallies.
“It was a very, very tough match. I started off really well,” Sinner told Jim Courier in his on-court interview. “For 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 a match point and I missed the forehand, but this is tennis.
“I just tried to be ready also for the next set, which I started off really well. And obviously, the atmosphere was so great to play here.”
Sinner moved to 3-4 in their rivalry after defeating Djokovic in two of three Lexus ATP Head2Head encounters last November and advancing to his maiden Grand Slam final with a calm performance in Melbourne. The Italian played within himself and showed incredible mental power to hold off a late attack by the World No. 1, who gradually regained form as the match progressed.
Sinner was smart in tactics and execution, knocking Djokovic back with his weight of shot, but the Serbian fueled his opponent’s confidence with a flat early performance that was the polar opposite of his customary level in high-stakes matches. Djokovic had been below his best for much of the Melbourne fortnight, but his propensity to improve in the final stages of majors has helped him win a record 24 Grand Slam singles titles. On this occasion, the Serbian level dropped instead, resulting in an unsuccessful late surge.
After Sinner breezed through the first two sets with an early and late break in each, finishing in a combined one hour and 13 minutes, Djokovic fought off a break point at the opening of the third and kept level with a powerful serve. The “tie-break king” then forced a fourth set by winning the 21st of his last 23 tie-breaks, fending off a match point when Sinner blinked and missed a straightforward forehand.
But Sinner pressed on in the fourth set and swiftly regained control at Rod Laver Arena, allaying fears of a repetition of the 2022 Wimbledon quarter-final, when Djokovic rallied from two sets down to defeat him. After wasting three break points to begin the set, the Italian broke at 40/0 to lead 3-1. He held from 30/30 and 15/30 down the line and completed the milestone victory with a forehand winner, his 31st of the match.