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Jannik Sinner ended Novak Djokovic’s 33-match winning streak at the Australian Open

By Jonathan Jurejko
BBC Sport at Melbourne Park

Australian Open 2024

Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 14-28 January

Coverage: Commentary from 08:00 GMT on Tennis Breakfast on Radio 5 Sports Extra and BBC Sounds, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the BBC Sport website and app

Novak Djokovic lost at the Australian Open for the first time since 2018 as Italian fourth seed Jannik Sinner reached his first Grand Slam final.

Serbia’s Djokovic, 36, lost 6-1 6-2 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 as Sinner regrouped from not taking a match point in the tie-break.

It ends Djokovic’s bid for a record-extending 11th title and a 25th major to put him clear of Margaret Court.

Sinner, 22, faces Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev or German sixth seed Alexander Zverev in Sunday’s final.

Former US Open champion Medvedev and Zverev, who is aiming for his first Grand Slam title, meet in Friday’s second semi-final at Melbourne Park.

The pair are due to walk out on to Rod Laver Arena shortly after 19:30 local time (08:30 GMT).

Sinner’s elimination of Djokovic means there will be a new name on the Australian Open men’s singles trophy.

The Serb had won 33 matches in a row in Melbourne since losing to Chung Hyeon in the fourth round six years ago.

“It was very, very tough,” said Sinner, who is the first Italian to reach a Melbourne singles final.

“I felt like [Djokovic] wasn’t feeling that great so I kept pushing. I just tried to be ready for the fourth set, which I started off really, really well.

Sinner shows belief to end Djokovic’s dominance

For so long, particularly at Melbourne Park, the question has been this: why can’t the younger generation stop Djokovic?

The answer has largely centred around Djokovic’s greatness – his technique, fitness, mindset – but arguably the most significant factor has been an ingrained deference among his opponents.

Sinner came into the latest attempt to topple the world number one armed with the knowledge he has beaten Djokovic twice recently, following victories at the ATP Finals and the Davis Cup Finals at the end of last season.

The caveat was those wins came over three sets.

Doing it over the elongated five-set format is always a different proposition – as Sinner himself found out when he led by two sets in their Wimbledon quarter-final in 2022 before losing when Djokovic took it the full distance.

The way he dismantled Djokovic on Friday was a measure of his growth.

From the start, he pressured his illustrious opponent into an uncharacteristic amount of errors and did not allow him a single break point.

After taking Djokovic’s opening service game, Sinner continued to use his power and accuracy to break again for 5-1 before serving out an impeccable first set in 35 minutes.

There was a sense of shock among a Melbourne crowd not used to seeing Djokovic struggle so badly on Rod Laver Arena.

No male player had ever won as many Grand Slam matches after losing the opening set – a total of 46 comebacks from that deficit – but Djokovic’s task became harder after a second set where he could not stem the flow of unforced errors.

Sinner continued to return well but Djokovic’s level slightly improved in the third set as both men looked solid on serve.

Djokovic edged a tense tie-break after saving a match point and Sinner, who had done little wrong, must have wondered how it was going to a fourth set.

The Italian reset impressively to force three break points in Djokovic’s first service game – which the Serb saved – before Djokovic blew a 40-0 lead to hand over another break for 3-1, which proved decisive.

“The confidence from the end of last season has, for sure, kept the belief I can play against the best players in the world and I’m really happy I can play in my first final,” said Sinner.

“I learned a lot from that defeat at Wimbledon and it is all part of the process.”

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