Home » today » Sport » Novak Djokovic Defeated in Australian Open Semi-Final by Jannik Sinner: Is This the End of His Reign?

Novak Djokovic Defeated in Australian Open Semi-Final by Jannik Sinner: Is This the End of His Reign?

Published by TennisTemple.com Editorial staff, Friday 01/26/2024 09:14

Earthquake in Melbourne: world No.1 Novak Djokovic, ten-time winner of the Australian Open, who had not lost a match there since 2018, was debunked in the semi-final by world No.4 Jannik Sinner Friday, whose opponent in the final will be the Russian Daniil Medvedev.

Djokovic, beaten 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (6/8), 6-3 in just under three and a half hours, was seeking an unprecedented 25th Grand Slam coronation, at 36 years old.

At 22, Sinner will play his very first major final on Sunday. Facing him, world No.3 Daniil Medvedev, sixth Grand Slam final, third in Australia (after 2021 and 2022), but only one title so far, at the 2021 US Open.

At past midnight, the Russian overthrew the German Alexander Zverev (N.6) after being down two sets to zero, 5-7, 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/ 5), 6-3, in 4h18 min.

End of reign for Djokovic? It is too early to tell.

“It was one of the worst matches I played in a Grand Slam,” said the 36-year-old Serbian. “I was shocked by my level, in a bad way.”

“That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the beginning of the end, he nevertheless emphasizes. I still have high ambitions for the other Grand Slams, for the Olympics, and the other tournaments that I will play. This It’s only the beginning of the season.”

Nonetheless, Sinner hit hard, both literally and figuratively, by achieving something that no one had ever achieved before: stopping Djokovic once he reached the final four of the Australian Open, become his preserve in proportions not so far from Rafael Nadal at Roland-Garros (14 titles).

– Zero break points –

Until then, each time he had reached the semi-finals – ten times -, “Nole” had concluded the Australian fortnight with the trophy in his hands.

Djokovic remained on 33 matches won consecutively on the courts of Melbourne Park.

His last defeat dates back to 2018 (in the round of 16, against Chung). Since then, he had collected four more titles in five editions. The only exception: 2022, the year of his incredible expulsion from Australia, for lack of being vaccinated against Covid-19.

He was there this year in search of an eleventh triumph in Melbourne, and an unprecedented 25th Grand Slam coronation. At least for a while longer, he shares the absolute record with Australian Margaret Court.

“Obviously it means a lot to me to beat Novak here but the tournament is not over,” says Sinner. “There is a final on Sunday. I can’t wait to be there.”

Beyond the result, it is the manner that is striking.

For the first time in a Grand Slam, Djokovic went through a match without obtaining a single break point.

When after 73 minutes, Sinner, with his exceptional shot quality, was already leading 6-1, 6-2, and Djokovic, unrecognizable without obvious explanation, was as if anesthetized and multiplied unforced errors, often early in the rally, you had to pinch yourself to believe it.

– “Not really myself” –

Certainly, the world No.1 was not having his quietest Australian fortnight. Certainly, he remained in a grueling duel in the middle of the quarter-finals on Tuesday afternoon (against Fritz).

But nothing suggested such a scenario, even less on the Rod Laver Arena, his favorite playground, even against Sinner, the only player to have been able to beat him after Wimbledon and until the end of the year 2023, victorious twice in ten days (in the group stage of the Masters and in the Davis Cup).

On the verge of a defeat in three sets, faced with a match point at 6 points at 5 in the decisive game, Djokovic managed almost by miracle to extend the game.

Almost an hour after his first opportunity to conclude, Sinner finally had the last word.

“I didn’t really feel like myself on court throughout the tournament,” Djokovic admits.

“This city is very special to me. I just hope that I will have the chance to come back there, to play there at least one more time,” he hopes.

By disgusting Zverev, Medvedev repeated his feat from the second round, when he had already made up a two-set deficit against Ruusuvuori.

The last one to reach the final of the Australian Open in the same conditions? Pete Sampras, in 1995, finally beaten by Andre Agassi.

If history repeats itself on Sunday, Sinner will end almost half a century of waiting (1976) for a Grand Slam for Italian men’s tennis.

Source: AFP

2024-01-26 16:42:11
#Australian #Open #favorite #court #Djokovic #debunked #Sinner

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.