Jannik Sinner beats Novak Djokovic in Australian Open semi-final
Image caption: Jannik Sinner ended Novak Djokovic’s 33-match winning streak – going back to 2018 – at the Australian Open
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 set to walk out on to Rod Laver Arena shortly after 19:30 local time (08:30 GMT).
Sinner shows belief to end Djokovic’s grip
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 a deferential attitude from 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.
“It was very, very tough,” said Sinner.
“I felt like he 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.
“I learned a lot from that defeat at Wimbledon and it is all part of the process.”
Sinner’s elimination of Djokovic means there will be a new name on the Australian Open men’s singles trophy.
While neither Sinner nor Zverev have reached the final before, 27-year-old Medvedev is a two-time runner-up, having lost to Djokovic in 2021 and Spain’s Rafael Nadal in 2022.
“I don’t know what to say,” Sinner said in his on-court interview.
“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.”