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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Sinner thwarts Djokovic’s bid for 11th Australian Open title


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Melbourne: Fourth seed Jannik Sinner stormed into his first Grand Slam final after ending world No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s long-time dominance at the Australian Open here on Friday.

The 22-year-old Italian was irresistible to inflict 10-time champion Djokovic’s first loss at Melbourne since 2018 with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-3 semifinal victory in three hours and 22 minutes.

Djokovic, a 24-time Grand Slam winner, had an uncharacteristically sloppy performance with 54 unforced errors to lose for the first time at Melbourne Park once he had reached the semifinals.

Sinner next faces former US Open champion Daniil Medvedev or sixth seed Alexander Zverev, who stunned world No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz in the quarterfinals.

“It was a very tough match. I felt for two sets he didn’t feel good on court and I kept pushing,” said Sinner, who served strongly.

Sinner faced a daunting task against Djokovic, who had won 33 straight matches at Melbourne Park. But the Italian steamrolled through a sluggish Djokovic to only lose three games in the first two sets.

Djokovic showed his trademark, fighting back in a gripping third set where play was briefly stopped at 5-5 on deuce after a spectator fainted.

Sinner had his chance to close it out on match point in the tiebreak, but he missed a forehand as Djokovic forced a fourth set. It was the first time in the tournament Sinner had dropped a set.

But the Italian regrouped and clinched the biggest victory of his career with a monstrous forehand winner as he raised his arms aloft and smiled.

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