Daniil Medvedev has let a two-sets-to-love lead slip after going down in the Australian Open final to Jannik Sinner after an extraordinary comeback from the Italian. Sinner was blown away in the first two sets but bounced back to clinch a pulsating 3-6 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-3 victory to become the first Italian man to win the Australian Open men's crown.
Medvedev kicked off the final with a bang after achieving in minutes what Novak Djokovic failed to do in his entire semi-final against the Italian. Sinner went into the title decider full of confidence against the Russian after snapping 10-time Australian Open champion Djokovic's six-year, 33-match winning streak at Melbourne Park in the last-four.
During that epic semi-final triumph, the Italian didn't face a single break point against Djokokic - an incredible feat considering the Serb is regarded as one of the greatest returners the sport has ever seen. In fact, Sinner went into Sunday's decider having only been broken twice all tournament after winning 67 of his 69 service games.
The World No.4 had also spent almost six hours less on the court than Medvedev after dropping just the one set against Djokovic in the semi-final tiebreak. Despite Sinner's incredible form and almost faultless displays on serve, it was the battle-hardened Medvedev that fired the first major warning after breaking Sinner in just the second game on the Italian's own racquet.
Daniil Medvedev does what Novak Djokovic could not
Many expected the Russian to be entering the final with signs of weariness after being taken to fight sets in three of his victories, including the epic comeback win over Alexander Zverev in Friday's semi-final. Medevev quickly put any such suggestions to bed after taking just 12 minutes to do what Djokovic couldn't - by breaking the impressive serve of Sinner. The significance was not lost on the tennis world.
Novak Djokovic failed to create a single break point in four sets against Jannik Sinner.
Daniil Medvedev broke Jannik Sinner's serve twelve minutes into the match. pic.twitter.com/YDAGH5fexZ
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) January 28, 2024
Times Novak Djokovic broke Jannik Sinner - 0
Times Daniil Medvedev broke Jannik Sinner - 1
The greatest returner of all time 🐐 pic.twitter.com/UjlDczespm
— kr9pton (@kr9ptonlul) January 28, 2024
— Chris Goldsmith (@TheTennisTalker) January 28, 2024
Jannik Sinner didn’t even concede a break point to Novak Djokovic in the semis… He’s been broken within 12 minutes tonight.
The longer the rallies, the better Medvedev looks. Goodness he looks dangerous tonight. #AusOpen
— Shane McInnes (@shanemcinnes) January 28, 2024
Medvedev 🇷🇺 has come out guns blazing! How’s that 1st serve game? 1st set breezing away with a break to boot. Sinner’s 🇮🇹 not seeing anything. #AUSOpen 🎾
— Andrew Byama (@Keeplah) January 28, 2024
Medvedev was looking to snap a three-match losing streak against Sinner and showed encouraging signs on his own serve as he raced away to a 5-3 lead in the opening stanza. The Russian set up two set points after taking it to Sinner's serve again but the Italian held firm to save both of them.
Daniil Medvedev clinches first set in ruthless display
The third seed gave himself a third break point opportunity to clinch the opening set and this time the Italian was unable to stave off the fast-starting Russian. Medvedev's consistency from the backline proved too hot for the Italian to handle as a backhand pass from Sinner found the net an saw the first set go to the third seed in just 36 minutes.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 28, 2024
Medvedev wasted little time picking up where he left off, holding serve to kick off the second set before opening up another break point chance on Sinner's opening service game. The Italian was in "survival mode" according to Nine commentator Jim Courier with fellow tennis great Lleyton Hewitt claiming he'd never seen Medvedev play better.
Another break point chance came and went for the Russian though as Sinner somehow found a way to hold on. The Italian decided to come in to the net on consecutive points and found success both times as he nabbed a crucial hold of serve to get it back to 1-1 in what promised to be a tense second set.
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 28, 2024
The writing was on the wall for Sinner though as the relentless Russian's level failed to dip. Medvedev's dominance was underpinned by another break of serve, before a hold to love on his own racquet.
Sinner looked shellshocked by the enormity of his first grand slam final and quickly found himself 5-1 down after being broken again. To his credit though, the Italian did manage to get one of those breaks back to stay alive in the second set.
Sinner finally enjoyed a somewhat straightforward hold to win his second straight game and get it back to 5-3. Medvedev then squandered his first chance to take a two-sets-to-love lead after double-faulting on set point but got the job done at the second time of asking to take a stranglehold on the contest.
Jannik Sinner wins Australian Open in epic comeback
Things went on serve for the majority of the third stanza as Sinner looked about fashioning a way back into the contest. The Italian gave himself a sniff in the tenth game as Medvedev's gruelling run to the final looked to be finally taking its toll on him physically.
Sinner started asserting more dominance from the baseline and eventually managed to muster a set point after watching a shot from Medvedev sail long at the end of a long rally. The next point was also a carbon copy of the previous one as Medvedev's misfire from the back of the court allowed Sinner to grab a set back of his own.
The longer the rallies and the match went on, the greater Sinner's chances appeared to be. With the contest ticking past the three-hour mark and the fourth set edging towards a tiebreak, it was the Italian who sent the match into a deciding set after breaking in the tenth game to take it 6-4. The fresher legs of the Italian ultimately paid dividends as the Italian once again broke Medvedev late in the deciding set before serving it out to seal an incredible piece of history.
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