Italian Upsets Djokovic, Ends His Australian Open Unbeaten Streak

MELBOURNE, Australia — Jannik Sinner has upset Novak Djokovic to reach the Australian Open men’s final, ending the 10-time champion’s career unbeaten streak in semifinals at Melbourne Park.

The 22-year-old Italian broke Djokovic’s serve twice in each of the first two sets but missed a match point in the third set of a 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-3 victory Friday that earned him a place in a Grand Slam final for the first time.

On his second match point, 55 minutes later, he made no mistake and completed his third victory in four matches against Djokovic since losing to the world No. 1 in last year’s Wimbledon semifinals.

“It’s always nice to have this kind of player who you can learn from,” Sinner said in his on-court TV interview. “I lost last year in the semifinals in Wimbledon, and I learned a lot from that. The confidence from the end of last year has for sure kept the belief that I can play the best players in the world.”

The youngest player to reach the men’s final in Australia since Djokovic’s first title in 2008, Sinner will play either third-seeded Daniil Medvedev or No. 6 Alexander Zverev for the championship on Sunday.

Djokovic’s bid for a record-extending 11th Australian and 25th major title overall will have to wait.

He hadn’t lost a match at Melbourne Park since 2018 and was on a 33-match winning streak at the season’s first major. Every previous time he’d won a quarterfinal in Australia, Djokovic had gone on to win the hardcourt title.

The loss to Djokovic at Wimbledon has become a turning point in their rivalry. After losing the first three meetings, Sinner won two of the next three — all in November — in the group stage of the ATP Finals in Turin and in the Davis Cup semifinals.

Sinner was the only player in the final four who didn’t drop a set in the tournament, and he spent almost four fewer hours on court through five rounds than Djokovic, who was taken to four sets three times.

Still, the odds were stacked against fourth-seeded Sinner.

But he played calm, nearly flawless tennis in the first two sets and piled pressure on Djokovic’s serve in a relatively cool 21 degrees Celsius and a light breeze.

He was holding his serve with relative ease against a player contesting a 48th Grand Slam semifinal.

Djokovic rallied, as he always does, to make Sinner win it. But he had few chances and didn’t get a look at a break point in the match — the first time he’s experienced that in a completed Grand Slam match.

The 36-year-old Serbian star missed his first chance to be just the third person in history to win 11 titles at any Grand Slam event — Rafael Nadal has 14 French Open titles and Margaret Court won 11 Australian Open women’s titles. 

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