Jannik Sinner ousts Novak Djokovic in Australian Open semis

Jannik Sinner is through to his first career Grand Slam final, and he got there in style.

The fourth-seeded Italian upset top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-3 in the semifinals of the Australian Open on Friday in Melbourne.

Sinner, 22, never faced a break point in the victory. He moves on to oppose either third-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia or sixth-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany in the title match on Sunday.

Sinner’s best previous result in a major tournament was an appearance at the Wimbledon semifinals last year. He also lost to Djokovic in the championship match of the year-end ATP Finals last November after beating Djokovic in the round-robin portion of the event.

Djokovic, 36, was chasing his 11th Australian Open title. He hadn’t lost a match in Melbourne since 2018, winning four of the next five titles and missing out only in 2022 when he was deported from Australia for being unvaccinated against COVID-19.

Last year, Djokovic won the Australian Open, French Open and U.S. Open, missing out on a calendar-year Grand Slam only by falling in the Wimbledon final in a five-set match against Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz.

Sinner rolled through the first two sets, and Djokovic saved the lone break point of the third set in the opening game. Sinner had a match point at 6-5 in the tiebreaker, but Djokovic won that point and the next two to extend the match.

Sinner broke serve for a 3-1 lead in the fourth set, then served out the 3-hour, 22-minute match.

“It was a very, very tough match,” Sinner said in his postmatch interview on court. “For like two sets, I felt like he was not feeling that well on court, so I just tried to (keep) pushing. Then in the third set, I had match points and I missed the forehand. But this is tennis. I just try to be ready also for the next set, which I started off really well. And obviously the atmosphere was so great to play here.

“I was looking forward to this match. It’s always nice to have this kind of player … you can learn from. I lost last year (to him) in the semis at Wimbledon and I learned a lot from that. It’s all part of the process.”