Australian Open: Sinner claims first Grand Slam

Tennis Tuesday January 30, 2024 By: Harry Howes

The Australian Open title and Novak Djokovic have almost become synonymous in recent years but remarkably, the Serbian didn’t even make the final this time around.

Just as Carlos Alcaraz made the headlines for his stunning win at Wimbledon last summer, there’s a new kid on the block in Melbourne. Remember the name: Jannik Sinner.

The Italian stormed to his first Grand Slam win following a dominant few weeks in Australia. In fact, his impressive semi-final display condemned Djokovic to a first defeat at the tournament in six years.

Elsewhere, Aryna Sabalenka picked up where she left off a year ago and she now has her eyes firmly set on Iga Świątek’s crown as the queen of tennis.

Sinner claims maiden Grand Slam

There’s never a bad time to claim your first Grand Slam and Sinner has started 2024 in style as he dominated for much of the tournament. Alongside Alcaraz, there are hopes that the 22-year-old can build on this and start a new era in tennis once Djokovic and Rafael Nadal call it a day.

Sinner dropped just one set on his way to the final – a narrow tie-break against Djokovic – and he reacted superbly to come back from two sets down to stun Daniil Medvedev in the final.

History repeated itself for Medvedev, who also lost a two-set lead against Nadal in the 2022 final, and he’s now tasted defeat in three of the last four Australian Open finals.

Sinner has gone from strength to strength in the last year and has now won 20 of his last 21 matches. He’s emerged as one of the biggest threats in the men’s game following a first semi-final at Wimbledon last year, where he was beaten in straight sets by Djokovic.

Djokovic made to wait for record-breaking Slam

Ahead of the tournament, Djokovic was looking to make history and become the all-time leading Grand Slam winner. The 36-year-old is currently tied on 24 major titles with Australian legend Margaret Court.

He looked to be on his way to a fifth Australian Open title in six years as he stormed to the semi-finals, dropping just three sets in the process. But Djokovic was swept aside by Sinner, who claimed the first two sets 6-1 and 6-2 before finishing the job in the fourth.

It was Djokovic’s first defeat at the Australian Open in 2,195 days and put an end to an incredible 33-match winning run at the tournament. The loss to Sinner was his first in Melbourne since 2018 and it was the first time in his career that he failed to create a break point in a Grand Slam match.

Djokovic has been hugely critical of his performances throughout the tournament and he’ll be more determined than ever to claim his record-breaking Grand Slam title at the French Open later this year.

Sabalenka strolls to Australian Open title defence

In the women’s tournament, Sabalenka claimed her second successive Australian Open title as she saw off Qinwen Zheng in the final.

In fact, the Belarusian won every single set on her way to glory and Coco Gauff in the semi-final was the only opponent to take more than three games off her in a single set.

It was only Sabalenka’s second Grand Slam win and puts to bed a successful but ultimately frustrating 2023. She followed up last year’s Australian Open win with semi-final defeats at both the French Open and Wimbledon before losing the US Open final to Gauff.

She’ll now want to build on this and rival world number one Świątek to be the best female player on the planet. Świątek was the pre-tournament favourite to triumph in Melbourne but she unexpectedly crashed out in the third round at the hands of Czech player Linda Nosková.

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