Australian Open: Sinner claims first Grand Slam

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.

Can Novak Djokovic make history at the Australian Open?

As the days get colder and the nights get darker in the UK in January, we’ll all be looking on with envy as the stars of world tennis jet off to sunny Melbourne for the Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic won the men’s title earlier this year and he could make history by defending his crown next month. Meanwhile, Aryna Sabalenka holds the women’s title and faces a tough test to keep it.

Djokovic targets record-breaking Grand Slam

After winning three Grand Slams this year, Djokovic is looking to add another one to his collection as he heads down under next month.

The Serbian is the most successful men’s player in history, with a stunning 24 Grand Slam titles. He’s currently level with Australian legend Margaret Court, meaning one more slam will take him top of the all-time standings.

Of all the tournaments for Djokovic to break the record, he couldn’t have picked a better one. He’s made Melbourne Park his playground in recent years, winning 10 of the last 16 Australian Open titles.

Djokovic’s last win came earlier this year and he continued his phenomenal year by securing the French and US Opens. It would have been a perfect year for him if it wasn’t for Carlos Alcaraz, whose Wimbledon triumph stopped him from claiming a fourth Career Grand Slam.

Like a fine wine, Djokovic appears to be getting better with age. Despite being 36, he’s showing no signs of slowing down nor given any indication that he’s ready to hang up his racket.

Who can stop Djokovic in Australia?

After spoiling Djokovic’s party at Wimbledon, Alcaraz could delay the record being broken by going all the way in Australia as he targets a third Grand Slam.

Despite a remarkable couple of years since breaking through, Alcaraz has never progressed past the third round in Melbourne and he’ll be looking to finally make his mark this time around.

Despite being just 20 years old, Alacaraz’s dominant displays at Wimbledon showed a maturity beyond his years and he’ll likely be the biggest threat to Djokovic’s crown.

Next month’s Australian Open will see the return of Rafael Nadal, who endured a nightmare 2023 riddled with injuries. Nadal has won the tournament twice, with his most recent title coming in 2022 where he defeated Daniil Medvedev in the final.

He was looking to defend his title earlier this year but his hip injury saw him succumb to a second round exit in straight sets at the hands of Mackenzie McDonald. Nadal has since had treatment for his injury and he’s looking to return in style in what could be his final year in tennis.

Elsewhere, two-time Australian Open finalist Medvedev is looking to win just his second Grand Slam. He lost two consecutive finals in Melbourne in 2021 and 2022.

Meanwhile, Jannik Sinner is another future star that could challenge. The 22-year-old reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon this summer and despite losing in straight sets to Djokovic, he showed huge potential.

Iga Swiatek seeks another Grand Slam title

World number one Iga Swiatek is the favourite to go all the way in Australia. The 22-year-old secured her fourth Grand Slam title back in June as she overcame Karolina Muchova to win the French Open.

She’ll be looking to win the Australian Open for the first time, with her best previous showing coming last year where she fell short against Danielle Collins in the semis.

Swiatek will face stiff competition from 2023 champion Sabalenka. She came from a set down to beat Elena Rybakina in the final earlier this year. Sabalenka has enjoyed a strong 2023, having also reached the US Open final, as well as the final four at Wimbledon and the French Open.

Rybakina should perform well again as she looks to avenge her defeat in the final last time out. Meanwhile, Coco Gauff could also challenge. The 19-year-old has a bright future ahead of her and she claimed her maiden Grand Slam this year as she won the US Open on home soil. She’ll be looking to improve her Australian Open record having never progressed past the fourth round.

July 2024
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