Novak Djokovic LOSES at the Australian Open for the first time in SIX YEARS, as Italy’s Jannik Sinner dethrones the 10-time champion in a thrilling four-set semi-final

Jannik Sinner has shattered Novak Djokovic’s aura of invincibility to storm into his maiden grand slam final with a seismic Australian Open victory over the super Serb.

Fans have been wondering for years when the next generation would finally arrive and Sinner answered the question emphatically on Friday with a 6-1 6-2 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 dispatch of Djokovic.

The king of Melbourne Park had entered the much-anticipated match with a perfect 10-from-10 record in Australian Open semi-finals.

It had also been six years since the Djokovic had lost a match in Australia, which he did in 2018 in the fourth round to South Korea’s Chung Hyeon – a period which includes his 2022 deportation from the country due to his Covid-19 vaccination status. 

But before the tie, Djokovic had given an ominous interview sharing how the annual trips Down Under had become more taxing on his body. 

Novak Djokovic looked like a man with no answers in his semi-final against Jannik Sinner

Novak Djokovic looked like a man with no answers in his Australian Open semi-final against Jannik Sinner

By contrast, Sinner was a model of consistency on court, and raced to a two sets to love lead on Rod Laver Arena in impressive fashion

By contrast, Sinner was a model of consistency on court, and raced to a two sets to love lead on Rod Laver Arena in impressive fashion

Djokovic, who has won 10 Grand Slams at Melbourne Park, had plenty of support in the stands

Djokovic, who has won 10 Grand Slams at Melbourne Park, had plenty of support in the stands

‘I do struggle with that more and more as the time goes on,’ Djokovic said.

‘Australia is a long trip, probably the longest trip we have in the entire year.

‘Being away for five weeks is quite a lot.’

Indeed, the pain began to tell early on, with Sinner able to confidently hold the 36-year-old at a distance to romp to a 6-1, 6-2 lead, which Jim Courier described in staggering terms on commentary. 

‘I have never seen Novak beaten like this at any tournament,’ Courier said. ‘You would have to take a good long look in the past for that.

‘This has been almost beyond belief.’

The 36-year-old had won his past 33 matches at Rod Laver Arena and, despite losing to Sinner twice in the space of a week in November, was still favoured to advance to yet another Open final and record-extending 37th grand slam title decider.

Djokovic was able to save match point in third-set tiebreak but could not hold on in the fourth

Djokovic was able to save match point in third-set tiebreak but could not hold on in the fourth 

Sinner looked frustrated in the break between the third and fourth sets but kept a cool head

Sinner looked frustrated in the break between the third and fourth sets but kept a cool head

Instead, the world No.1 – who won three of the four majors last year – remains level with Margaret Court with a record-equalling 24 grand slam singles crowns.

He must wait until the French Open in May to try to surpass Court and take sole possession of the tennis benchmark he craves the most.

Sinner, on the other hand, will play either Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev or German sixth seed Alexander Zverev on Sunday night firmly believing it’s time to have his own name etched on the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup.

On the evidence of not only the past fortnight in Melbourne – where the 22-year-old has yet to drop a set – but the past four months, Sinner is very much the man to beat.

Thriving under Australian super-coach Darren Cahill, who guided Lleyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi and Simona Halep to world No.1, Sinner has swept all before him since a sapping fourth-round loss to Zverev at the US Open in September.

He has collected titles in Beijing – where he conquered Medvedev and Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz – and Vienna, made the season-ending championship final in Turin and piloted Italy to a drought-breaking Davis Cup triumph.

The Italian upstart has flourished with the support of coach Darren Cahill (pictured right)

The Italian upstart has flourished with the support of coach Darren Cahill (pictured right)

Sinner's last victory over Djokovic came in the Davis Cup in November, which Italy later won

Sinner’s last victory over Djokovic came in the Davis Cup in November, which Italy later won

Sinner’s twin victories over Djokovic at the ATP Finals and Davis Cup had placed the tennis world on notice.

But few could have imagined how he’d put Djokovic to the sword on Friday, his opening set performance the first time his opponent had conceded a set 6-1 at the Open in a decade.

Sinner cracked winners seemingly at will – while Djokovic, by extreme contrast, made a staggering 44 unforced errors in the first three sets. 

Djokovic had recovered from two sets down against Sinner in the Wimbledon quarter-finals two years ago and staged another fightback on Friday.

But even after saving a match point in the tense third-set tiebreaker, there was no escaping this time.

Sinner broke Djokovic for a fifth time in the fourth game of the fourth set, then held his nerve and serve three more times to snuff out any comeback and seal victory after three hours and 22 minutes with a huge forehand winner.

The Italian 22-year-old will play his first grand slam final against either Daniil Medvedev or Alexander Zverev

The Italian 22-year-old will play his first grand slam final against either Daniil Medvedev or Alexander Zverev

Sinner's win on Rod Laver may represent a changing of the guard at the top of men's tennis

Sinner’s win on Rod Laver may represent a changing of the guard at the top of men’s tennis

The win made Sinner the first Italian men’s player since the establishment of the ATP rankings in 1973 to beat a world No 1.  

On-court after making history, Sinner reserved praise for his opponent, calling it a ‘very, very tough match’. 

But the Italian was delighted with his game plan – even if he refused to share details. 

‘I think we play really similar,’ Sinner said. ‘He’s such an incredible server, and I try to get him so many times.

‘Just trying to push, trying to move him – I’m not going to tell you the tactics! 

‘I’m hopeful that I might play him in a couple of different matches, but it’s a pleasure to be here. They call it the happiest land for a reason.’

The 22-year-old has become the first Italian man to beat a world No 1 since ATP rankings began

The 22-year-old has become the first Italian man to beat a world No 1 since ATP rankings began

Asked about the feeling of making his first-ever major final, Sinner seemed overwhelmed with joy. 

‘I don’t know what to say really,’ he began. ‘I started off with a couple exhibition matches, trying to come here as prepared as possible. 

‘The confidence from end of last year has for sure kept the belief that I can play with the best players in the world. I’m really happy I can play Sunday my first final. Let’s see how it goes. 

‘But I’m really happy. I come here with a smile. I’ll try my best.’

Djokovic, however, cut a pessimistic figure as he described himself as ‘completely outplayed’. 

Djokovic described his turn as 'one of the worst Grand Slam matches I've ever played'

Djokovic described his turn as ‘one of the worst Grand Slam matches I’ve ever played’

‘He’s deservedly in the final,’ Djokovic said after the match. ‘

He outplayed me completely. 

‘Look, I was in a way shocked with my level. 

‘(That was) one of the worst Grand Slam matches I’ve ever played, at least that I remember’ 



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