Thu. Feb 22nd, 2024

Daniil Medvedev becomes the first player in history to lose two Grand Slam finals when leading by two sets; tennis returns to Sky Sports with action from Marseille, Rotterdam, Rio and Acapulco, with the WTA heading to Abu Dhabi and San Diego

17:07, UK, Sunday 28 January 2024

Jannik Sinner won a first Grand Slam title in epic fashion, coming back from two sets down to defeat Daniil Medvedev 3-6 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-3 in a remarkable men’s singles final in Melbourne.

Medvedev, beaten twice before in the final on Rod Laver Arena – including a five-setter to Rafa Nadal in 2022 – became the first men’s player in history to lose two Grand Slam finals when two sets up.

It’s his fifth defeat in six major finals, while it also means Medvedev’s record at a hard court slam is now 50-2 after winning the opening set, with his only losses those two five-set defeats in the final.

Image:
Jannik Sinner fought back from two sets down to defeat Daniil Medvedev in the men’s singles final

Medvedev said following the defeat: “It’s three finals in a row, but congratulations Jannik, you deserved it.

“I’m gonna try to make it next time. I just want to thank everyone.”

Sinner, meanwhile, paid credit to his opponent, saying: “Daniil, congrats to you and your team. You always make me a much, much better player. I hope you can also lift this trophy and I wish you the best for the rest of the season.”

In the first Australian Open final not to feature on of Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer since 2005, Sinner had no answer for Medvedev’s aggression early on as, despite his gruelling 20 hours and 33 minutes spent on court in reaching the final, the Russian showed zero signs of fatigue.

Sinner, who, by contrast, had dropped only one set all tournament, swiftly lost his second as Medvedev took the opener, managing to do what Djokovic could not achieve in his semi-final defeat to the 22-year-old Italian.

The record 24-time Grand Slam winner failed to forge a single break point opportunity against Sinner’s serve in their clash, while Medvedev earned three of them in just his second service game, with a double-break clinching the opening set for the 2021 US Open champion.

Image:
Daniil Medvedev started impressively, despite playing well over 20 hours on court en route to the final

Sinner nearly lost his serve again to start the second set, but battled through to save four break points in what appeared to be a crucial hold for the Italian – only for him to cede his next two service games anyway to fall behind 5-1.

He would lose the set, but a late rally by the world No 4 – immediately breaking Medvedev back, holding to 15 and then earning another break opportunity ultimately saved by the Russian.

Sinner would take the next two sets in identical fashion against an increasingly fatigued Medvedev, the world No 3’s gruelling hours spent on court beginning to tell, as the Italian would break from 5-4 up in both.

It was now very much Sinner forcing the pace, although a saved break point at 3-3 in the fourth set was a hugely pivotal moment for the eventual champion.

In the fifth, Sinner broke free of his opponent in the sixth game, going on to become the first Italian man to win a Grand Slam since Adriano Panatta in 1976 and the youngest to win the Australian Open since Djokovic in 2008.

Serving for the match, Sinner built a 30-0 advantage before being dragged back to 30-30 by Medvedev, but far from being unnerved, he belted back-to-back forehand winners to first earn championship point and then clinch a maiden slam in his first final.

Sinner added following his victory: “I’m so proud. It was a very tough match.

“He started off really well, he moved me around the court and I couldn’t make my game plan work. I was looking for small chances and, at some point, the match changed. I’m really happy with how I reacted.”

Sinner could prove ‘unstoppable’ after winning first Slam

Nick Kyrgios on Eurosport:

“I wouldn’t say I was full of belief that he [Sinner] was going to come back because Medvedev made some serious adjustments for the first two sets and was playing such aggressive tennis.

“But Medvedev was out there for more than a day [across the tournament]. That’s ridiculous how many hours he spent on court.

Nick Kyrgios commentates on the men’s Australian Open final between Jannick Sinner and Daniil Medvedev. Sky TV subscribers get discovery+ Standard at no extra cost. Just say

“What an effort from Sinner, it was incredible how much he raised his level in the third, fourth and fifth sets.

“I’ve seen the improvement on his serve and the maturity he has shown at such a young age – that’s something I never had.

“I did predict he was going to be the new Slam winner in 2024. And I think we’re going to see him win plenty more slams in the next couple years.

“Now he’s got this one, I think he’s going to be unstoppable.”

Former British No 1 Tim Henman on Eurosport:

“I felt he could win a major in 2024 because Sinner had been in such impressive form and there were so many aspects of his game improving all the time.

“Wind the clock back in 2023 and you felt it was [Carlos] Alcaraz that had raised the bar and he was the youngster that was going to dominate. But at the end of last year he didn’t play quite as well and it was Sinner who was the talk of the town.

“The first opportunity in 2024, he’s stepped up and produced the goods when he was really up against it in this final. He thoroughly deserves it.”

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