Jannik Sinner pulled up a hand, blasted it down the line, and collapsed to the ground on his back, giving himself a little time to digest how he had come back from two sets down to win his first Grand Slam victory. Sinner, 22, used defense to attack in his first major final, defeating Daniil Medvedev 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 at the Australian Open on Sunday.
It was his third consecutive win against a top-five player, following his quarterfinal victory over No. 5 Andrey Rublev and his semifinal shock of No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who had previously dominated the tournament. Only Djokovic and Roger Federer have done so in a major held on hard courts.
Sinner is the first Italian to win the Australian Open, as well as the youngest winner of a men’s final since Djokovic’s maiden Grand Slam championship in 2008.
With Carlos Alcaraz, 20, winning Wimbledon and Sinner winning the season’s first major, a generational change is underway.
“It’s been a hell of a journey,” Sinner said, “even though I’m only 22. It’s obviously a huge tournament for me. But I want to thank everyone for making this Slam so special.”
Medvedev, the 2021 US Open winner, suffered his sixth loss in six major finals. Medvedev, the third seed, broke Alcaraz’s record of 23:40 at the 2022 US Open by playing his fourth five-set match of the tournament and spending 24 hours and 17 minutes on court. Also read: Australian Open Men’s Final Prediction: Jannik Sinner Vs Daniil Medvedev
He is also the first in the Open era to lose two Grand Slam finals in five sets after leading 2-0. Medvedev lost two Australian Open finals in a row, first against Djokovic in 2021 and then to Rafael Nadal after leading by two sets the following year. He won three five-set matches to go to this year’s title match, his sixth Grand Slam final.
Medvedev had to come back from two sets down in two of his five-set matches: a second-round win over Emil Ruusuvuori that ended at nearly 4 a.m., and a 4-hour, 18-minute semifinal win over No. 6 Alexander Zverev. Nobody had done it on their way to the Australian Open final since Pete Sampras in 1995.
The 27-year-old Russian had spent 20 hours and 33 minutes on the court over six rounds.
That took nearly six hours longer than Sinner did to reach the final. Sinner didn’t give Djokovic a chance at a break point as he broke the 10-time Australian Open champion’s 33-match unbeaten streak at Melbourne Park stretching back to 2018.
However, against Medvedev, he was in danger right away. Medvedev broke in the third game, winning the opening set in 36 minutes. Also read: Jannik Sinner Ends Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open Reign In Semifinals
He had two more service breaks in the fourth and sixth games of the second set, but was broken himself at 5-1 while attempting to serve it out. He was successful on his next attempt. The third set was played on service until the tenth game, when Medvedev was one point away from levelling at 5-5 but three forehand errors handed Sinner the set and momentum.
He took the fourth set with another service break in the tenth game, returning quickly to win three points after mishitting a forehand so far out that it stunned the Rod Laver Arena audience.
Medvedev had faced Djokovic or Rafael Nadal in each of his previous five major finals. He defeated Djokovic to win the 2021 US Open, but lost all of his subsequent matches, including the 2021 final in Australia against Djokovic and the 2022 final against Nadal after capturing the first two sets.
“I want to congratulate Jannik because today you showed it again why you deserve it,” Medvedev said. “So, winning a lot of matches and probably that’s not your last Grand Slam, but I hope I can try to get the next one if you play in the final because it’s been, what, three finals in a row!”
Medvedev also sent a message to his family in his on-court interview:
“Unfortunately I couldn’t make it today, but I’m going to try to make it, work next time for you,” he said. “It always hurts to lose in the final, but probably being in the final is better than losing before.
“So, I guess, yeah, I have to try harder next time, but I’m proud of myself.”
Medvedev has stated throughout the competition that he has more stamina than he used to and is mentally tougher in tough five-set matches. He shown remarkable endurance, but came up just short — again. Medvedev won his first six matches against Sinner, but has already lost four straight, including three finals. Also read: Australian Open 2024: Daniil Medvedev takes out Hubert Hurkacz
Rafael Nadal, a 22-time Grand Slam winner who missed the 2024 Australian Open due to a hip injury sustained earlier this month in Brisbane, praised the Italian for his “awesome” feat. He wrote, “Awesome, Jan. Well done. Great tournament for your first Grand Slam!!! Greetings to you, your team, your family, and all of Italy, who won today alongside you.”