Sinner rallies from two sets down to win Australian Open title
Jannik Sinner forged a stunning comeback to reach Grand Slam glory Sunday in Melbourne.
The 22-year-old fourth seed rallied from two sets down to register a 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 triumph against Daniil Medvedev and lift his maiden major trophy at the Australian Open. Sinner roared back after Medvedev’s red-hot start inside Rod Laver Arena to clinch a three-hour, 44-minute triumph, his fourth consecutive tour-level win against his rival.
With his win, Sinner became the first Italian man to win a Slam since Adriano Panatta in 1976 and just the third Italian man in history. The World No. 4, who lost just one set en route to the final, ended Novak Djokovic’s 33-match winning streak at the AO in the semi-final and after beating Medvedev has now won 20 of his past 21 tour-level matches. The 22-year-old has also won 10 of his past 11 matches against Top 5 opponents after beating Medvedev.
"I am very proud," Sinner said. "It was a very tough match. He started off really well, he moved me around the court. I could not make my game plan work but somehow in the third set I was looking for the small chances, which I used. The match changed and I am really happy with how I corrected it. There are so many emotions right now. I have to sit down and process it but an unbeliveable feeling."
The World No. 4 collapsed to the floor following match point, before he returned to his feet to embrace to roar from the crowd. Visibly emotional, he climbed into his box to hug coaches Simone Vagnozzi and Darren Cahill.
"Thanks [to] my team," Sinner said during the trophy ceremony. "Everyone who is in the box and watching from home, who works with me. We are trying to get better everyday and even during the tournament, trying to get stronger and understand the situation a little bit better. It is not easy as I am still a little bit young but I want to thank everyone."
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It was a cruel twist of fate for Medvedev, who twice came back from two sets down to reach the championship match but was unable to prevent an inspired Sinner from doing the same with the trophy on the line. Now 1-5 in Grand Slam finals, Medvedev missed the chance to become the sixth active player to win multiple major singles titles and the opportunity to leapfrog Carlos Alcaraz into No. 2 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
Sinner is just the second player in the Open Era to rally from two sets down in the Australian Open final and lift the trophy. The other was Rafael Nadal, who defeated Medvedev from a two-sets-to-love deficit in 2022.
The Italian looked the fresher of the two players as the match wore on, likely a reflection of the fact he dropped just one set en route to the final compared to Medvedev’s eight. Sinner appeared to have no answer to his opponent’s aggressive tactics in the opening two sets but increasingly used his consistent, powerful hitting to dictate rallies and grind the third seed down.
The fourth seed hit his backhand down the line with frequent success in the fourth and fifth sets and slowly pushed Medvedev back in the decider, with the third seed competing in his 31st set of the hard-court event. Sinner thundered 14 aces, hit 50 winners and broke Medvedev’s serve four times to become the first Italian champion in tournament history.
Sinner has improved to 4-6 in his Lexus ATP Head2Head series against Medvedev, while he has won three of the past six events he has played dating back to last October. The 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion also helped guide Italy to the Davis Cup trophy in November.
"I wish everyone could have my parents as they let me choose what I wanted when younger," Sinner said. "I played other sports and they never put pressure on me and I wish this freedom is as possible for as many young kids as possible, so thank you to my parents."
Medvedev flew out of the blocks in Melbourne to take early control. He stood closer to the baseline than his usual deep-lying position throughout the first set to take time away from Sinner, who struggled to hit at his free-flowing best. The World No. 3 broke Sinner's serve in the third game and was then strong on serve, winning 84 per cent (16/19) of points on his first delivery to move ahead.
Medvedev continued to go on the attack in the second set, blasting winners off both wings as he frequently made the first move in rallies. Sinner had been broken just twice en route to the final but was constantly rushed on serve by the 27-year-old, who took the ball early. The World No. 3 normally likes to hold a deep-court position and soak up pressure in lengthy baseline exchanges. However, his opposite tactic of playing front-foot tennis has caused Sinner issues throughout the first two sets, with Medvedev hitting 23 winners during the 85-minutes they have been on court.
Medvedev led 5-1 in the second set but was pegged back to 5-3, with Sinner forcing a break point on Medvedev's serve when he was trying to serve the set out. The third seed saved the break point, though, before holding to extend his advantage.
Two years ago, Medvedev led Rafael Nadal by two sets in the final before falling in five. Sinner will hope to cling onto that as he looks to turn around the match.
Sinner started the third set with more authority and crucially held serve early on, something he was unable to do in the first two sets. The Italian did not face a break point in the set and started to force Medvedev deeper with his pace of shot. He held from deuce at 4-4, before breaking immediately after to give himself a foothold in the match after two hours and 11 minutes.
Sinner forced Medvedev further and further back in the fourth set and was the one who began to really dictate, finding regular success with his backhand down the line. He was forced to dig deep in the sixth game of the set, fending off a break point with an ace. He then upped his tempo again in the closing stages of the set, backing up pinpoint serving with heavy groundstrokes to force a decider. Sinner struck 15 winners in the set.
The Italian continued to go after the ball in the fifth set and was roared on by a vocal crowd. Sinner notched 13 winners in the set and broke Medvedev’s serve in the eighth game by nailing a forehand winner into the open court after a deep cross-court return pushed the 27-year-old back. He then closed out on serve to earn the biggest win of his life.
Did You Know?
Sinner is the 27th man in the Open Era to lift the Australian Open trophy and the first new men’s champion since Stan Wawrinka in 2014. His Melbourne victory comes after a highly successful six months, during which he also lifted his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Toronto and reached the title match at the 2023 Nitto ATP Finals.