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Jannik Sinner Storms Back to Defeat Daniil Medvedev for the 2024 Australian Open Title

Jannik Sinner Australian Open

22-year-old Jannik Sinner pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in Grand Slam final history on Sunday in Melbourne, recovering from two sets down to best Daniil Medvedev 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 in 3 hours and 44 minutes the 2024 Australian Open final.

This marks Sinner’s first Grand Slam title, and the first Slam won by an Italian man since Adriano Panatta in 1976.

Sinner is the youngest man to win the Australian Open since Novak Djokovic in 2008, and joins Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Stan Wawrinka as the only men to win the Australian Open men’s singles title since 2006.

For Medevev, it was once again utter heartbreak at the “Happy Slam.”

The 27-year-old Russian became the first player to lose multiple Grand Slam finals from a two-set-to-love advantage. He drops to 1-5 in Slam finals, and is the only man in history to play in at least six Slam finals and only notch one win.

It was not all sour for Medvedev, as during the first 90 minutes of the match, it seemed as if he was going to roll to his second Grand Slam title.

Medvedev rolls in the first set

From the jump, it was clear Medvedev would be the aggressor. This came as a bit of a shock, as the Russian is known as one of the best defensive players in the world. However, he clearly wanted to avoid as many lengthy baseline exchanges as possible.

Medvedev stood several feet closer to the baseline than he typically does on service return. This seemed to throw off the young Italian’s game plan altogether, and Medvedev was able to exploit it. He broke Sinner in the third game of the match and capped off the 6-3 first-set victory with another break at 5-3.

The No. 3 seed was ultra-aggressive in the first set, consistently belting forehands at 80+ MPH. He hit 14 winners compared to Sinner’s five and won 9/13 second-serve return points. Medvedev handled business on his serve, knocking in six aces with an 86 percent hit rate on first serves. He lost just five points on serve all set.

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Much of the same in set two

The second set was more of the same, with Medvedev securing an early break as the clear aggressor. He captured a second break to take a 5-1 lead, winning 30/41 of the points in the first six games of the set. However, Sinner sparked some life into the match in the seventh game of the second set.

Sinner secured a relatively straightforward break by coming to the net and putting Medvedev on his heels. After a hold at 2-5, Medvedev stepped to the line to serve out the second set.

With newfound confidence, Sinner gave the 27-year-old all he could handle in the game. The Italian had a look at a breakpoint, but after a ten-point game, Medvedev came up with a few clutch first serves to close out the set 6-3.

Medvedev knocked in just 50 percent of his first serves in the second set, but surprisingly, his effectiveness at the net proved to be the difference. The Russian won 8/12 net points and dominated Sinner in five-to-eight-shot rallies (16-7).

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Sinner finds his legs in the third

If the end of the second set proved anything, it was that the young Italian would not roll over in this match. It is important to remember that this was far and away the biggest match of the 22-year-old’s early career. That pressure, paired with a stylistic curveball from his opponent, made it obvious why Sinner was on his heels early.

The third set was a service clinic by both men.

Each of the first eight service games was very straightforward. Neither player saw a breakpoint opportunity as they combined to drop just ten points on serve.

It did, however, get hairy with Sinner serving at 4-4. Up 40-15, the Italian hit back-to-back forehand unforced errors, putting Medvedev just six points away from the title. Sinner responded well, knocking in a pair of clutch first serves to close out the game.

Sinner took off to a 0-30 lead in the tenth game of the set, but Medvedev rattled off three consecutive points to give himself a game point. That is where it unraveled for the Russian. Medvedev lost the final three points of the set via three unforced forehand errors. Sinner needed just the one break point to seal the set 6-4.

Medvedev’s serve percentage dropped significantly in the third set, as did his groundstroke speed. His average forehand speed diminished from 81 MPH in set one to 75 MPH in set three, whereas Sinner’s had increased from 76 MPH in the first set to 80 MPH in the third.

The momentum had clearly shifted in favor of the Italian. You had to wonder if Medvedev’s 2022 Australian Open final collapse against Rafael Nadal and fatigue from entering his record-tying 30th set of a Slam was creeping into the back of his mind.

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Sinner strikes again

Sinner came out to a blistering start in the fourth. He held at love to open the set and forced an early break point opportunity on Medvedev’s serve. Although he could not convert, it was clear the Italian had fully announced his presence in this final.

Down 1-2 at the first changeover of the fourth set, Medvedev called out the trainer to re-wrap his right foot. While the Russian was not suffering from a specific injury, it was clear the wear and tear of 23+ hours on-court was starting to affect him. Medvedev, however, was able to fight off another break point and keep the fourth set on serve at 2-2.

It was clear the rest of this match would be a rock fight.

Medvedev created his first breakpoint chance since the second set at 2-2 in the fourth, but the young Italian was able to maneuver out of it with three consecutive first serves, including two aces.

At 4-4 in the fourth, Medvedev was beginning his 296th game of the tournament. According to ESPN, this was the second-most games played by a player at the Australian Open in the Open Era.

Serving to stay in the set at 4-5, Medvedev felt the full arsenal of Sinner’s game. The Italian pounded groundstrokes deep into the court, setting up a set point. Like the third set, it only took one, as a Medvedev unforced error handed Sinner the fourth set 6-4.

Medvedev entered his fourth five-set match of the tournament, and was now the clear betting underdog with all the momentum in the corner of Sinner.

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Sinner completes the epic comeback

It is important to note, heading into this match, Medvedev was 7-9 in five-set matches; Sinner was 5-7.

Despite the momentum, it was a shaky start to the fifth set from Sinner, but at 30-30 in the first game, the Italian held his nerve during a 39-shot rally. He subsequently closed the first game of the fifth set out with an ace, a massive hold as he looked to notch his first Grand Slam title.

The sixth game of the fifth set was ultimately where it came crashing down for Medvedev.

Stepping to the service line at 2-3, Medvedev quickly fell down 0-40 after a few unforced errors. It was clear Sinner’s legs were much fresher, and on his second breakpoint of the game, the 22-year-old pounded a cross-court forehand winner to take the break and a 4-2 advantage in the fifth.

Sinner was able to consolidate and hold for 5-2. Medvedev was not rolling over, but it was clear after 31 sets of tennis over the last two weeks, his legs were completely gone.

Medvedev held at 2-5 and forced Sinner to serve it out if he wanted to win his maiden Grand Slam title.

After getting out to a 30-0 lead, two tight forehand misses from Sinner opened the door for Medvedev. However, the 22-year-old Italian was not to be denied as he came up with back-to-back massive first serves and a blistering forehand winner to claim his first Grand Slam title.

Jannik Sinner has arrived, and the future of men’s tennis is in terrific hands.

Main Photo Credit: Mike Frey – USA TODAY Sports


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