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MORE SPORTS | Jan 26

Australian Open Men’s Finals: Sinner vs Medvedev – Where’s Djokovic?

Jannik Sinner Dispatched 10x AO Winner Novak Djokovic, While Daniil Medvedev Rallied to Beat Alexander Zverev

Novak Djokovic
Denmark's Holger Rune reacts during his men's singles quarter-final match against Serbia's Novak Djokovic on day five of the Paris ATP Masters 1000 tennis tournament at the Accor Arena - Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy - in Paris on November 3, 2023 - JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP

No Novak?😭

I felt that [Novak] wasn’t feeling too great on court and I kept pushing… – Sinner

In breaking tennis news, Jannik Sinner shocked the world and dispatched 10x Aussie Open winner Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. He will meet the No. 3 player in the world, Daniil Medvedev, in the finals.

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WTF! Joker’s Out?!

They say you can’t win them all but no one ever told that to Novak Djokovic when he’s competing in the Australian Open. The man has already established himself as the best to ever swing a racket but when he’s Down Under he has been head and shoulders above the rest.

The Serbian Sensation holds the record with 24 Grand Slam titles and 10 of them have come at the Australian Open. His record in Melbourne is unparalleled and although he has not won every Australian Open he’s entered, he’s come pretty damn close, winning every semifinal and finals match for a perfect 20-0 mark in the stages that mean the most.

Oh, but wait. He’s now 20-1 after his unblemished mark was tarnished by a 22-year-old redheaded kid, Jannik Sinner, who would fit in perfectly with Donnie Wahlberg’s Irish crew in South Boston. But the thing is Sinner’s from northern Italy, born to Italian parents, and just beat an icon in his own sandbox.

It couldn’t have been a complete shock as Sinner bested Djokovic twice last year but beating the king on his own court is on a completely different level. You could say that Djokovic is the Wizard of Oz as he’s been that thoroughly dominant but he certainly didn’t look like a magician in his latest outing.

With all due respect to Sinner, Djokovic was uncharacteristically vulnerable, failing to break Sinner’s serve even once and having his own serve broken on five occasions. After falling behind two sets, Djokovic did manage to mount a comeback, winning the third set 7-6, but Sinner was undeterred and extinguished any chance of a trademark Djokovic comeback when he clinched the final set, 6-3.

When the match ended with Sinner prevailing, 6-1, 6-2, 6-7(6), 6-3 the two shook hands at midcourt and Djokovic was triumphant even in defeat, allowing Sinner to bask in the moment. The king had lost his crown but maintained his dignity and something tells me we’ll be seeing Djokovic at a Grand Slam Final sooner rather than later.

The Finals Are Set

This is one of the few instances where the finale of a Grand Slam event is almost anticlimactic. The Australian Open schedule certainly looks a whole lot different without Djokovic in the final bracket but here we are.

The No. 4 player in the world, young Jannik Sinner, will be going toe-to-toe with No. 3 Daniil Medvedev, who mounted a furious rally to beat German Alexander Zverev (5-7, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-3) after dropping the first two sets.

But an Australian Open without Djokovic is like going to a strip joint and watching the beautiful women dance in snowsuits. It’s just not the same. Nevertheless, the young guns who are competing have said all the right things.

Sinner after beating Djokovic: “It was a very tough match. I started off really well for two sets. I felt that he wasn’t feeling too great on court and I kept pushing. Then, in the third set, I missed match point but you know this is tennis and I just tried to be ready for the next set. I started really well and obviously, the atmosphere was really great.”

Medvedev after beating Zverev: “I was a little bit lost but during the third set I started saying that ‘if I lose this match, I want to be proud of myself, I want to fight for every point.’ I’m very proud.

“Physically and mentally it’s tough five sets. Many times, in the fifth I was not strong enough. One month ago, I wanted to change a little bit to try to be even more strong mentally. I’m still yet far from being perfect but I’m trying.”

By all accounts, this one should be a dandy. But we’re all just a little let-down, aren’t we? We really shouldn’t be as the cream has definitely risen to the top and these two world-class talents deserve to be here. If you’re wondering what the Australian Open odds are on this one, then wonder no longer as BetUS has Skinner -275/+210.

I’m not sure if the giant slayer, Skinner, is worth the steep price but maybe Medvedev will be exhausted from his previous match. To be honest, I’m just a little bummed out about the Joker being absent from the main event. But hey, he’s +225 to win the French Open so here’s to him reigning supreme for the second consecutive year at Roland-Garros!

 

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