World no. 1 Novak Djokovic encountered a decisive defeat in the Australian Open semi-final, succumbing to the eventual champion Jannik Sinner in a resounding 6-1, 6-2, 6-7, 6-3 loss that spanned three hours and 22 minutes. This marked a significant departure for a ten-time champion, experiencing his first setback at Melbourne Park after advancing past the quarter-final stage.
Surprisingly, Djokovic exhibited a subdued reaction following the match, which raised eyebrows, including those of his former coach Boris Becker. Becker, however, shed light on Djokovic's demeanor, suggesting that the Serb recognized the gap in his performance against the formidable Sinner.
Novak suffered his first Australian Open loss after 33 straight wins, spraying over 50 unforced errors and never creating a break point!
Also, the Serb made one of his worst starts at Majors, taking only three games in the first two sets and providing the Italian with a massive boost! Djokovic fought well in the third set, denying an early break point and reaching a tie break.
He defended a match point and stole it before sending his rival over the top after giving serve away once in the fourth set. Sinner beat Djokovic two times in the closing stages of 2023, building confidence around that and producing a stellar performance.
The young gun outplayed the veteran in the shortest exchanges up to four strokes, taming his strokes nicely and keeping the pressure on the other side. As we already said, Jannik never faced a break point while pushing Novak's initial shot to the limits.
The Italian created 11 chances and seized five, enough to sail into his first Major final. Jannik made a strong start against a formidable rival, serving well in the opener and gaining momentum with an early boost. Sinner produced two fine holds and grabbed an early break with a forehand drive-volley winner in game two.
Still warming up his engines, Novak faced another break point in the fourth game, denying it with a forehand winner and holding to add his name to the scoreboard.
Boris Becker left surprised after Novak Djokovic's Australian Open loss.
Struggling to provide free points or impose his strokes, the defending champion experienced more issues at 1-4.
Djokovic played a loose backhand and got broken for the second time, pushing Sinner 5-1 in front. Sinner notched another comfortable hold in game seven, drawing Djokovic's error and wrapping up the first set 6-1 in 35 minutes.
Novak served at 75% in the second set but could not end his struggle or turn the tables after Jannik's rock-solid performance. The young gun dropped four points in his games and made the difference with two breaks on his tally that pushed him further in front.
Djokovic sprayed a backhand error at 1-1, losing serve and finding himself 3-1 down after Sinner's service winner in the next one. Jannik forged a 4-2 lead and made another statement on the return in game seven, clinching a break after Novak's forehand mistake and moving further in front.
The Italian served for the set at 5-2 and made no errors, forcing the Serb's error and opening two sets to love advantage in a swift 73 minutes! Jannik squandered a break chance at the beginning of the third set, and Novak raised his level behind the initial shot in the remaining games.
The Serb followed the Italian's pace, and they reached a tie break after Sinner's smash winner in game 12. Jannik climbed back from 2-4 and fired a forehand winner in the ninth point for 5-4. Novak stayed in touch with a lob winner in the tenth point before his rival fired a booming serve and created a match point.
Djokovic stayed calm and saved it with a forced error. The veteran stole the breaker 8-6, producing a massive escape and extending the battle after two and a half hours.
Sinner left that opportunity behind and made a fresh start in the fourth set, confident in his abilities. Novak denied two break points in the second game before struggling again at 1-2. Djokovic squandered a 40-0 lead and faced a break point after a costly double fault.
Novak played a wayward backhand, falling 3-1 behind and sealing his fate in this match. Jannik served well in the upcoming games, forging a 5-2 lead and forcing Novak to serve to stay in the match in game eight. Djokovic held at love, reducing the gap and hoping for his first return chances at 3-5.
Instead, Jannik fired two service winners at 15-30 and seized the first match point with a forehand down the line winner, celebrating a notable victory and sending Novak packing. "Novak's reaction following the loss was surprising.
We do not see him that relaxed that often after the defeats. Novak probably realized his form was not there in Melbourne this year. Also, Jannik was simply better than him, and he admitted that; that's what makes a champion.
Jannik's win was not surprising, but the way he achieved it was. Jannik kept his coolness and served well throughout the duel. Novak is the best returner of all time, and he still failed to create a match point. That's the story of the match.
Novak did not bring his A-game to Melbourne this year, struggling to find the rhythm and behind the initial shot in almost every match. It was not enough to beat Jannik," Boris Becker said.