There's a data that Sinner can 'cling to', in the challenge against Djokovic

Tomorrow, the young Italian and the Serbian champion will compete in the highly anticipated semifinal of the Australian Open 2024

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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There's a data that Sinner can 'cling to', in the challenge against Djokovic
© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport

Is an impossible mission preparing for Jannik Sinner? Does the Italian have any hope of beating Novak Djokovic in the semifinal of the Australian Open 2024? The Serbian champion has arrived here with all the odds, but went through some difficulties during the course of his tournament.

But there is one fact that can be considered favorable to the young Italian tennis player. The ATP No.1 took 15 hours and 9 minutes to beat in order Dino Prizmic (4:00h) Alexei Popyrin (3:12), Tomas Etcheverry (2:31), Adrian Mannarino (1:46) and Taylor Fritz (3:48).

This was the edition in which he had to stay on the court the longest to reach the semi-final. He exceeded the 14 hours and 52 minutes that he had taken in the 2021 edition. Numbers that tell of the major difficulties encountered by the 36-year-old from Belgrade in reaching this point in Melbourne.

Sinner instead faced Botic Van De Zandchulp (2.35), Jesper De Jong (1.45), Sebastian Baez (1.54) Karen Khakhanov (2.35), Andrey Rublev (2:41). Total: 14 hours and 20.

Novak Djokovic, Australian Open 2024
Novak Djokovic, Australian Open 2024© Daniel Pockett / Stringer - Getty Images Sport
 

Sinner finished his match against Andrey Rublev in the middle of the night, having already started late in the evening. A journalists asked Djokovic if this was an advantage for him: "We have two days and I think it's not a big advantage. We'll play the semi-finals on Friday, there's all the time possible and tonight whoever wins has time to recover.

Scheduling is always an issue, we talked about it several times and even a few games ago. We can't give a clear answer on this, it's up to the organizers of the Grand Slam and the ATP circuit to make sure that all male and female tennis players feel adequately and not necessarily everyone does," explaiend the Serb.

...But there is a downside that scares Sinner

The Serbian champion reached the semifinals at the Australian Open for the 11th time. By beating Fritz in a far from simple match, the Serbian star advances to his favorite tournament, where he will find Jannik Sinner waiting for him, victorious in three sets against Andrey Rublev.

As mentioned, the ATP No.1 always finds a way to break new records. 24 Slams won, 40 ATP Masters 1000, 7 ATP Finals: but with every match Nole plays, he rewrites new records. By beating Fritz, Djokovic became the only tennis player to reach the semifinals of all four Grand Slam tournaments at least 11 times. A sensational fact.

Furthermore (just to underline his greatness, at 36 years old) the Serbian champion will in any case close his Australian Open with a goal that he had set himself at the beginning of the tournament, for which he also has to thank Carlitos Alcaraz. Djokovic will end the tournament as ATP No.1, whatever the result. With Alcaraz's simultaneous defeat in the quarter-finals against Alexander Zverev, the Serbian also secured this achievement. The Spanish young star lost a big chance to regain the throne of the ATP Tennis, considering he didn't have points to defend, in Australia.

Sinner, on the other hand, says he is ready for matches like these: the challenge against Djokovic is after all something that he will have to get used to managing, if he aspires to become the next ATP No.1. The match between Jannik and Rublev started many hours late due to the long matches that characterized the daytime session.

"It was definitely a tough match. We know each other well and each time we play better against each other. I expected a rather fast match, without long rallies. That's how it went in the first set, then we both started to respond better. I'm really happy with the performance and with being in the semi-finals," said Sinner at the press conference.

Sinner
Sinner© Cameron Spencer / Staff Getty Images Sport
 

"We didn't know exactly when we would play and there was talk of a possible change of pitch. I wouldn't have had any problems one way or the other. It's always a pleasure to play in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam tournament, so it doesn't really matter where you play. Obviously it's a privilege to play on Centrale, but I was only focused on the match," added the Italian.

On the super match with Djokovic, unbeaten in his career in the semifinals in Melbourne, Jannik explained: "This is what I train for: facing the best players in the world. He has an incredible record here. For me it's a pleasure to play against him, especially in the final stages of a tournament where things get more interesting. I can't wait to challenge him. It will be tough. I will try to give 100%, have the right attitude and fight on every point. I can't do more than this. I'm quite confident: my body will recover in the best possible way."

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