Schett backs Jannik Sinner to challenge Novak Djokovic in Melbourne

Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner are in the same half of the draw at the Australian Open

by Jovica Ilic
Schett backs Jannik Sinner to challenge Novak Djokovic in Melbourne
© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner are projected to meet in the Australian Open semi-final. Novak and Jannik were the rivals to beat in the 2023 closing stages, and we should see them in action against each other if they both score five wins at Melbourne Park.

Barbara Schett believes in Jannik's abilities to challenge Novak at his most successful Major, praising the Italian's progress in the final months of 2023. Schett is confident in Sinner's physical strength ahead of the season's first Major, backing him to make a name for himself.

Djokovic and Sinner played four encounters on the notable scene in the second part of 2023, earning two wins each. The Serb and the Italian arranged the Wimbledon semi-final duel, and the defending champion scored a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 triumph in two hours and 48 minutes, moving into his 35th Major final.

It was Novak's 34th straight win at The All England Club, playing well in the opening two sets and defending two set points in the third. Djokovic saved all six break points and kept the pressure on the other side. He broke early in the first set and defended three break chances for 6-3.

Novak grabbed another break at the start of the second set, serving well and holding at 15 at 5-4 to forge a massive two sets to love advantage after an hour and 39 minutes. Sinner served better in the third set and created two set points on the return at 5-4.

Novak saved them and held with a forehand drive-volley winner, staying focused despite being distracted by someone from the crowd. The Serb won the tie break 7-4 to emerge at the top and extend his Wimbledon streak. Jannik claimed titles in Toronto, Beijing and Vienna, heading to Turin as world no.

4. The Italian played well in front of the home fans at the ATP Finals, delivering his first victory over the Serb in the second round-robin clash. Jannik overpowered Novak 7-5, 6-7, 7-6 in three hours and eight minutes, remaining perfect and moving closer to a place in the semi-final.

Jannik Sinner & Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon 2023© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

They fired 35 aces on the fast indoor court and created only six break points. Jannik lost serve once and broke Novak two times, prevailing in the pivotal moments and giving the crowd in Turin something to cheer about.

Djokovic forged a 40-0 advantage in the opener's 11th game before dropping five straight points and pushing Sinner in front. The Italian held at love at 6-5, wrapping up the opener in style and gaining a boost. The second set had no break chances, with both players serving well and reaching a tie break.

Jannik missed a forehand at 4-5, and Novak seized the second set point with a service winner, introducing a decider after two hours and five minutes. Sinner broke Djokovic for a 4-2 advantage in the final set before the Serb pulled it back in the next one, returning to the positive side.

They served well in the remaining games, arranging a deciding tie break. Jannik made a fresh start and moved 5-0 in front with a service winner. The young gun fired a smash winner at 6-2, celebrating a massive victory.

Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner could meet in the Australian Open semi-final.

Novak and Jannik met in the final, and the Serb turned the tables in a 6-3, 6-3 triumph, producing the record-breaking seventh ATP Finals crown.

Djokovic played well on serve and return to deserve the seventh title of the season, wrapping up the year perfectly. Novak played against only two break points, saving them and mounting the pressure on Jannik. The Italian played miles below his best, struggling and losing serve three times to propel the Serb over the top and settle with a runner-up prize.

Six days later, Djokovic and Sinner battled in the Davis Cup Finals semi-final, with the Serb missing a great chance to propel his country into the title clash. Jannik overpowered Novak 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 after saving three match points in the final set's tenth game, keeping Italy alive.

They dominated sets one and two each and stayed neck and neck in the decider for more drama. Sinner lost five points behind the initial shot in the opener and secured back-to-back breaks for a massive advantage and a boost.

Novak Djokovic & Jannik Sinner, ATP Finals 2023© Valerio Pennicino / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Jannik broke Novak in games three and five and fired an ace at 5-2 to wrap up the opener after 37 minutes.

Djokovic responded strongly in the second set, losing four points in his games and delivering two breaks to force a decider after an hour and 19 minutes. Novak could have moved in front in the second game, earning a break chance and reaching seven deuces.

Jannik saved it and endured the challenges, holding for 1-1. Djokovic faced no issues on serve in the upcoming games, creating a break chance at 4-3. Sinner saved it with a forehand drive-volley winner and held for 4-4. Novak held at love in game nine and earned three match points on the return at 5-4.

Jannik got out of jail with decisive hitting, landing two service winners for a hold and 5-5 and a massive boost. The Italian grabbed a break in game 11 with a forehand down the line winner and sealed the deal on his serve in the next one, beating the Serb for the second time within a week.

"Jannik took a step forward at the end of 2023, embracing an excellent finish to the season. His ATP Finals level was phenomenal; we should expect more improvements from him. Darren Cahill is from Australia, and Jannik can benefit from that.

He can beat anyone when having his day, and I think he is ready for the best-of-five challenges in Melbourne," Barbara Schett said.

Jannik Sinner Novak Djokovic Australian Open