Laura Robson Weighs In: Novak Djokovic's Loss to Jannik Sinner Raises Eyebrows

Novak Djokovic lost to Jannik Sinner in the Australian Open semi-final

by Jovica Ilic
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Laura Robson Weighs In: Novak Djokovic's Loss to Jannik Sinner Raises Eyebrows
© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic suffered two losses in January, falling to Alex de Minaur at the United Cup and losing the Australian Open title to Jannik Sinner. Despite that, world no. 1 remains the player to beat for former WTA player Laura Robson.

The Briton backs Novak to chase notable titles in the rest of the season. However, Robson admitted Djokovic will have to play at his best among his closest rivals, as it's not enough to oust them while performing at 50%. Novak is enjoying his time off the court before returning to action in Indian Wells, competing in the desert for the first time in five years.

The Serb is still focused on the four most important tournaments of the season, eager to challenge the young rivals and add more notable trophies to his name.

Jannik Sinner© Julian Finney / Staff Getty Images Sport

Djokovic struggled with a wrist injury at the United Cup, beating three rivals before falling to Alex de Minaur.

The Aussie beat the Serb 6-4, 6-4 in an hour and 33 minutes, delivering one of his career-best performances and toppling world no. 1. De Minaur never faced a break point, playing flawless tennis behind the first serve and keeping the pressure on the other side.

Alex broke Novak once in each set, controlling the scoreboard and sending Australia over the top. Djokovic led 40-15 in the seventh game of the opening set before facing two break points, canceling them with winners and firing an ace for 4-3.

Alex pushed strong on the return in the ninth game, earning three break points and converting the second to forge the lead. The Aussie served for the set at 5-4 and held at 15, wrapping up the opener and gaining a boost. Djokovic stood powerless on the return in the second set and could not deliver his usual power from the initial shot and groundstrokes.

The Serb led 40-15 in the seventh game before experiencing issues, hitting a double fault and losing serve to seal his fate. De Minaur held at love in game eight, cementing the lead and serving for victory at 5-4. Novak saved three match points and reached the first deuce on the return.

However, Alex stayed calm and seized the fourth match point, celebrating a notable win at the beginning of the season. A few weeks later, Djokovic lost his Australian Open crown to Jannik Sinner, falling in the semi-final for the first time at Melbourne Park.

Novak Djokovic, Australian Open 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Laura Robson believes in Novak Djokovic's comeback in the rest of the season.

Jannik ousted Novak 6-1, 6-2, 6-7, 6-43 following a rock-solid display, never facing a break point and mounting the pressure on the other side.

Djokovic could not follow the rival's pace, spraying over 50 unforced errors and suffering five breaks from 11 chances offered to the young gun. Carried by two wins over Novak in the closing stages of 2023, Jannik stepped onto the court with full confidence, taming his strokes nicely and outplaying a ten-time winner.

The young gun lost 27 points on serve, keeping the veteran away from break points for the first time in completed matches at Majors! Sinner did everything right in the shortest exchanges up to four strokes, outplaying Djokovic like only a few players before him and sailing over the top.

Novak saved a match point in the tie break of the third set, giving everything to stay in touch. However, Jannik made a fresh start in the fourth set and clinched one break to emerge at the top. Sinner controlled the pace in the opening two sets, delivering four breaks and building a 6-1, 6-2 advantage in 73 minutes!

After one of his worst starts at Majors in a career, Djokovic survived an early scare at the beginning of the third set and served well in the remaining game to reach a tie break. Novak saved a match point at 5-6 and stole the breaker 8-6, extending the battle after two and a half hours.

However, Sinner regrouped quickly and kept a high level in the fourth set, serving well and challenging Djokovic to repeat that. The Italian grabbed a decisive break in the fourth game after the Serb's backhand error, moving in front and holding after two deuces in the next one for a massive 4-1 lead.

Jannik secured the seventh game at love and served for the victory at 5-3. Sinner fired a forehand down the line winner on a match point, celebrating a notable win and moving into the final.

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

"I was more surprised with Novak's level against Jannik than by the loss itself.

Novak was so flat in the opening two sets, which you never see from him. Losing to Jannik in the semi-final is far from catastrophe, and it's hard to read much from Novak's two defeats in 2024. He is still the world's best player, winning almost everything.

However, the young guns are confident to challenge him in a best-of-five duels, which was not the case before. Even when Novak did not play at his best, his rivals could not take advantage of that. Now, he can not perform at 50% against the young rivals and hope to beat them.

However, I would not be too worried about that, knowing how well Novak moves at his age. He is among those athletes who could play until they are 55," Laura Robson said.

Novak Djokovic Jannik Sinner Australian Open
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