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Sinner beats Medvedev to lift Australian Open 2024 title; becomes 1st Italian to win a Grand Slam in 48 years

Jannik Sinner made history by becoming the first Italian in 48 years to claim a Grand Slam title, achieving this milestone with a remarkable victory over Daniil Medvedev to secure the Australian Open 2024 championship on Sunday.

tennis Jannik Sinner beats Daniil Medvedev to lift Australian Open 2024 title; becomes 1st Italian to win a Grand Slam in 48 years snt
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First Published Jan 28, 2024, 6:02 PM IST

Jannik Sinner staged an incredible comeback against Daniil Medvedev to clinch the Australian Open 2024 title in a thrilling five-setter in Melbourne on Sunday. The 22-year-old, making history as the first Italian to win a Grand Slam since Adriano Panatta in 1976, defeated the third-seeded Russian 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 to secure his maiden major title. Sinner surged back following Medvedev’s strong start at the Rod Laver Arena, sealing victory after a gripping three-hour and 45-minute battle, marking his fourth consecutive tour-level win against his opponent.

With this triumph, Sinner etched his name in history as the first Italian man to win a Grand Slam since Adriano Panatta in 1976. The World No. 4, who dropped just one set en route to the final, halted Novak Djokovic’s 33-match winning streak at the Australian Open, securing his 19th win in 20 matches in the semi-finals. Notably, the 22-year-old has emerged victorious in 10 of his past 11 matches against Top 5 opponents.

Sinner has now become the 27th man in the Open Era to hoist the Australian Open trophy and become the first new men’s champion since Stan Wawrinka in 2014.

In a bitter turn of events for Medvedev, who twice battled back from two sets down to reach the championship match, he couldn't thwart an inspired Sinner from repeating the feat with the trophy on the line. With a Grand Slam final record now at 1-5, Medvedev missed the chance to join the ranks of active players with multiple major singles titles and surpass Carlos Alcaraz to claim the No. 2 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. He also became the first player to lose two major finals after leading by two sets, having previously fallen to Rafael Nadal in the 2022 title match in five sets.

As the match progressed, Sinner seemed to display greater stamina compared to his opponent, likely attributed to dropping just one set en route to the final, whereas Medvedev struggled through eight sets. While initially overwhelmed by his opponent's aggressive approach in the opening sets, the Italian gradually relied on his consistent and powerful hitting to take control of rallies and wear down the third seed.

Set One: Medvedev stormed out of the gates in Melbourne, asserting early dominance. He opted for a closer position to the baseline, disrupting Sinner's rhythm and hindering his free-flowing strokes. Breaking Sinner's serve in the third game, the World No. 3 showcased strong serving, winning an impressive 84 percent of points on his first delivery to seize the lead.

Set Two: Maintaining his aggressive approach, Medvedev unleashed winners from both wings in the second set, often dictating the rallies from the outset. Despite Sinner's resilience, having been broken only twice en route to the final, he faced relentless pressure on serve from the 27-year-old Russian, who adopted an early ball-striking tactic. Medvedev's departure from his usual deep-court stance caused challenges for Sinner, with the Russian notching 23 winners during their 85-minute exchange on court. Although Medvedev surged to a 5-1 lead, Sinner fought back to 5-3, pressing for a break point on Medvedev's serve, but the third seed held firm to extend his advantage.

Looking to reverse the match's trajectory, Sinner draws inspiration from Medvedev's past challenges against Nadal in a similar scenario.

Set Three: Sinner initiated the third set with renewed authority, crucially holding serve early on, a feat he struggled to achieve in the initial two sets. The Italian navigated the set without facing a break point, compelling Medvedev to retreat deeper with his pace of shot. Seizing the opportunity at 4-4, Sinner held from deuce before breaking immediately after, establishing a foothold in the match after two hours and 11 minutes.

Set Four: Pushing Medvedev further back in the fourth set, Sinner began to dictate proceedings, consistently finding success with his backhand down the line. Despite facing a break point in the sixth game, Sinner showcased resilience, saving it with an ace. Accelerating his tempo in the closing stages, he combined precise serving with powerful groundstrokes, forcing a decider with 15 winners in the set.

Set Five: Maintaining his aggressive stance in the fifth set, Sinner drew support from the enthusiastic crowd. Accumulating nine winners, he broke Medvedev's serve in the eighth game, capitalizing on a deep cross-court return to secure victory with a forehand winner into the open court. Sinner sealed the match on serve, marking the pinnacle of his career.

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