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Australian Open 2024: Jannik Sinner sinks Daniil Medvedev to win first slam title

By primenewsghana
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As Jannik Sinner trailed by two sets in his first ever grand slam final, his hopes of attaining the ultimate dream seemed increasingly remote. He looked completely lost.

Between points, he shared long, searching looks with his team. At one point, he even told them that he was “dead”. Sinner’s inexperience sharply contrasted with the nous of Daniil Medvedev, who seemed to know exactly what to do.

But Sinner dug far deeper than ever before, and somehow he gradually managed to turn his fortunes around. From staring down the prospect of likely defeat, Sinner, the fourth seed, pulled off the greatest comeback of his life to topple the third seed 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 and win his first grand slam title at Australian Open.

With his astounding victory, Sinner is just the third Italian man to win a grand slam title. At 22 years and 165 days, he is also the youngest man to win the Australian Open since Novak Djokovic in 2008 and the second man born in the 2000s to win a grand slam title after Carlos Alcaraz. It is a reflection of the dominance of the Big Three for so long and how they have snuffed out the dreams of an entire generation that there are also only two men born in the 1990s with a grand slam title.

Medvedev is one of those two players, but his pursuit of a second grand slam title has proven excruciating. This time, an incredible tournament ends in total catastrophe. After recovering from numerous deficits of his own and pushing himself to the limit, he just could not close it out. Having led Rafael Nadal by two sets in the very same stadium in the 2022 final, this is the second time he has failed to close out an Australian Open title. Medvedev is now 1-5 in grand slam finals.

Few finals have been preceded by such starkly contrasting paths. While Medvedev had been put through the ringer, enduring three five-setters, two recoveries from two sets down and multiple matches in the searing heat, Sinner had destroyed all challengers in his path. After rolling to the semi-finals without dropping a set, Sinner was dominant in his four-set defeat of Djokovic, the defending champion.

But there is nothing like the nerves of a grand slam final, where form flies out the window. The history of tennis is filled with examples of players struggling badly under the pressure of a first major final. While he had compiled a difficult 1-4 record in them, this was Medvedev’s first opponent other than Nadal or Djokovic and an opportunity to stamp his authority.

Right from the beginning, the Russian made his experience count. Sinner’s serve has been one of his defining assets of the week and he had arrived in the final having incredibly conceded serve just twice throughout the tournament. It took just two service games on Sunday for him to lose it.

While he struggled to settle down and find his range on his first serve early on, Medvedev punished him immediately by opening up his shoulders and playing free, flowing attacking tennis. As the Russian forced himself inside the baseline, striking his forehand as well as he can, Sinner was punished for his passive, nervous tennis. Medvedev quickly established a 6-3, 5-1 lead.

It was not until then, the match moving so quickly, that Sinner finally relaxed. As he began to strike the ball with more freedom, 1-5 became 3-5, with two break points to force Medvedev back on serve. Although Medvedev closed out the set, it was a start. Sinner finally found his rhythm on his first serve, easing through his service games early in the third set and keeping himself narrowly ahead.

At 5-4 in the third set, with the pressure on his opponent’s shoulders, Sinner truly stepped up. As Medvedev’s first serve wavered and unforced errors began to, the Italian finally began to strike the ball freely. He took control of the baseline and forced a fourth set.

Suddenly, the match had taken on a completely new complexion. The more Sinner’s confidence rose, the more he began to step inside the baseline and truly unload on his groundstrokes, forcing his opponent to scramble for his survival. Medvedev saved break points in his first two service games, but once again, he could not hold on under intense scoreboard pressure. At 5-4, Sinner returned brilliantly throughout the game before crushing one last forehand to force a decisive set.

It is hard to imagine that Medvedev’s defeat against Nadal did not cross his mind as he was dragged into a fifth set, and he soon met an identical ending. The 27-year-old began the final set looking completely exhausted, having spent more than 24 hours on court across the tournament, while Sinner looked like he was only just getting started. The decisive break came fast as Sinner cracked a thunderous forehand to lead 4-2 and then he held until the end, continuing his march into the history books.