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Sinner Rallies Past Medvedev in 5 Sets to Win Australian Open

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 28: Jannik Sinner of Italy poses with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup during the official presentation after their Men’s Singles Final match against Daniil Medvedev during the 2024 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 28, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Staring down a two-set deficit, the walls were closing in on Jannik Sinner.

Cracking deep drives with complete commitment, Sinner battered the barrier across net to hit his way into history.

In a topsy-turvy Australian Open final, Sinner roared back from a two-set deficit defeating Daniil Medvedev 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 to capture his maiden major championship.

The 22-year-old Sinner made history as the first Italian to win the Australian Open singles crown and follows legendary Adriano Pannatta,the 1976 Roland Garros champion, as the first Italian man in 48 years to raise a Grand Slam title trophy.

The fourth-seeded Sinner slashed one final forehand down the line then dropped to the blue hard court in pure bliss completing a captivating comeback in three hours, 44 minutes.

“First of all Daniil I just want to congrats you and your team for an amazing tournament again,” Sinner told Medvedev during the trophy presentation. “I know we played so many finals together. Every match I find something I can improve.

“You make me a much, much better player. Obviously, your effort has been awesome throughout the whole tournament. The hours on the court and today running for every ball it’s remarkable to see. I hope you can lift this trophy here, but I’m sure that you can so I wish you all the best for the season.”

Sinner, who snapped world No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s 33-match AO winning streak with a commanding semifinal victory, is 27-2 since the US Open and despite the rankings he’s clearly playing the best tennis of any man in the world.

If you doubt it, consider Sinner has now won 10 of his last 11 matches against Top 5-ranked players, he’s beaten Medvedev four times in a row and defeated Djokovic in three of their last four meetings, including saving match points to prevail in a gripping Davis Cup semifinal. Sinner is the youngest man since Djokovic in 2008 to master Melbourne.

One man’s bliss is another’s brutality and Medvedev, who poured every piece of himself into this final, stared vacantly into space afterward absorbing the pain of coming so close to his second major championship.

It’s an absolutely gut-wrenching loss for Medvedev, marking the second time in three years he squandered a two-set lead in the Australian Open final. Medvedev, who was contesting his sixth final in his last 10 hard-court majors, was up two sets on Rafael Nadal before bowing in five sets in the 2022 Australian Open final.

Medvedev made ignominious history as the first man in the Open Era to lose two Slam finals from two sets up, but you have to respect the grit and guts he showed tonight putting up a tremendous final fight despite spending nearly six hours longer than Sinner on court just to reach the final.

In the final games, Medvedev’s legs looked like licorice as he tried to hang on, but Sinner was simply too strong down the stretch.

“I got a little tired physically, but like every other match before, just every other match before, my opponents didn’t manage to take advantage of it or them also, they became tired,” said Medvedev, who dropped to 7-10 in five-setters, in his post-match press conference. “Jannik didn’t really, because in the fifth set I was, like every other match, I was trying to be proud of myself, and I am.

“I was fighting, I was running. I was, like, I will try to, if tomorrow I don’t feel my legs it doesn’t matter, I’m going to try everything I can today until the last point, and I did it. And there were some points in the end where he was not — I mean, adrenaline going, but he didn’t seem as tired as my opponents before. He started playing better. I got a little bit tired. Serve went a little bit worse.

“So the momentum changed and I really tried in my mind to change it back again, because that’s what tennis is about. But I didn’t manage to do it, and that’s why he’s the winner and has the trophy.”

For the fifth time in the last eight years, the AO final would be decided in a fifth set. For Medvedev, it would prove to be devastating deja vu of his 2022 final loss when he fell 2-6, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 to Nadal.

Midway through the final set, the toll of four five-setters and more than 24 hours total on court drained the 6’6” Russian’s legs.

Lacking lift on his serve, Medvedev was missing first serves and Sinner was swarming.

Cracking a series of sharp forehands, Sinner broke the reeling big man for a 4-3 lead three hours, 33 minutes into this final. Closing in on the dream, Sinner turned and pumped a clench fist to his team, who leaped to their feet in elation seeing the finish line so close.

A resolute Sinner slashed one final forehand to close a gripping three hour, 44 minute triumph.