Italy’s Jannik Sinner faces 10-times Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic in Friday’s semi-final. Seeded 4, Sinner has as good a chance as any to end Djokovic’s run at the tournament.
Novak Djokovic, the 10-time AO champion, has played a total of 15 hours and nine minutes on the court in his first five matches. This is the equivalent to a long match more than Jannik Sinner’s 11 hours and 22 minutes.
The 36-year-old Djokovic faced challenges with his serve being broken eight times in the tournament by Dino Prizmic, Alexei Popyrin, and Taylor Fritz. Despite this, he progressed through his quarter, defeating 30th seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry, 20th seed Adrian Mannarino, and 12th seed Fritz.
In contrast, 22-year-old Sinner had a smoother journey, not dropping a set and being broken only twice – once by Botic van de Zandscuhlp and once by Karen Khachanov. The fourth seed successfully defeated 26th seed Sebastian Baez, 15th seed Khachanov, and fifth seed Andrey Rublev.
Notably, Sinner is the third non-“Big Three” player since 2000 to reach the AO men’s semifinals without dropping a set.
Sinner’s second Grand Slam semi-final
Sinner is in the second Grand Slam semi-final of his career, aiming to reach his first major final. If successful, he would become the first Italian player, male or female, to reach an AO final and the first to reach the final of a hard court major.
Djokovic, in his record 48th Grand Slam semifinal, seeks to extend his perfect 10-0 AO semifinal record, moving closer to a record 25th major title.
What to expect
Both Djokovic and Sinner have come to the net a notable percentage of times during AO 2024 – 15% and 19%, respectively. The match is anticipated to feature baseline rallies with cross-court and down-the-line exchanges.
Both players, known for their exceptional movement and returning skills, will likely engage in efficient serving with few free points.
Djokovic leads the head-to-head record 4-2, with Sinner winning their last encounter at the Davis Cup finals two months ago. Sinner was the first player to defeat Djokovic by saving three consecutive match points during that match, marking his second victory over the world No.1 in two weeks.
Sinner, being 14 years younger than Djokovic, appears fresher due to less time spent on the court. The Italian, eager to showcase his capabilities, aims to challenge Djokovic and prove that the younger generation can compete with the all-time greats.
After scoring his first top-five win at a major by defeating Rublev, Sinner has the potential for another upset if he maintains his impressive form.
Fingers crossed the Italian goes on to court confident and with his best game at hand.