Winner, Winner, Sinner! How He Beat the World’s Best

Winner, Winner, Sinner! How He Beat the World’s Best

By: Emma Losey

March 11, 2024

The Australian Open marks the start of the Grand Slams in tennis. Jannik Sinner dominated the tournament, and his semifinal match against world number one Novak Djokovic is one for the history books. Read more to see how he took down one of the greatest forces of tennis.

The Australian Open is a much-anticipated event for tennis fans. The greatest players in the world take a trip Down Under for the first Grand Slam of the 2024 season. Grand Slams are the most prestigious tennis tournaments, earning players the most points to boost their spot in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings. Top seed Novak Djokovic caught people’s eye from the beginning; he was defending his title from 2023 as well as a 33-match win streak on the Australian Open courts.

Enter Jannik Sinner, the 22-year-old Italian who was set to face Djokovic in the semifinal round. Going into the match, Djokovic was the clear favorite to win with 24 Grand Slam titles already under his belt. Sinner had never even made a Grand Slam final, and lost to Djokovic in four of their six matchups. This was just the semifinals, but the stage was set for a match of the ages. The first to six games wins a set; the best of five sets wins. 

The match begins. Sinner made a statement by breaking Djokovic’s serve with the first chance he had, taking an early lead. Sinner continued to dominate the opening set, forcing Djokovic to make error after error. As he ran around the court, Djokovic demonstrated a level of tennis skill we had never seen from him before, but not in a good way. Normally he was a brick wall, getting back every shot, making it look easy. In this match, Djokovic was floating balls long, hitting them into the net, and making what professionals consider to be rookie mistakes.  

For the top ranked ATP player in the world, it was jarring to see him play so poorly. Sinner’s excellence on the court was competing for the spotlight against Djokovic’s shortcomings. The first set went to Sinner, six games to one in just 35 minutes. The second set was the same story as the first. It seemed that as Sinner continued to dominate, Djokovic continued to crumble. Sinner won the second set, six games to two in 38 minutes. 

The pressure was on in the third set, because if Sinner won it, the match would end. Now was the time for Djokovic to leave everything on the court. Both players were fighting hard to win, and neither were able to break the other’s serve, leading to a tiebreaker. Tiebreakers have no standard tennis games, instead each player alternates serving and whoever gets seven points first wins. The competition was tight, with neither player able to get a good lead. However, when the time came and Djokovic had a look at a set point, he took it. The third set went to Djokovic in an hour and 16 minutes. 

As the fourth set began, the tide had shifted. With Djokovic winning the third set, the momentum was in his direction. Would the third set be a marker of a comeback, or just dumb luck? When the set started, it became clear that it was the latter. Sinner took his service games swiftly, while Djokovic struggled to maintain control. In the fourth game of the set, Sinner got the break he was looking for. 

Just five games later, Sinner had taken down one of the greatest champions the Australian Open has ever seen, defeating Djokovic in three hours and 22 minutes. It was the biggest match of Sinner’s life, and granted him his first Grand Slam title of his career. He also became the youngest Italian to win a Grand Slam after a 50-year gap where his country saw none. 

It’s safe to say this “happy slam” made one young Italian very, very happy.

Emma Losey is a senior majoring in Professional & Public Writing, and is interested in social media management, writing, and communications. Emma is currently running the Professional & Public Writing Instagram (@p2wmsu) and Facebook. Emma enjoys playing video games, cross stitch, and Legos.