Jannik Sinner became the first Italian man to win a Grand Slam title in 48 years after he rallied from two sets down to defeat Daniil Medvedev in a thrilling Australian Open final on Sunday.
Sinner makes history with maiden major
The 22-year-old Sinner, who was playing in his first Grand Slam final, showed incredible resilience and determination to overcome the world number two Medvedev, who had won the US Open last year and was aiming for his second major trophy.
Sinner, who was ranked 13th in the world, lost the first two sets 3-6, 3-6, as Medvedev dominated with his powerful serve and baseline game. The Russian looked set to cruise to a comfortable victory, but Sinner had other plans.
The Italian, who had beaten top seed Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals, found his rhythm and confidence in the third set, breaking Medvedev twice to take it 6-4. He continued his momentum in the fourth set, saving two break points in the eighth game and breaking Medvedev in the ninth to level the match at two sets apiece.
The fifth and decisive set was a tense and dramatic affair, as both players fought for every point. Sinner saved a break point in the fourth game and broke Medvedev in the sixth to take a 4-2 lead. He then held his nerve and served out the match, sealing the victory with a forehand winner after 3 hours and 44 minutes of intense battle.
Sinner collapsed to the ground in disbelief and joy, as he became the third Italian man to win a Grand Slam title, after Adriano Panatta in 1976 and Nicola Pietrangeli in 1959 and 1960. He also became the youngest man to win a major since Juan Martin del Potro in 2009, and the first man to win a Grand Slam final from two sets down since Gaston Gaudio in 2004.
Medvedev gracious in defeat
Medvedev, who had won 21 of his last 22 matches, including the ATP Finals and the ATP Cup, was gracious in defeat, as he congratulated Sinner on his remarkable achievement.
“I want to say congrats to Jannik, he played an amazing match today. He deserves this title, he showed great character and great tennis. He is a great champion and I’m sure he will win many more titles in the future,” Medvedev said.
The 25-year-old Medvedev, who had reached his third Grand Slam final, admitted that he was disappointed with his performance, especially in the last three sets, but he also praised Sinner for his comeback.
“I’m not happy with the way I played today, I think I could have done better. But I have to give credit to Jannik, he played very well and he was very strong mentally. He never gave up and he deserved to win,” Medvedev said.
Medvedev, who will remain at number two in the world rankings, said he will try to learn from this defeat and come back stronger in the next tournaments.
“I have to work hard and improve my game, because there are many great players out there who can beat me. I have to stay positive and motivated, and try to win the next one,” Medvedev said.
Sinner overwhelmed by emotion
Sinner, who was overcome by emotion after his historic win, thanked his team, his family, and the fans for their support throughout the tournament.
“I don’t know what to say, I’m speechless. This is a dream come true for me, I can’t believe it. I want to thank my team, who have been with me every day, every hour, every minute. They have helped me so much to improve my game and my mentality. I also want to thank my family, who are always there for me, no matter what. And I want to thank the fans, who have been amazing, they have given me so much energy and motivation. I love you all, thank you so much,” Sinner said.
The young Italian, who had won four ATP titles before this tournament, said he was proud of his performance and his character, as he fought back from a seemingly hopeless situation.
“I think I played a great match today, I never gave up, I always believed in myself. Daniil is a great player, he has won many titles, he is very tough to beat. But I tried to stay focused and play my game, and I think I did it very well. I’m very happy and very proud of myself,” Sinner said.
Sinner, who will rise to number seven in the world rankings, said he hopes to inspire more young players in Italy and around the world with his success.
“I hope this can be an inspiration for many young players, especially in Italy, where tennis is growing a lot. I think this is a great moment for Italian tennis, we have many good players and we can achieve great things. I hope to keep working hard and keep improving, and maybe one day I can win more Grand Slams,” Sinner said.