Tennis·ROUNDUP

Novak Djokovic stunned in Australian Open semis by Italy's Jannik Sinner

Jannik Sinner ended 10-time champion Novak Djokovic's perfect semifinal record at the Australian Open, earning a place in a Grand Slam final for the first time on the back of Friday's commanding win.

Djokovic out in 4 sets, laments 'one of the worst Grand Slam matches I've ever played'

A man puts his arm around another wearing a baseball cap at the net of a tennis court.
Jannik Sinner, right, of Italy is congratulated by Novak Djokovic of Serbia following their semifinal at the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park on Friday. (Alessandra Tarantino/The Associated Press)

Jannik Sinner ended 10-time champion Novak Djokovic's perfect semifinal record at the Australian Open, earning a place in a Grand Slam final for the first time on the back of Friday's commanding win.

The 22-year-old Italian broke Djokovic's serve twice in each of the first two sets but missed a match point in the third set before holding on for a 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-3 victory.

Djokovic had won all 10 semifinals and all 10 finals he'd played previously on Rod Laver Arena.

Almost an hour after his first match point, Sinner converted his second to complete his third win in four head-to-head encounters since a straight-set loss to Djokovic in last year's Wimbledon semifinals.

"It gives you a better feeling when you know that you can beat one player," Sinner said. "It's always nice to have this kind of player who you can learn from.

The youngest player to reach the men's final in Australia since Djokovic's first title in 2008, Sinner will play either third-seeded Daniil Medvedev or No. 6 Alexander Zverev for the championship on Sunday.

Djokovic's bid for a record-extending 11th Australian and 25th major title overall will have to wait. He hadn't lost a match at Melbourne Park since a fourth-round exit in 2018 — he didn't play at the 2022 tournament — and was on a 33-match winning streak at the season's first major.

"He's deservedly in the finals. He outplayed me completely," Djokovic said. "Look, I was, in a way, shocked with my level — in a bad way. There was not much I was doing right in the first two sets.

"Yeah, I guess this is one of the worst Grand Slam matches I've ever played," he added.

Djokovic didn't get a look at a break point at all — the first time he's experienced that in a completed Grand Slam match.

"That stat says a lot," Djokovic said. "First of all, he was serving very accurately, precise, he was backing his serve very well."

Sinner took the first two sets in under 1 ¼ hours in an astonishing start to the match against a player who lost only one Grand Slam match last year — the Wimbledon final to Carlos Alcaraz.

Djokovic, as he so often does, picked up his service percentage, cut down his unforced errors and and upped the pressure in the third.

Djokovic held serve and saved a match point at 5-6 in the tiebreaker. Djokovic won three straight points to force a fourth set, but was immediately in trouble again on his serve. He fended off three break points to hold from 15-40 down in the second game of the fourth but Sinner got a decisive service break in the fourth game, winning five straight points from 40-0 down to take a 3-1 lead.

Continuous chants of "Nole, Nole, Nole, Nole" echoed around Rod Laver Arena between big points from Djokovic fans encouraging their champion, giving it a football vibe. It helped lift the intensity of both players.

The chair umpire asked spectators three times to keep quiet with Sinner serving for the match.

The 36-year-old Djokovic missed his first chance to be just the third person in history to win 11 titles at any Grand Slam event — Rafael Nadal has 14 French Open titles and Margaret Court won 11 Australian Open women's titles.

Canada's Dabrowski, Shaw felled

Ottawa's Gabriela Dabrowski and her New Zealand playing partner Erin Routliffe were defeated 7-5, 7-5 by Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine and Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in the women's doubles semifinal.

Dabrowski and Routliffe, who was born in Auckland but now lives in Montreal, led 5-3 in both sets, but Kichenok and Ostapenko won four straight games each time to steal the sets.

Kichenok and Ostapenko, the tournament's 11th seeds, landed 74 four cent of their first serves, while Dabrowski and Routliffe, who were seeded fourth, landed 63 per cent.

Dabrowski and Routliffe, the reigning U.S. Open champions, also committed five double faults, while their opponents committed just two.

Kichenok and Ostapenko will play the No. 2-seeded team of Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan and Elise Mertens of Belgium in the final.

WATCH | Dabrowski, Routliffe bounced in semis:

Dabrowski and Routliffe fall in semifinals at Australian Open

3 months ago
Duration 0:43
Gabriela Dabrowski of Ottawa, and her doubles partner Erin Routliffe of New Zealand came up short losing 7-5, 7-5 to Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia and her Ukrainian partner Lyudmyla Kichenok in the semifinals of the Australian Open.

Hsieh and Poland's Jan Zielinski are the Australian Open mixed doubles champions after beating Desirae Krawczyk of the United States and Neal Skupski of Britain 6-7 (5), 6-4, 11-9 on Friday in Melbourne.

It was the first championship final of the 15-day tournament that began Jan. 14.

A male and female tennis player smile while hoisting a trophy together.
Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei, left, and Poland's Jan Zielinski hoist the trophy after defeating American Desirae Krawczyk and Great Britain's Neal Skupski 6-7 (5), 6-4, 11-9 in the mixed doubles final at the Australian Open on Friday in Melbourne. (Andy Wong/The Associated Press)

Hsieh and Zielinski led 4-0 in the match tiebreaker before Krawczyk and Skupski fought back. The teams were tied 7-7, 8-8 and 9-9 before the winners pulled away with the final two points.

The mixed doubles win Friday was Hsieh's seventh major doubles title, including four women's doubles titles at Wimbledon.

In wheelchair tennis, Rob Shaw of North Bay, Ont., was eliminated in the quad doubles semifinals alongside Australia's Heath Davidson, falling 6-3, 6-2 to Great Britain's Andy Lapthorne and American David Wagner at Margaret Court Arena.

With files from CBC Sports

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