Tennis·ROUNDUP

Sinner rallies to win Australian Open final over Medvedev, clinches 1st major

Jannik Sinner rallied from two sets down to take the Australian Open final from Daniil Medvedev 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday in Melbourne and clinch his first Grand Slam title.

Hseih Su-wei, Elise Mertens win Australian Open women's doubles title

A men's tennis player waves to the crowd.
Italy's Jannik Sinner celebrates victory against Russia's Daniil Medvedev during their men's singles final match of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Sunday. (David Gray/AFP via Getty Images)

Jannik Sinner lined up a forehand, drilled it down the line and dropped to the court on his back, giving himself a few moments to process how he'd come back from two sets down to win his first Grand Slam title.

The 22-year-old Sinner found a way to turn defence into attack in his first major final and take the Australian Open title from Daniil Medvedev 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 on Sunday in Melbourne.

It was his third straight win over a top 5 player, including his quarterfinal win over No. 5 Andrey Rublev and his semifinal upset that ended No. 1 Novak Djokovic's long domination of the tournament. Only Djokovic and Roger Federer have done that in a major played on hard courts.

Sinner is the first Italian to win the Australian Open and the youngest winner in a men's final here since Djokovic won his first Grand Slam title in 2008.

With Carlos Alcaraz winning Wimbledon and Sinner winning the season-opening major, a generation shift is arriving.

"It's been a hell of a journey," the 22-year-old Sinner said, "even though I'm only 22."

"It's obviously a huge tournament for me. But I want to thank everyone for making this Slam so special."

For 2021 U.S. Open champion Medvedev, the loss was his fifth in six major finals. The third-seeded Medvedev set a record with his fourth five-set match of the tournament and time on court at a major in the Open era, his 24 hours and 17 minutes surpassing Carlos Alcaraz's 23:40 at the 2022 U.S. Open.

He's also the first in the Open era to lose two Grand Slam finals in five sets after taking a 2-0 lead.

Medvedev lost back-to-back Australian Open finals — to Djokovic in 2021 and to Rafael Nadal after holding a two-set lead the following year.

He won three five-set matches to reach the championship match this year — his sixth Grand Slam final.

Sinner only dropped one set through six rounds — in a third-set tiebreaker against Djokovic — until he lost two straight to Medvedev.

It wasn't until a break in the sixth game of the fifth set that he really had a full grip on his first Grand Slam title.

Medvedev started like a man who wanted to win quickly, after all that time spent on the court.

In two of Medvedev's five-set matches — a second-round win over Emil Ruusuvuori that finished at almost 4 in the morning, and a 4-hour, 18-minute semifinal win over No. 6 Alexander Zverev — he had to come back from two sets down. Nobody had done that on the way to an Australian Open final since Pete Sampras in 1995.

The 27-year-old Russian had spent 20 hours and 33 minutes on court through six rounds. That was almost six hours longer than Sinner took to reach the final.

Sinner didn't give Djokovic a look at a breakpoint as he ended the 10-time Australian Open champion's 33-match unbeaten streak at Melbourne Park dating to 2018.

Against Medvedev, though, he was in trouble early. Medvedev broke in the third game and took the first set in 36 minutes.

He had two more service breaks in the fourth and sixth games of the second set but was broken himself at 5-1 trying to serve it out. He was successful next try.

The third set went with serve until the 10th game, when Medvedev was a point from levelling at 5-5 until three forehand errors gave Sinner the set, and the momentum.

He won the fourth set, again with a service break in the 10th game, recovering immediately to win three points after mis-hitting a forehand so far out that it shocked the Rod Laver Arena crowd.

And so the tournament equalled a Grand Slam Open era record set at the 1983 U.S. Open with a 35th match going to five sets.

In the sixth game of the fifth set, Sinner had triple breakpoint against a fatiguing Medvedev. He missed with his first chance but converted with his next, a forehand winner, for a 4-2 lead. From there, he didn't give Medvedev another chance.

Medvedev had faced either Djokovic or Rafael Nadal in all five of his previous major finals. He beat Djokovic to win the 2021 U.S. Open title but lost all the others, including the 2021 final in Australia to Djokovic and the 2022 final — after taking the first two sets — against Nadal.

He changed up his usual style, going to the net more regularly in the first two sets and standing closer to the baseline to receive serve than he has done recently.

Medvedev has been saying through the tournament that he has more stamina than he used to, and is mentally stronger in the tough five-setters. He certainly showed incredible endurance but came up just short — again.

Medvedev won his first six matches against Sinner, but has now lost four in a row — including three finals.

"I want to congratulate Janick because today you showed it again why you deserve it," Medvedev said. "So, winning a lot of matches and probably that's not your last Grand Slam, but I hope I can try to get the next one if you play in the final because it's been, what, three finals in a row!"

Medvedev also sent a message to his family in his on-court interview:

"Unfortunately I couldn't make it today, but I'm gonna try to make it, work next time for you," he said. "It always hurts to lose in the final, but probably being in the final is better than losing before.

"So, I guess, yeah, I have to try harder next time, but I'm proud of myself."

Hseih Su-wei, Elise Mertens take women's doubles title

Hseih Su-wei of Taiwan has become the second-oldest woman to win a Grand Slam doubles title after teaming with Elise Mertens of Belgium Sunday to win the Australian Open women's doubles in Melbourne.

The second-seeded pairing of Hseih and Mertens beat 11th seeded Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia and Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine 6-1, 7-5 in Sunday's final. It was Hseih's seventh Grand Slam women's doubles title and Mertens' fourth, their second together.

The 38-year-old Hsieh follows Rohan Bopanna of India who became the oldest men's champion, at 43, when he won the men's doubles title Saturday with Matthew Ebden of Australia.

American Lisa Raymond was eight days older than Hseih when she won the 2011 U.S. Open women's doubles. Martina Navratilova was 49 when she won the mixed doubles at the 2006 U.S. Open with Bob Bryan.

Hseih has the benefit of being coached by Australian Paul McNamee who won six Grand Slam doubles titles, including two Australian Opens and was the Australian Open chief executive until 2006. She already had taken out the mixed doubles at the current tournament with Jan Zielinski of Poland.

Mertens won the Wimbledon title with Hseih in 2021 and won the Australian Open title the same year with Aryna Sabalenka, who won her second straight singles title in Melbourne on Saturday. She also won the U.S. Open women's doubles in 2019.

Mertens will return to the No. 1 WTA doubles ranking on Monday, a position she first held in May, 2021. She has spent 28 weeks in the top ranking spot.

Hseih and Mertens needed only 1 hour, 33 minutes in Rod Laver Arena on Sunday to pad their already impressive Grand Slam resumes. They took the first set in just over half and hour. The second set was much tighter as Mertens lost her serve in the opening game. She recovered to serve for the championship at 5-3 but was broken again.

Finally, Hseih and Mertens took the match when they broke Kichenok in the 12th game. Mertens leapt into the air in delight; Hseih was more reserved.

Two women kiss a large silver trophy.
Su-Wei Hsieh, right, of Taiwan and Elise Mertens of Belgium pose with the championship trophy after winning their women’s doubles finals match against Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine and Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia during the 2024 Australian Open in Melbourne. (Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

They make a formidable combination, Mertens with the stronger serve, Hseih with skillful touches around the net and flat, strong ground-strokes.

"It was a tough final," Mertens said. "The second set was really close.

"It was a really great match for us and we had to stay focused all the time."

Ostapenko and Kichenok faced a tough road to the final, beating the U.S. Open champions Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe 7-5, 7-5 in the semifinals.

They lacked communication and teamwork in the first set but worked better together in the second in which Ostapenko's serve was dependable. Kichenok lost her serve in the fourth, eight and final games.

Kichenok ended her comments at the presentation ceremony with the words `Slava Ukraini, Glory to Ukraine'.

With files from The Associated Press

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