Jannik Sinner savoured an “unbelievable” moment after recovering from two sets down to beat Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final and capture his first grand slam crown.
Sinner’s first major final looked set to end in disappointment when Medvedev cruised through the first two sets on Sunday, with the Italian struggling to cope with his opponent’s speed early on.
However, Medvedev – who spent almost six hours more on court than Sinner during his run to the final – tired in his fourth five-set contest of the tournament.
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Sinner had the physical advantage from the third set onwards but paired his athleticism with several big forehand winners, ultimately sealing a 3-6 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-3 success after three hours and 44 minutes.
The 22-year-old clinched his victory with a forehand winner down the line, then dropped to the ground as he became the first Italian man to win a major since Adriano Panatta claimed the French Open title in 1976.
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Speaking during the trophy presentation, a visibly emotional Sinner said: “I am very proud. It was a very tough match. He started off really well, he moved me around the court.
“I could not make my game plan work but somehow in the third set I was looking for the small chances, which I used.
“The match changed and I am really happy with how I corrected it. There are so many emotions right now. I have to sit down and process it but it’s an unbelievable feeling.”
Sinner reeled off 28 winners in the final two sets as he was roared on by a vocal crowd, smashing a forehand into the open court for the all-important break in the eighth game of the decider.
“Thanks [to] my team, everyone who is in the box and watching from home, who works with me,” the Italian continued.
“We are trying to get better every day and even during the tournament, we were trying to get stronger and understand the situation a little bit better.
“It is not easy as I am still young but I want to thank everyone.
“I wish everyone could have my parents as they let me choose what I wanted when younger. I played other sports too and they never put pressure on me. I wish this freedom was possible for as many young kids as possible, so thank you to my parents.”
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Medvedev also blew a two-set lead in the 2022 Australian Open showpiece, going down to Rafael Nadal on that occasion. His total of 24 hours and 17 minutes on court at this year’s tournament is a new record for any player at a grand slam.
“It hurts to lose in the final but being in the final is probably better than losing before,” the Russian said. “I always want to win and I guess I have to try harder next time.”