For therefore lengthy, notably at Melbourne Park, the query has been this: why cannot the youthful era cease Djokovic?
The reply has largely centred round Djokovic’s greatness – his method, health, mindset – however arguably probably the most important issue has been an ingrained deference amongst his opponents.
Sinner got here into the newest try to topple the world primary armed with the data he has overwhelmed Djokovic twice lately, following victories on the ATP Finals and the Davis Cup Finals on the finish of final season.
The caveat was these wins came to visit three units.
Doing it over the elongated five-set format is all the time a distinct proposition – as Sinner himself discovered when he led by two units of their Wimbledon quarter-final in 2022 earlier than dropping when Djokovic took it the total distance.
The way in which he dismantled Djokovic on Friday was a measure of his progress.
From the beginning, he pressured his illustrious opponent into an uncharacteristic quantity of errors and didn’t permit him a single break level.
After taking Djokovic’s opening service recreation, Sinner continued to make use of his energy and accuracy to interrupt once more for 5-1 earlier than serving out an impeccable first set in 35 minutes.
There was a way of shock amongst a Melbourne crowd not used to seeing Djokovic battle so badly on Rod Laver Area.
No male participant had ever gained as many Grand Slam matches after dropping the opening set – a complete of 46 comebacks from that deficit – however Djokovic’s activity grew to become more durable after a second set the place he couldn’t stem the stream of unforced errors.
Sinner continued to return effectively however Djokovic’s stage barely improved within the third set as each males seemed strong on serve.
Djokovic edged a tense tie-break after saving a match level and Sinner, who had completed little flawed, will need to have questioned the way it was going to a fourth set.
The Italian reset impressively to power three break factors in Djokovic’s first service recreation – which the Serb saved – earlier than Djokovic blew a 40-0 result in hand over one other break for 3-1, which proved decisive.
“The arrogance from the tip of final season has, for positive, saved the assumption I can play towards the perfect gamers on the planet and I am actually joyful I can play in my first ultimate,” stated Sinner.
“I realized loads from that defeat at Wimbledon and it’s all a part of the method.”