Sinner sets up Djoker semi with late night power burst
Italian star Jannik Sinner is through to his second grand slam semi-final after overcoming Russian fifth seed Andrey Rublev in a late-night slugfest at the Australian Open.
The two heavy hitters went toe-to-toe on Rod Laver Arena, but the in-form Sinner proved too strong and secured a 6-4 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 win in a match that finished at 1.22 am on Wednesday morning.
Sinner will meet 10-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic in a blockbuster semi-final on Friday night.
The 22-year-old lost to Djokovic in the corresponding match at Wimbledon last year but Sinner did beat the world No.1 twice at the end of 2023.
“I’m really lucky to face him again. This is one of the biggest tournaments in the world and happy that I can play against the number one in the world,” Sinner said.
“It’s going to be tough, but the only thing that I can control is that I will give my 100 per cent and I will fight for every ball.”
Sinner finished last year as the arguably the in-form player on tour and he has carried that confidence in the first major of 2024.
The charge of Australian coach Darren Cahill, Sinner has not dropped a set across his first five matches of the tournament.
Sinner tops his best previous result at Melbourne – a straight-sets quarter-final loss against Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas in 2022.
Due to inexplicable scheduling and long matches earlier on Tuesday, Sinner and Rublev didn’t take to the court until 10.42 pm.
“When you play the quarters of a Grand Slam, it doesn’t really matter the time,” Sinner said.
“In the moment, you don’t watch the clock.
“In my mind I knew if I win I have two days off, which even if you potentially finish very late, you can recover. I feel quite confident too that my body is going to recover in the best possible way.”
Although the match ended in straight sets, Sinner was made to work much harder than in his previous four matches of this year’s Open.
During a period in the second set, Sinner appeared to be struggling with an abdominal issue, but was able to work his way out of the discomfort.
Rublev was in a position take the second set when he led 5-1 in the tiebreaker, but Sinner recovered to peel off six-straight points.
“Actually these kind of moments I really love to play, this is why I practice for and I’m really exciting when we have these pressure points on,” he said.
The result continues an unfortunate run for Rublev, who has now lost all 10 of the grand slam quarter finals he has contested.