Jannik Sinner joins three players who have beaten Novak Djokovic after saving match points
Jannik Sinner created a moment of tennis history as he came back from three match points down to beat Novak Djokovic at the Davis Cup Finas in Malaga.
Sinner stunned Djokovic with wins in singles and doubles to send Italy through to the first Davis Cup final in 20 years.
Djokovic suffered an unwanted career first when he failed to convert three consecutive match points in a pulsating 6-2 2-6 7-5 singles loss against world number four Sinner.
It was Djokovic’s first defeat in a Davis Cup singles rubber since a retirement against Juan Martin Del Potro 12 years ago, ending a 21-match winning run.
Serbia had led 1-0 in the semi-final in Malaga thanks to Miomir Kecmanovic’s win over Lorenzo Musetti but Djokovic’s loss sent the tie to a deciding doubles contest.
Djokovic and Sinner lined up on opposite sides of the net for the fourth time in less than two weeks alongside Kecmanovic and Lorenzo Sonego respectively, and it was the Italian duo who clinched a 6-3 6-4 win to send their country through to a clash with Australia for the title on Sunday.
Sinner was 0-40 down on his own serve at 5-4 in the deciding set of his singles against Djokovic, meaning the Serbian had three points not only win the match but also to send Serbia through to the final against Australia.
Amazingly, he spurned those opportunities and was shaking Sinner’s hand after losing the match a few minutes later.
By coming back from the brink of defeat, Sinner became only the fourth player to beat Djokovic after fending off a match point against the Serbian.
Djokovic lost the 2018 Final at the Queen’s Club against Croatia’s Marin Cilic after holding match points to take the title.
READ MORE: Every word from Novak Djokovic’s press conference after his shocking double Davis Cup defeat
He also lost against Rafael Nadal in the semi-final of the Madrid Masters event after he was match point down.
His third loss after holding a match point was in a match against Mikhail Youzhny in the semi-finals of a tournament in Rotterdam in 2007.
In addition, Sinner is now the only active ATP player not named Djokoivc or Nadal to win ten or more wins versus top 5 in the same season.
After saving THREE match points @janniksin levels the tie for Italy 🤯
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) November 25, 2023
Djokovic won 16 matches against top five rivals in 2015 and 13 in 2011 and 2012. Meanwhile, Nadal won 12 against top 5 opponents in 2013 and 11 back in 2008.
The world number one, who again became involved with the crowd, this time conducting along to Italian jeers, refused to blame fatigue, saying: “I don’t want to talk about it because it’s going to sound like an excuse.
“Obviously this is a tough one to swallow. I was really trying to hype myself and encourage myself for this week. Throughout the entire season, my thoughts were this week with my Davis Cup team. I tried to contribute. I did in the first tie, but today it wasn’t meant to be.”
Italy will compete in their first final since 1998 and are bidding to win a first title since back in 1976.
Sinner said of his remarkable day: “It means a lot. I think I have to be really proud about how I handled the situation.
“I’m just very happy for all of us, for the team, and tomorrow we have a great opportunity. We know this but, in the other way, we will try to stay as relaxed as possible, keeping a smile in our head, which is important also, and then also to be happy to be here.”
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