- By Jonathan Jureko
- BBC Sport at Melbourne Park
Janic Sinner won the Grand Slam title with an extraordinary fightback, defeating Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final.
Italy's Sinner, 22, was two sets down before coming back to win his first major final 3-6 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-3.
Fourth-seeded Sinner was initially unable to cope with the pace of the Russians and imposed himself as the match wore on.
It was another bittersweet experience for Medvedev, who has a two-set lead against Rafael Nadal in the 2022 final.
Sinner is set to become a first-time champion in Melbourne after beating 10-time winner Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.
After an epic match that lasted nearly four hours, Sinner ensured his name would go on the trophy – fulfilling a feat many predicted would lead to a Grand Slam victory.
“It feels good. I have to process it, I think, how it feels for the first time,” Sinner told Australia's Channel One.
“It's been a hell of a ride even though I'm still 22.”
Third-seeded Medvedev, 27, has lost five of his six major finals, including against Djokovic in 2021 and Nadal at Melbourne Park in 2022.
Sinner clinched the victory with a forehand winner, falling on his back on the baseline in celebration.
Medvedev wandered around the net to offer his congratulations, before Sinner let his heart beat on his way to celebrate with his team.
Medvedev looked unfazed as he sat in his chair and tried to process the defeat, and the crowd applauded as Medvedev applauded his effort.
“Losing a final hurts, but it's better to be in a final than to lose before,” said Medvedev, who set the record for the longest time on court in a Grand Slam at 24 hours and 17 minutes.
“I always want to win, and next time I think I have to try harder.”
Bavi starts 2024 in inspired form
Sinner has been brought to the forefront of the conversation when discussing Grand Slam champions in 2024 following a stunning finish last season.
A ceiling-breaking ATP 1000 title in Toronto, remarkable wins against the very best and inspiring Italy to a Davis Cup triumph all fueled the belief that he is going to do great things this season.
Sinner managed to do exactly that in his first major tournament of the year.
Throughout these fortnight Sinner did not drop a set until he faced Djokovic, showing further confidence that this might be his time.
By knocking out Djokovic, the Italian answered a long-standing question: Why can't the younger generation beat the Serb in Melbourne?
Once he gets over that, Sinner's next challenge is to back up a memorable win against Medvedev with another one.
Bhavam insisted that defeating Djokovic was not the end of the job.
By refusing to accept being beaten – even in such a precarious position – he demonstrated his mental strength and continued to believe in his powerful foundation.
As Medvedev's stamina faded, Sinner picked up the speed and precision of his returns, reeling off 28 winners in the final two sets.
“The match was very fast in the first two sets,” said Sinner, who was backed by a large Italian crowd at the Rod Laver Arena.
“I had zero chance to play at this level, but I was looking for little opportunities. I was able to break him and win one set at a time, one game at a time.”
Marathoner Medvedev runs out of steam
Many players who have experienced a Grand Slam final have spoken about how different the occasion can be, especially if it's their first time, and how high-powered it can be.
Medvedev, whose only major win came at the 2021 US Open, believed his superior experience in these conditions would tell against Sinner.
Although Sinner was not affected by nerves, Medvedev was overwhelmed by his attacking approach in the opening two sets.
In the end, the change in his fortunes boiled down to endurance – and some mental scars from losing to Nadal on the same stage.
Medvedev spent almost six hours more on court in the Melbourne fortnight than his younger opponent.
Three times he outlasted his opponents in five-set matches, including a remarkable semi-final against German sixth seed Alexander Zverev.
In another five-setter on Sunday, Medvedev broke the previous record for time spent on court in a Grand Slam match, which was 23 hours and 39 minutes set by Spain's Carlos Algarz en route to his 2022 US Open title.
Before the final, Medvedev spoke of Sinner's fitness and knew he needed to start fast to increase his chances.
However, he couldn't keep up with the ferocity and depth of his underground, and Sinner looked increasingly tired as he fought back.