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Men's semifinal previews: Your five-point guide

  • Gill Tan

Only two can advance to Sunday’s Australian Open 2024 men’s singles final, so expect fireworks when Novak Djokovic plays Jannik Sinner, and Daniil Medvedev takes on Alexander Zverev at Rod Laver Arena on Friday.


1. How they got here

Djokovic, the 10-time AO champion, has spent 15 hours and nine minutes on court through his first five matches – a marathon more than Sinner’s 11 hours and 22 minutes.

MORE: Day 13 schedule of play

The 36-year-old’s serve has been broken eight times this tournament by Dino Prizmic, Alexei Popyrin and Taylor Fritz, who each took a set off the world No.1. Still, the top seed has progressed through his quarter, knocking out 30th seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry, 20th seed Adrian Mannarino and 12th seed Fritz.

MORE: AO 2024 men's singles draw

It’s been an easier path for 22-year-old Sinner, who is yet to drop a set and has only been broken twice: once by Botic van de Zandscuhlp in the first round, and once by Karen Khachanov in the fourth round. The fourth seed accounted for 26th seed Sebastian Baez, 15th seed Khachanov and fifth seed Andrey Rublev, impressively recovering from a 1-5 deficit in the second set tiebreak against Rublev.

Sinner has ticked every box on the way to his first AO semifinal

Notably, the Italian is the third non “Big Three” player since 2000 to reach the AO men’s semifinals without dropping a set, after five-time Melbourne Park finalist Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych.  

2. What it means

Sinner is contesting only the second Grand Slam semifinal of his career, having reached the final four at Wimbledon 2023 where he was defeated by Djokovic in straight sets. The right-hander is aiming to flip the script to reach his first major final, which would make him the first Italian player, male or female, to reach an AO final, and the first to reach the final of a hard court major.

BONUS: Download your copy of the Australian Open 2024 Official Program

Djokovic, into a record 48th Grand Slam semifinal, has a 94-8 record at Melbourne Park. He’s aiming to extend a perfect 10-0 AO semifinal record on Friday, which would put him one win away from a record 25th major title.

The Serb is also eyeing a 34th consecutive AO win, which would surpass Monica Seles’ streak of 33 straight at the year’s first major.

3. What to expect

Djokovic has come to the net on 15 per cent of points during AO 2024, while Sinner has ended points at the net 19 per cent of the time. So, settle in for a variety of baseline rallies featuring cross-court and down-the-line exchanges as both players attempt to end points with impeccably-placed groundstrokes.

The duo will aim to be as efficient on serve as possible, but because both are phenomenal movers and returners, don’t expect too many free points.

When Djokovic gets to the final four in Melbourne, victory has always followed

4. Head-to-head

Djokovic leads 4-2, though Sinner triumphed when they last battled at the Davis Cup finals two months ago. The Italian became the first player to defeat Djokovic by saving three consecutive match points during that high-intensity contest, which was his second victory over the world No.1 in a span of two weeks.

“This is what I practice for, no? To play against the best players in the world,” said Sinner ahead of his seventh clash against Djokovic.

“Obviously [he] has an incredible record here, so for me it's a pleasure to play against him, especially in the final stages of the tournament where things are a little bit more interesting.

“It's gonna be tough, this, I know,” said the Italian. “I will control the controllable, which is giving 100 per cent, having the right attitude, fighting for every ball.”

5. Who wins and why

The Italian is not only fresher, from less time spent on court, but he’s 14 years younger than Djokovic and will be eager to show his accomplished rival that Carlos Alcaraz isn’t the only contender from his generation that can outlast the all-time great at a Grand Slam.

Sinner scored his first top-five win at a major in nine attempts by defeating Rublev and if he can maintain his superlative form of late, a second – and an upset – is certainly within reach.

Winner: Sinner in four.


1. How they got here

It’s been a long and arduous road for both players, with Medvedev surviving two four-set battles and a pair of five-set matches for a total of 16 hours and 15 minutes on court. Zverev too, was twice taken to four and five sets during AO 2024, and has spent 16 hours and 52 minutes on court.

Medvedev has gone the distance twice in his five AO 2024 matches to date

Medvedev, who has fought past two seeds – 27th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime and ninth seed Hubert Hurkacz – has been broken 18 times while Zverev, who knocked out 19th seed Cameron Norrie and upset second seed and two-time Grand Slam champion Carlos Alcaraz, was broken 11 times in total by all five of his opponents.

2. What it means

Zverev’s triumph over Alcaraz was his first top-five scalp at a Grand Slam, and the sixth seed is aiming to upset 2021 US Open champion Medvedev to reach his first AO final. He’d be just the third German man to achieve the feat behind Boris Becker and Rainer Schuettler. The right-hander hasn’t been in a Grand Slam final since his maiden appearance at the 2020 US Open, and has been working hard on rebounding from an ankle injury at Roland Garros in 2022 to establish himself as a major contender.

Medvedev, 27, is familiar with being in the latter stages of the AO, reaching the final in 2021 and 2022. The former world No.1 was a set away from having his name etched on the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup two years ago, and will seek to blast past Zverev to reach his sixth major final.

3. What to expect

Zverev will be aiming to add to his tally of 73 aces this fortnight. The German has been coming to the net on about one in five points, while Medvedev was charging the net towards the latter stages of his contest against Hurkacz. 

Zverev's play went up a level against Alcaraz

Expect both players to attempt to shorten points, especially if they’re stretched physically.

4. Head-to-head

Medvedev leads Zverev 11-7, and was particularly dominant last season, posting a 5-1 win-loss record.

“A lot of the times it came down to him being extremely confident last year, him playing some of the best tennis of his life, and me coming back from injury and not having the confidence in deciding moments,” said Zverev ahead of the pair’s first meeting at a major.

“He's obviously extremely difficult to play, no question about it, he's one of the best players in the world right now."  

5. Who wins and why

An exhausted Medvedev said he was physically destroyed after defeating Hurkacz in five sets on Wednesday, but a day off should have him back to 100 per cent. If his recovery has gone as planned, the third seed’s long-time edge over his rival may be enough to propel him to a 12th victory over the German.

Winner: Medvedev in four.