Jannik Sinner took 10-time champion Novak Djokovic to the woodshed with a stunning 6-1, 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-3 hammering on Friday which sent the Italian into the final of the Australian Open.

The fourth seed has now defeated the 24-time Grand Slam winner in three of their previous four matches only dating back to last November.

Sinner beat the 36-year-old in round-robin play at the ATP Finals in Turin before losing to his rival in the final. But Sinner scored victory in a Davis Cup match a week later as he ended the 2023 season on a high.

“We play a similar style,” Sinner said. “I tried to return as many balls as possible, Novak is such a great server.

“I tried to push him around a little bit 

“Now I’m into my first Grand Slam final – I don’t know what to say.

“I started the season with a couple of exhibitions and I kept the confidence from the end of last season.

“I have the belief that I can play with the best in the world.

“I’m happy to play my first Grand Slam final on Sunday, let’s see how it goes.”

The 22-year-old handed Djokovic his first “breadstick” set loss in Melbourne since Stan Wawrinka did it in 2013; the Serb also suffered 6-1 set defeats in major semi-finals at 2007 Wimbledon and 2013 RG – both against Rafael Nadal.

Since 2014 Djokovic has played 23 Grand Slam semi-finals, losing only to Dominic Thiem at Roland Garros five years ago.

Sinner broke twice in each of the first two sets to take a shock lead over the underdone top seed after just 80 minutes on court and 30 unforced errors off the Serb racquet.. 

The Italian coached by Aussie Darren Cahill hung tough in the third set as Djokovci stayed on serve, eventually pulling a set back with a winning tiebreaker.

Sinner lifted in the fourth set, forcing his opponent to save three set points in the second game and broke the veteran for 3-1 after Djokovic led 40-0.

The frustrated top seed took a slash with his racquet at a mic hanging from the umpire’s chair, with the infraction ignored by the official. 

Sinner moved in for the kill with a hold for 5-2 and concluded his trip to a first Grand Slam final with a forehand winner to the deep corner on his second match point.

“It was a very, very tough match, I started well and thought he might not be feeling great,” Sinner said.

“I tried to keep pushing, in the third set I missed on a match point with my forehand.”

Sinner added: “I was looking forward to this match, it’s nice to play someone you can learn from,” said a teenaged practise partner for Djokovic back in the day.

The win cost Sinner his first lost set of the fortnight, with Djokovic committing more than 50 unforced errors as he played the 48th Grand Slam semi-final of his career.