Wawrinka topples Melbourne Park giant Djokovic

Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:23am EST
 
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - A brilliant Stanislas Wawrinka ended Novak Djokovic's three-year reign at Melbourne Park on Tuesday, closing out a five-set classic at a heaving Rod Laver Arena to sensationally dump the Serb from the Australian Open quarter-finals.

Heartbroken by Djokovic in two five-set epics in Melbourne and the U.S. Open last year, the eighth-seeded Swiss played out of his skin to upset his grand slam nemesis 2-6 6-4 6-2 3-6 9-7 in an exhilarating four hours.

Wawrinka stayed cool in a deciding set of unrelenting tension, sealing it when the former world number one pushed a shot wide on match point.

His triumph blew the tournament wide open, setting up a semi-final with Czech Tomas Berdych while snapping the Serb's 28-match winning streak.

"He's an amazing champion, he never gives up. I'm really, really, really happy," Wawrinka said in a courtside interview.

"I was really focused point after point. I had to stay aggressive, not to give up. I was tired, I was cramping a bit, I was nervous too. But now I'm going to have an ice bath for a very long time.

"Last year was really tough, this year it's a new year."

Wawrinka's bid to claim a maiden Melbourne Park semi-final appearance started nervously as he notched a trio of unforced errors to gift the Serb the opening break in the sixth game.   Continued...

 
Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland celebrates defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia in their men's singles quarter-final tennis match at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 21, 2014. REUTERS/David Gray