Wawrinka reaches first final, Li to meet Cibulkova

Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:25am EST
 
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By Nick Mulvenney

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Stanislas Warwinka edged Tomas Berdych in the tightest of duels to reach his first grand slam final at the 36th attempt on Thursday and set up a possible all-Swiss Australian Open title showdown against Roger Federer.

Federer will have to get past world number one Rafa Nadal in the second semi-final on Friday first, but 28-year-old Wawrinka did his part by the narrowest of margins with a 6-3 6-7(1) 7-6(3) 7-6(4) victory over the tall Czech.

The earlier women's semi-finals were one-sided affairs with China's Li Na beating teenager Genie Bouchard 6-2 6-4 to get to her third Melbourne final and diminutive dynamo Dominika Cibulkova downing Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1 6-2 to reach her first.

There was nothing uneven about the battle between the seventh seed Berdych and eighth seed Wawrinka that followed on Rod Laver Arena in which three of the four sets were decided by tiebreaks.

While Wawrinka's victory over defending champion Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals was all about guts and shotmaking, the arm-wrestle with Berdych was a study in big serving and heavy hitting.

Wawrinka grabbed the only break of serve in the contest to take the first set and exactly three hours later he clinched the fourth-set tiebreak on his second match point, a thumping unreturnable serve providing a fitting climax.

"It's amazing. I didn't expect to make a grand slam final in my career," Wawrinka said before turning his mind to the possibility of facing Federer.

"To play a Swiss final will be amazing, first for Switzerland, for the country. He is the best player ever. For me it's my first final. To imagine to play against Roger would be amazing."   Continued...

 
Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland celebrates defeating Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in their men's singles semi-final match at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 23, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Reed