Wawrinka dismisses notions of vengeance

Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:41am EST
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By Greg Stutchbury

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Having dispatched one of his 2014 grand slam vanquishers to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals, Stan Wawrinka is now getting ready to face another on Wednesday.

Wawrinka avenged his early exit at last year's French Open with a 7-6(2) 6-4 4-6 7-6(8) victory over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez on Monday to book his place in the last eight and now must face his U.S. Open nemesis Kei Nishikori.

"It's always tough to play against him. He's a great shot maker. He's always taking the ball really early and doesn't give you a lot of time," Wawrinka said about Nishikori, who followed him into the quarter-finals with a 6-3 6-3 6-3 win over David Ferrer. "He's a tough, tough player."

The fourth-seeded Wawrinka has adopted a low-key approach to his title defense at Melbourne Park, swatting away questions about how last year's experience could help him with a polite, but standard response -- that was last year.

The approach was evident again on Monday when asked if the five-set loss to Nishikori in the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows would have any influence on Wednesday's clash.

"(We) start (at) zero again. It's a new year," he said. "Different conditions if I have to play him.

"If I can play heavy, if I can play my game, it's tough for him to always take the ball early.

"We'll see how I'm going to deal with that."   Continued...

Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland reaches to hit a return to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain during their men's singles fourth round match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 26, 2015. REUTERS/Thomas Peter