Wawrinka carves up Nishikori to reach semi-finals

Wed Jan 28, 2015 1:21am EST
 
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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Defending champion Stan Wawrinka avenged his U.S. Open quarter-final defeat to Kei Nishikori in style with an emphatic 6-3 6-4 7-6(6) to charge into the semi-finals of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

The fourth-seeded Swiss has worked his way slowly into the year's first grand slam but put his foot to the floor at a sun-drenched Rod Laver Arena, dominating Nishikori with raw power and compiling an exhaustive highlight reel of cleanly struck winners.

Wawrinka's backhand was particularly deadly, picking off the clean-hitting Japanese from all points of the court, but the Swiss was also impressive rushing to the net, a relatively new weapon in his arsenal.

Wawrinka made hard work of the tiebreak, blowing five match points after storming to a 6-1 lead, but closed it out on the sixth with an ace to set up a semi-final with the winner of top seed Novak Djokovic and Milos Raonic.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

 
Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland prepares to hit a return to Kei Nishikori of Japan during their men's singles quarter-final match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 28, 2015.  REUTERS/Thomas Peter